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Related: 1940s

Deaths: Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 - 1940) - Walter Benjamin (1892 - 1940) - Marcus Garvey (1887- 1940)

Literature: Anthology of Black Humor (1940) - André Breton - Native Son (1940) - Richard A. Wright

Births: Panamarenko - Roy Ayers - Pharoah Sanders - Giorgio Moroder - Angela Carter - Brian De Palma - Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993) - Herbie Hancock - George Romero - H. R. Giger - Dario Argento - Just Jaeckin - Vito Acconci - Tony Conrad - Terry Gilliam - Nobuyoshi Araki - Richard Kostelanetz - Fontella Bass

Events: WWII (start)

Ferdinand Springer, Ecorché I, 1939-1940.

The Great Dictator (1940) - Charles Chaplin

  • The Great Dictator (1940) - Charles Chaplin [Amazon.com]
    Since Adolf Hitler had the audacity to borrow his mustache from the most famous celebrity in the world--Charlie Chaplin--it meant Hitler was fair game for Chaplin's comedy. (Strangely, the two men were born within four days of each other.) The Great Dictator, conceived in the late thirties but not released until 1940, when Hitler's war was raging across Europe, is the film that skewered the tyrant. Chaplin plays both Adenoid Hynkel, the power-mad ruler of Tomania, and a humble Jewish barber suffering under the dictator's rule. Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's wife at the time, plays the barber's beloved; and the rotund comedian Jack Oakie turns in a weirdly accurate burlesque of Mussolini, as a bellowing fellow dictator named Benzino Napaloni, Dictator of Bacteria. Chaplin himself hits one of his highest moments in the amazing sequence where he performs a dance of love with a large inflated globe of the world. Never has the hunger for world domination been more rhapsodically expressed. The slapstick is swift and sharp, but it was not enough for Chaplin. He ends the film with the barber's six-minute speech calling for peace and prophesying a hopeful future for troubled mankind. Some critics have always felt the monologue was out of place, but the lyricism and sheer humanity of it are still stirring. This was the last appearance of Chaplin's Little Tramp character, and not coincidentally it was his first all-talking picture. --Robert Horton for amazon.com

    Fantasia (1940) - Ford Beebe, Bill Roberts

      Fantasia (1940) - Ford Beebe, Bill Roberts [Amazon.com]
      Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, resulting in surreal fantasy and playful escapism. Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra provided the music for eight segments by the composers Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Ponchielli, Bach, Dukas, and Schubert. Not all the sequences were created equally, but a few are simply glorious, such as "Night on Bald Mountain," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and "The Nutcracker Suite." The animation ranges from subtly delicate to fiercely bold. The screen bursts with color and action as creatures transmute and convention is thrust aside. The painstaking detail and saturated hues are unique to this film, unmatched even by more advanced technology. --Rochelle O'Gorman, amazon.com

    Rabelais and His World (1940) - Mikhail Bakhtin

      Rabelais and His World (1940) - Mikhail Bakhtin, Helene Iswolsky (Translator) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

      See entry for Mikhail Bakhtin

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