Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
June 25
October 15, 1940
The Great Comedian

More than a year before America entered World War II, Charlie Chaplin released The Great Dictator, a film that the next day, on October 16, the New York Times critic Bosley Crowther raved “turns out to be a truly superb accomplishment by a truly great artist –– and, from one point of view, perhaps the most significant film ever produced.” As Chaplin’s first talkie, The Great Dictator also turned out to be his most commercial film. Chaplin stars as both a Jewish barber and a fascist dictator named Adenoid Hynkel, a joke that played off the historically recognized resemblance between Chaplin and Hitler. Indeed radio comedian Tommy Handley had previously performed a joke song “Who is This Man (Who Looks like Charlie Chaplin)” on his BBC show. The Nazis had long had Chaplin in their own sights, naming him "a disgusting Jewish acrobat” in their 1934 booklet The Jews Are Looking at You. While Chaplin had supposedly received secret encouragement from President Roosevelt for the project, Hollywood itself kept its distance, frightened of Germany’s possible response. But after its popular reception, their tune changed. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and led the way for other anti-Nazi comedies, most notably Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 To Be or Not to Be. Years later, however, Chaplin himself wondered in My Autobiography, if he could had made the same film had he known the real depth of Nazi atrocities.


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Fawcett June 25, 2009
Farrah Fawcett dies

For many teenage boys who came of age in the 1970s, Farrah Fawcett began in two dimensions — as the blonde-tressed pin-up girl in that iconic red one-piece swim suit on what became one of the bestselling posters of all time.

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June 25, 1982
Blade Runner opens in US

The future arrived on June 25, 1982 in the form of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. An adaptation of sci-fi great Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the film strayed far from Dick's novel — gone was much of the lonely protagonist's musing on empathy and the nature of being human.

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25 June 1963
Hollywood Black Out

If the recent flare up between Spike Lee and Clint Eastwood about the representation (or lack thereof) of African-American soldiers in big Hollywood epics sounds familiar, it should.

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