In Hong Kong, the wealthy Ogden Mears is traveling in a transatlantic and is near to be assigned Saudi Arabia Ambassador and is divorcing from his wife Martha. His friend Harvey and he are ... See full summary »
Three Chaplin silent comedies "A Dog's Life", "Shoulder Arms", and "The Pilgrim" are strung together to form a single feature length film. Chaplin provides new music, narration, and a small... See full summary »
Charlie is an expert bricklayer. He has lots of fun and work and enjoys himself greatly while at the saloon. As he leaves work his wife takes the pay he has hidden in his hat. But he steals... See full summary »
Charles Chaplin hired famed press agent Russell Birdwell to publicize this film. Just prior to the premiere, Birdwell wrote columnist Hedda Hopper a note saying: "I contend that Charlie Chaplin's 'Monsieur Verdoux' is the greatest and most controversial picture that has ever come from the Hollywood mills. If I lose I will publicly eat the negative of the film in front of the Chaplin studios. Sincerely, Bird." After she'd seen the film, Hopper wired back: "DEAR BIRD: START EATING. HOPPER." See more »
Although the story takes place in the years 1932-1937, all the women's fashions and hairstyles are strictly in the 1946-1947 mode, when the film was made. See more »
It's the approach of death that terrifies.
I suppose if the unborn knew of the approach of life, they'd be just as terrified.
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As Charlie Chaplin put it when the tramp finally talked in The Great Dictator the magic was gone. Chaplin felt he had to come up with another character in order to continue his career and he got away from the lovable Little Tramp as far as he could with Monsieur Verdoux.
A whole lot of people were shocked when Monsieur Verdoux came out and instead of the Tramp we got a Bluebeard murderer. Black comedy was not a genre popular in the USA at that time and a lot of people hated this film. None more so than Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper who as a good conservative Republican cheered on the coming blacklist and beat the drums for Chaplin's deportation. No accident that Chaplin was hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee at the time Monsieur Verdoux came out.
Based on the famous French mass criminal Henry Desire Landru, Monsieur Verdoux tells the story of a bank clerk who lost his job and to support his family started marrying and murdering rich women. Verdoux keeps quite a schedule because he's marrying several of them at the same time. But always returns to wife Mady Correll and son Allison Roddan.
Funniest marriage is to Martha Raye who not only is he unsuccessful in killing, she nearly does him in on a couple of occasions strictly by accident. That raucous laugh might elicit sympathy from a jury if anyone ever heard it and was condemned to live with it even part time.
With the marriage to Raye comes the film's funniest sequence Chaplin trying to kill Raye when they were in a boat on a lake in Switzerland. It will not escape your attention that the sequence is borrowed from Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy which was already filmed in 1931 and would shortly be filmed again in 1951 as A Place In The Sun. Ironic indeed how the same plot gambits can be played for laughs or deadly serious.
Second funniest is Raye showing up at Chaplin's wedding to Isobel Elsom whom he has targeted. It forces him to leave her at the altar not knowing at that time how lucky she was.
Truth be told some of Chaplin's left wing political views are grafted into the film somewhat forcibly. It's what got Hedda Hopper's undergarments in such a twist. Still this an amusing film and not fairly judged by a lot of people at the time it came out.
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