Four-Color Flashback returned last week with the first of nine installments discussing the controversial Vertigo series Preacher. I’m new to the series, Paul’s been a fan since it first started in 1995, and we roundtable it. (Or is it a cross-table? There are only two of us.)
This week, we discuss Preacher: Vol. 2 – Until the End of the World…
Paul: Okay, Mr. AJ, you survived the first explosive, expletive-laden volume of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Here we are, back for more, so tell me…how do you think the second volume, Until the End of the World, holds up?
AJ: I loved the first volume. I had some problems with it–Arseface, Detective Bridges’ sexuality–but on the whole, I thought it was a really entertaining comic with some brilliant ideas. I’m happy to report that Until the End of the World not only continues the witty, profane, blood-splattered fun of Gone to Texas; it also does it one better by introducing some seriously compelling bits of mythology.
THE GREAT DICTATOR: The Criterion Collection (DVD/Blu-ray)
You don’t necessarily equate Charlie Chaplin with vicious satire. But in 1940, with the U.S. still at peace with Nazi Germany, Chaplin made The Great Dictator, one of the most biting pieces of satire in cinema history. It was the first major film to take on Hitler and Nazism, and Chaplin tackled both subjects with eviscerating wit. Chaplin plays both a Jewish barber (thought by some to be the final iteration of his Little Tramp character; Chaplin had different feelings about that at different points in his life) and Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomainia. Hynkel’s impassioned speeches, in a made-up language, are hilarious, and a scene involving a giant globe is memorable. The critical community has a mixed consensus on the film’s closing monologue, addressing the film’s themes in a deadly serious fashion instead of a comic one; I can understand the frustration of some, but to me it’s stirring. After last year’s Criterion edition of Modern Times, The Great Dictator is the second Chaplin film to join the prestigious Criterion Collection; special features on both the DVD and Blu-ray include audio commentary by Chaplin historians Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran, a Kenneth Branagh-narrated documentary entitled The Tramp and the Dictator, two visual essays, color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney, a deleted scene from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside, and a theatrical trailer.