9 February 2014

"I have never wavered from my original determination..."

In September 1939, one week after the start of WWII, Charlie Chaplin began filming "The Great Dictator" (1940), his satire on Adolf Hitler. The project was daring and controversial, evoking strong protests from various parties. (The British government, for one, announced it would prohibit the film's screening, in accordance with its appeasement policy regarding Nazi Germany.) But also before filming started, there were protests and even false reports in the press that Chaplin had given up his project. 

Thus, on 18 March 1939, Chaplin issued the following statement to the press, saying he would not back down but continue with his film. Years later, however, he would state in his autobiography (1964) that if he'd known then of the atrocities of the concentration camps, he could never have made the film.

Source: bonhams/ image reproduced with permission

Transcript: 

CHARLES CHAPLIN FILM CORPORATION
1416 North La Brea Avenue
Hollywood, California

Owing to erroneous reports in the press that I have abandoned my production concerning dictators, I wish to state that I have never wavered from my original determination to produce this picture. Any report, past, present or future, to the effect that I have given up the idea, is deliberately false. I am not worried about intimidation, censorship or anything else. I am making a comedy picture on the lives of dictators which I hope will create much healthy laughter throughout the world.

(Signed) Charles Chaplin
March 18, 1939


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