In 1940 when the most Americans were trying to stay out of the war raging in Europe, Charlie Chaplain made a film — The Great Dictator — ridiculing Adolph Hitler and the Nazis.
It’s an amazing movie: prescient, bold, and (if you can imagine) funny.
Chaplain plays both the dictator (Adenoid Hynkel) and a Jewish barber who looks exactly like him. Through a complicated series of events the barber, mistaken for the dictator, is forced to give a speech before a huge crowd.
Chaplain drops all pretense of humor and gives a stirring speech.
His speech is heartfelt, earnest, and totally without irony.
I like the speech both for its message (an appeal for universal brotherhood) and for its flat-out, unflinching sincerity.
This speech came to mind, I suppose, as a salve for my soul wearied by the recent spate of speeches by Presidential candidates. (The election is still 15 months from now!)
With few exceptions, the candidates’ speeches promote divisiveness and posturing.
Chaplain’s speech may be a bit over the top when it comes to earnestness, but I find it refreshing.
What about you? Do you have any speeches of the uncynical sort to recommend?