Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux

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"Von Clausewitz said that war is the logical extension of diplomacy; Monsieur Verdoux feels that murder is the logical extension of business." With his controversial "comedy of murders" Monsieur Verdoux, Charles Chaplin makes his final, definitive break with the Little Tramp character that had brought him fame and fortune. Verdoux (Chaplin), a mild-mannered family man of pre-war France, has hit upon a novel method of supporting his loved ones. He periodically heads out of town, assumes an alias, marries a foolish, wealthy woman, then murders her for the insurance money. He does this thirteen times with success, but wife #14, brassy Martha Raye, proves impossible to kill (nor does she ever suspect what Verdoux has in mind for her). A subplot develops when Verdoux, planning to test a new poison, chooses streetwalker Marilyn Nash as his guinea pig. She tells him so sad a life story that Verdoux takes pity on her, gives her some money, and sends her on her way. Years later, the widowed and impoverished Verdoux meets Nash once more; now she is the mistress of a munitions magnate. This ironic twist sets the stage for the finale, when Verdoux, finally arrested for his crimes and on trial for his life, gently argues in his own defense that he is an "amateur" by comparison to those profiteers who build weapons for war. "It's all business. One murder makes a villain. Millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify..." Sentenced to death, Verdoux remains calmly philosophical to the end. As the condemned man walks to the guillotine, a priest prays for God to have mercy on Verdoux's soul. "Why not?" replies Verdoux jauntily. "After all, it belongs to him." The original idea of Monsieur Verdoux originated with Orson Welles, who'd wanted to make a picture about notorious modern "Bluebeard" Landru. Welles wanted to cast Chaplin in the lead; Chaplin liked the idea, but preferred to direct himself, as he'd been doing since 1914. It is possible that Chaplin might have gotten away with the audacious notion of presenting a cold-blood murderer as a sympathetic, almost lovable figure. Alas, Monsieur Verdoux was released at a time when Chaplin was under a political cloud for his allegedly Communistic philosophy; too, it came out shortly after a well-publicized paternity suit involving Chaplin and Joan Barry. Picketed in several communities, banned outright in others, Monsieur Verdoux was Chaplin's first financial flop. Today, it can be seen to be years ahead of its time in terms of concept, even though the execution is old-fashioned and occasionally wearisome. Monsieur Verdoux doesn't always hit the bull's-eye, but it remains one of Charles Chaplin's most fascinating projects.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/02/2004
UPC: 0085393765224
Original Release: 1947
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Home Video
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time: 1:59:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; All new digital transfer from Chaplin family vault picture and audio elements; Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as original mono; Interactive menus; Scene access; Introduction by David Robinson; Chaplin Today: Monsieur Verdoux - documentary by Bernard Eisenschitz with the participation of the master of the thriller film Claude Chabrol; Plan drawings for the set and preparatory sketches - blueprints of the set compared with the corresponding scenes in the film; Photo gallery; Film posters; Trailers; The Chaplin Collection

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charles Chaplin Henri Verdoux
Ada-May Annette
Marjorie Bennett Marie's Maid
Isobel Elsom Marie Grosnay
Audrey Betz Mme. Bottelto
Marilyn Nash The Girl
Virginia Brissac Carlotta Couvais
Mady Correll Mona Verdoux, His Wife
William Frawley Jean La Salle
Irving Bacon Pierre Couvais
Charles Evans Detective Morrow
John Harmon Joe Darwin
Helene Heigh Yvonne
Margaret Hoffman Lydia Floray
Arthur Hohl Real Estate Agent
Fritz Leiber Priest
Robert Lewis Maurice Bottello
Vera Marshe Mrs. Darwin
Eddie Mills Jean Couvais
Eula Morgan Phoebe
Bernard Nedell Prefect of Police
Martha Raye Annabella Bonheur
Allison Roddan Peter Verdoux
Almira Sessions Lena Couvais
Barbara Slater Florist
Wheaton Chambers Druggist
James Craven Annabella's Friend
Joseph Crehan Broker
Cyril Delevanti Postman
Franklin Farnum Victim of the Crash
Boyd Irwin Prison Official
Fred Karno Mr. Karno
Paul Newlan Wedding Guest
Barry Norton Wedding Guest
Edna Purviance Extra at Wedding Party
Frank Reicher Doctor
Addison Richards Bank Manager
Herb Vigran Reporter
Charles Wagenheim Friend
Pierre Watkin Prison Official
Warren Ashe Actor

Technical Credits
Charles Chaplin Director,Score Composer,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
John Beckman Art Director
Curt Courant Cinematographer
Willard Nico Editor
Rudy Schrager Musical Direction/Supervision
Roland H. "Rollie" Totheroh Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Directed by Charles Chaplin [1:26]
2. Henri Verdoux 1880-1937 [9:05]
3. Bluebeard [8:29]
4. Paris [3:50]
5. Lydia Floray [7:32]
6. Mona and Peter [6:04]
7. Capitaine Bonheur [8:03]
8. Chloroform [3:49]
9. 151 Avenue Victor Hugo [2:58]
10. C2HC [2:37]
11. A Philanthropist [11:22]
12. The Detective [7:39]
13. Peroxide and Sasparilla [8:16]
14. Yodel [:18]
15. Please, Please! [5:24]
16. Wedding [4:38]
17. Crisis [7:34]
18. Caught [6:50]
19. Trial [5:17]
20. The End [2:08]

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Monsieur Verdoux 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly a great film. It is more on the serious side then Chaplin fan would expect. However, the funny and comical humor is still present. I first saw this film on TCM and immediately fell in love. This is a film that movie fans will love to have in their collection. I know I do. the cast is great, the story it great and it has some of the best quotes I have ever heard in a film. I highly recommend this film to all movie fans.