The Silent Dictator

The Silent Dictator



Los Angeles – 1939

Chaplin is awoken as a butler drawing 30 ft. curtains, allowing the bright morning sun to rip into the room. Chaplin eyes must adjust… he sees the butler is Adolf Hitler. Chaplin nearly jumps out of his skin.

Chaplin shaves in front of the mirror. He leans down to splash water over his face when he comes up, he sees Hitler in the mirror. Chaplin screams and stumbles backward.

He methodically gets dressed in a full suit with silk socks. He walks the marbled halls of his mansion down to his dining room where his 21-yr. old love awaits him for breakfast.

Paulette Goddard races through a dream she had the night before. Chaplin stares out the window at his palatial estate, when he sees a man hiding behind a tree. He slowly steps out the French doors onto the rear veranda.

Chaplin scuttles down the lawn and between the trees until he ends at a small woodshed used by the gardeners. He slowly opens the door and steps in. Hitler and Chaplin move to within inches. They walk about each inspecting every detail.

Chaplin pushes Hitler who returns the gesture. slaps Hitler. Hitler slaps Chaplin. Chaplin stamps on his foot. Hitler reciprocates. They grab each other’s necks and begins a strange dance of strangulation. The wrestle to the ground and bursts out into the grounds.

A chase ensues during which we see Charlie Chaplin at his best. They find their way to the top of the steepled estate looking over the edge. Out of breath… they speak in whispers. “You are a monster.” “You are a clown.” “You caused atrocities against humanity.” “I could say the same about you.” “I make people laugh. Give them hope.” “You act like a fool and will be forgotten when the smile fades.”

Paulette Goddard watches and brings him back to the empty stage where they have been this entire time while a writer transcribes what he sees. Chaplin asks him to read.

Chaplin is mildly entertained by the images captured in the words. He politely dismisses the writer from the stage. “There is more magic and passion in my silence than in his words.”

Chaplin stares at the blank stage for a long time. He then turns around and is now Adolf Hitler. In a German accent he asks that Goddard seduce him, there and then. Or she shall be interrogated and then punished.

She moves like silk, requesting he describe every gesture, she demands Chaplin romance her with words as she slowly disrobes and gets closer. A scene slowly reveals itself ending in a kiss and the way for Chaplin to seduce the words to the page.


A man has to let go of how he has defined himself and find a new way to still be authentic. Maybe he is a man that has to face exposing even more of himself.

*Shot in Black and White with an homage to silent film narrative.


Chaplin had only made silent films until he began work on The Great Dictator, a satire on Adolf Hitler and the rise of fascism.

Chaplin would still act-out his scenes in silence then later translate them into spoken word. He had romanced a 21-yr. old a year earlier and she was part early process.

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