Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux

DVD - 2013
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"Charlie Chaplin plays shockingly against type in his most controversial film, a brilliant and bleak black comedy about money, marriage, and murder. Chaplin is a twentieth-century Bluebeard, an enigmatic family man who goes to extreme lengths to support his wife and child, attempting to bump off a series of wealthy widows (including one played by the indefatigable Martha Raye , in a hilarious performance). This deeply philosophical and wildly entertaining film is a work of true sophistication, both for the moral questions it dares to ask and the way it deconstructs its megastar's loveable on-screen persona."--Container.


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7duffy Oct 08, 2014

Movie needs to be watched several times to be truly appreciated. Like many intricate films, brilliant things (sentences, background action, facial expression) can be missed on the initial viewing. Chaplin's slapstick is still top-notch, but now it is combined with (or used to illustrate) a larger social message.

Jul 01, 2014

I am assuming Chaplin made this black comedy in a fit of post-war cynicism, because his celebrated pathos is mercifully minimized–which is only one of many reasons I find this to be quite a fine film. It is also interesting to compare this to American Psycho as I felt this has much more to say with its “plastic ladykiller” premise.

EuSei Mar 12, 2014

(Contain spoilers) What a horrid movie. I forced myself to watch the whole thing to see what all the hype was about—OK, I fast forwarded several times, because the thing was endless! The movie was inspired by the French criminal Landru. Chaplin (who in real life was a communist sympathizer/activist) plays Henri Verdoux, a bank clerk who after 30 years working loses his job. He then turns to crime in order to keep his paralytic wife and their son. Verdoux pries on older women of some means; he marries them and after finding a way to get all their money, ruthlessly murders them. He refers to this criminal behavior as “go into business for myself.” The movie portrays his actions one-sided, with Verdoux appearing almost as the victim and his victims ridiculed; his murders, his polygamy are minimized, as if they were nothing but a necessity. His cruelty and lack of respect for humans beings are hidden behind a veil of a bit of slapstick and silly jokes. Verdoux says to the priest before his execution: “I have made my peace with God, my conflict is with man.” Actually, his conflict was with humanity and he took it on its weaker part, women; of their physical and emotional weakness he took cruel, bloody advantage. His last speech disgusted me to no end and removed the shreds of respect I had for Chaplin and Welles. According to Verdoux it was the world who taught him to be merciless; he excuses his evil deeds by accusing wars of blowing “unsuspecting women and little children to pieces”: and since they die at wars, his murders made him “an amateur by comparison.” Let’s see, there is killing and torturing and killing; I guess according to this “logic” the first should be excusable…

Vincent T Lombardo May 05, 2013

A very clever dark comedy, often entertaining and sometimes moving, but, towards the end, it is very preachy. It is too long and would have benefited from editing. Still, I enjoyed it. After all, it is Chaplin, and an average Chaplin film is still better than a lot of other supposedly good movies.

Veepea Jan 03, 2012

It's supposed to be a dark comedy, but I didn't find it all that funny. I think Chaplin relies a bit too much on the old gags and acting that worked in the silent era, but they don't translate that well to talkies.

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