Politically speaking the great Charlie Chaplin was a left-leaning humanitarian and a self-described peacemonger who became entangled in the raw end of the anti-Communist fervor of the late 1940s, and out of this conflict he eventually left this country for Switzerland — an exile given the boot.
In ’47 Chaplin angrily denounced the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in response Representative John E. Rankin, who helped establish HUAC, declared in June 1947 that Chaplin’s “very life in Hollywood is detrimental to the moral fabric of America…[if he is deported] his loathsome pictures can be kept from before the eyes of the American youth…he should be deported and gotten rid of at once.”
Chaplin’s delivery of the final speech in The Great Dictator (’40) is too agitated, too shrill. He should have dialed it down a couple of notches. And yet portions of the speech are a close match with a certain John Lennon song that some are saying should replace Francis Scott Key‘s “The Star Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.