A look back at this day in film history
October 22
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.

More Flashbacks
First Blood October 22, 1982
First Blood opens

Rambo finally made the transition from page to screen when First Blood reached U.S. theaters on October 22, 1982.

Read more »
October 22, 1971
The Last Picture Show opens

Larry McMurty was just 30 years old when he wrote his third novel, and it only took five years before it made its way to the screen in the form of Peter Bogdanovich's acclaimed second feature, The Last Picture Show.

Read more »
October 22, 1950
More about Eve

Bette Davis’ classic film about the backstabbing theater world made its bow.

Read more »