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Charlie Chaplin: Monsieur Verdoux [DVD]

Charles Chaplin , Mady Correll    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis, Audrey Betz
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Whv
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Sep 2003
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AISJR
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,135 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

This blistering little black comedy was well ahead of its time when released in 1947. Originally, Orson Welles had wanted Chaplin to star in his drama about a French mass murderer named Landru, but Chaplin was hesitant to act for another director and used the idea himself. He plays a dapper gent named Henri Verdoux (who assumes a number of identities), a civilised monster who marries wealthy women, then murders them (as we meet him, he's gathering roses as an incinerator ominously bellows smoke in the background) and collects their money to support his real family. The Little Tramp is now a distant memory, though this was the first film not to feature Chaplin's beloved creation. Verdoux is largely viciously clever. Ultimately, Chaplin breaks character (much as he did in The Great Dictator) to preach to the masses, declaring that against the machines of war that grip the planet, humble killer Verdoux is "an amateur by comparison."

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look at how far we've come 30 Nov 2003
This was the film that ultimately did Chaplin in, the one that made sure that he wasn't allowed back into the States, once he had left for a trip to England. 'Verdoux' is an elegant, slightly fuzzy, but well-meaning and well-scripted Bluebeard-comedy with Chaplin in the lead, killing off rich, middle-aged women that he marries, having lost all his money in the big crash of '29. "I am but an amateur when it comes to killing", he says, more or less, in his defense, implying very overtly that the big warfaring nations are the true killers. It is sad how little the world changes, if the Americans got a second chance to get back at Chaplin here and now, they would, with a vengeance. Chaplin thought patriotism was sheer stupidity, and look where we are now. Buy this film, it has historical and artistic significance, the transfer is excellent, and the DVD is crammed with enlightening extras.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin at his best. 23 Aug 2009
In my opinion this is the very best film Chaplin ever made, I love his early silent film work and the Great Dictator is a very important, well made and influential film. However for me this film is the best of the best. It is both funny and dark, Chaplin was a genious before his time, America viewed him as a great threat because he gave an alternative view of society through this movie, and the message in this 50 year old movie is just as applicable today. Men like George Bush and Tony Blair have contributed to the deaths of thousands (hundreds of thousands) of people throught their actions and decisions yet they face no trial. In Chaplins words... One death makes a vilan millions a hero, numbers sanctify. Charlie Chaplin gave a very strong and valid message in this film and I believe he was very brave to do so.

A master at his very best, a fantastic film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin at his best 22 Jan 2013
Not one of Chaplin's well known films but after the Great Dictator this I feel is one of his best.
A sheer delight.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Numbers Sanctify" 7 Feb 2013
This review is extracted from my extended essay (2010): An appraisal of Charles Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux.

Charles Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" was released in 1940 and was his first full, talking cinematographic film. His next film, "Monsieur Verdoux" followed seven years later shortly after the ending of the Second World War.

There was some trepidation in the initial phases as to how "The Great Dictator" would be received but in the event it quickly became Chaplin's most lucrative single venture in film making; it was also universally accepted as an outstanding work of art.

"Monsieur Verdoux", on the other hand, had a generally frosty reception. Today critics still differ as to its merits. For example, from the "Second Virgin Film Guide", where the rating has 4 stars (maximum 5 stars) we have 'Chaplin, that master comedian, cannot seem to decide here which way to go either into straight drama or farcical crime, but his black humour is in force nevertheless and he has produced a compelling film about the notorious Landru, better known as Bluebeard.' (It would appear that the idea to make a film modelled on the character of Landru first came directly from Orson Welles.)

Virgin cites two episodes, including the one in which Verdoux - he surely relishes the secret "joke" - gently reprimands his young son for pulling a cat's tail, wondering from where his sibling inherits such a cruel streak. This misses the point. Life is too serious a thing to be taken seriously. A world in which the free democracies protect their way of life by threatening to destroy the planet using weapons of mass destruction is so absurd as to defy analysis.
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10 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reveals much about Chaplin 15 Dec 2008
According to the commentary included with this 1947 film, Chaplin considered Monsieur Verdoux one of his best films. It would be more accurate to regard it as one of the best for illustrating his enormous vanity and self-obsession. In his 1940 film, The Great Dictator, Chaplin found humor in Hitler, who resembled him slightly in appearance and more than slightly in ego. In this film he finds a similar humor in a French serial killer who woes and murders women for their money. For Chaplin, the central figure in all human history and the only person who matters is always himself.

A better man would have used the film as a launching pad for actors younger, poorer, and less well-established than himself. Chaplin, who also wrote and directed it, sees it as another opportunity to strut his talents. No other actor was given a major role. Even the pretty young woman (Marilyn Nash) who has the second most important role merely exists to inflate our opinion of M. Verdoux. We are supposed to be impressed that, intending to kill her to test a new poison, he takes pity and lets her live. Chaplin is that self-obsessed.

In a city park, I once had to tell a man throwing knives at a tree just a few feet from a busy walkway that he had to stop. He defended his actions by talking about all those who die in highway accidents each year. I told the deluded twit that he was talking nonsense, that there was no relationship between the danger that one of his knives would bounce off a tree, hitting an child's eye and far away car crashes. In this film, Chaplin, scriptwriter and actor, is equally deluded.
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