Cheese Und Cracken

Speaking of Adolf Hitler, or Andenoid Hynkel as he was referred to as in Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film, The Great Dictator, in which the little tramp tossed aside his cane and bowler to parody the lead Nazi tyrant… wait, I started that sentence incorrectly. Speaking of the Nazis, Charlie Chaplin was a target in a book published in the 1930’s in Berlin entitled “Juden Sehen Dich An” (The Jews Are Watching You), written by Dr. Johann von Leers who was a known anti-Jewish propagandist in which Chaplin was branded as a “psuedo-Jew”.

The book was meant to warn the German people that the Jewish people were forming a world-wide network aimed at taking over the world and in its pages were lists of prominent Jews that “must be stopped”. Albert Einstein was one such name.

The assault on Chaplin was in a section of the book called Artistic Jews” and it was suggested that he was of Jewish origin. He wasn’t. But the fact that he was targeted in the book in which the majority of the people listed were exterminated by the Nazis riled him.

However, politically outspoken Chaplin, who was assumed to be Jewish because he never denied the Nazis mistaken claims to that fact, was not about to take that threat lying down. When he received a copy of that book from film maker Ivan Montague who was working in Berlin in the ‘30’s, he decided modeled Adenoid Hynkel after Hitler in an act of defiance.

When The Great Dictator, an attack on Nazi ideology, was released, Hitler banned it in Germany and in all Nazi-occupied countries. Eventually, curiosity got the better of him and had a print sent to him, which he watched twice, but there is no recorded evidence of his reaction to the film, though it is reported that soldiers, surprised when the films were switched in a Balkan theater began firing at the screen when they realized what they were watching.

The Great Dictator, Chaplin’s highest grossing film, which was banned until as recently as 1975 in Spain when dictator Francisco Franco died and not seen in its entirety until 2002 in Italy out of respect to Benito Mussolini’s widow (the scenes that included her parodied character had been cut), was nominated for five Academy Award nominations in 1940, winning none.

**Cheese und cracken was something Hynkel uttered several times in the movie in place of obscenities.


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One Response to “Cheese Und Cracken”

  1. Melissa Says:

    Why, sir, I dare say you have piqued my interest in watching that movie!

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