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Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  8 December 1947 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,758 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 69 critic

A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.



(an original story written by), (based on an idea by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mady Correll ...
Mona - His Wife
Allison Roddan ...
Peter - Their Son
Robert Lewis ...
Maurice Bottello - Verdoux's Friend
Audrey Betz ...
Martha - His Wife
Annabella Bonheur
Ada May ...
Annette - Her Maid (as Ada-May)
Isobel Elsom ...
Marie Grosnay
Marjorie Bennett ...
Her Maid
Helene Heigh ...
Yvonne - Marie's Friend
Margaret Hoffman ...
Lydia Floray
Marilyn Nash ...
The Girl
Irving Bacon ...
Pierre Couvais
Edwin Mills ...
Jean Couvais
Virginia Brissac ...
Carlotta Couvais


Monsieur Verdoux is a bluebeard, he marries women and kills them after the marriage to get the money he needs for his family. But with two ladies he has bad luck. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hysterical laughter! Haunting romance! Shocking drama! See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

8 December 1947 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Comedy of Murders  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,044 (USA) (11 July 2008)


$64,636 (USA) (28 June 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The producers of the film were sued in 1948 by Parisian bank employee Henri Verdoux. 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 »


Henri Verdoux: Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference.
See more »


Referenced in Chaplin Today: A Woman of Paris (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant black comedy with a very serious message
22 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charlie Chaplin is "Monsieur Verdoux" in this 1947 film based on the real-life serial killer Henri Landru. Verdoux is a bank clerk who is laid off late in life and turns to marrying and killing women for their money in order to support his invalid wife and child. Sounds brutal, and when you think about it, it really is, but Chaplin as usual manages to couch his message in comedy. While we see that he is successful in knocking off a couple of women and getting their money (though we never actually see a murder), Verdoux has a couple of failures as well, and there the fun begins. One of his women, Annabella Bonheur, is played hysterically by Martha Raye as a vulgar loudmouth eternally suspicious of Verdoux, who is posing as a boat captain. He tries some different ways of killing her, but no matter what he does, nothing works. He then turns his attention to another woman he's been chasing for some time, Marie Grosnay (Isobel Elsom). He's about to walk down the aisle when who does he see as a guest at the wedding - Annabelle. His attempts to get out of the house are priceless.

Despite some genuinely comical scenes, the speech that Verdoux makes gives its deeper message - Verdoux was in it for the money. To him, the women were business propositions to be exploited. His point is that what he has done on a smaller scale is being done by dictators worldwide; people are not treated as human beings but merely for economic gain, for power and for exploitation. Though Verdoux's argument doesn't absolve him of responsibility or justify his actions, the warning is a good one - people need to care more about each other and about what's going on in their world, and put their attention on really important matters like suppression of the masses. Why, he asks, are the headlines full of Verdoux and not of what is going on around the world? (The film's ending takes place in 1937.) It's interesting to consider what would have happened to this story in the hands of Orson Welles, whose idea it was originally. He wouldn't have made it a comedy. It would have been a drama or a detective story. Only Chaplin would think of making the story of a serial killer into a comedy of sorts. Certainly 1967's "No Way to Treat a Lady" takes a page or so from this script.

"Monsieur Verdoux" wasn't well received by the public - at all - and by 1947, people were questioning Chaplin's politics instead of reveling in his genius. It possibly was ahead of its time; it certainly wasn't appreciated as it is today. The movie is not without some problems, the biggest one being, what the heck happened to Verdoux's wife and child? It is never explained.

"Wars, conflicts - it's all business. One murder makes a villain; millions a hero. Numbers sanctify." Charlie Chaplin as Verdoux said that 61 years ago.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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One thing that saddens me... jonasmendigo
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Deserves a Criterion release classicmoviecomedy
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