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Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 8 December 1947 (Sweden)
A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.

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Writers:

(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mady Correll ...
Allison Roddan ...
...
Audrey Betz ...
Martha
...
...
Annette (as Ada-May)
Isobel Elsom ...
...
Maid
Helene Heigh ...
Yvonne - Marie's Friend
Margaret Hoffman ...
Lydia Floray
...
...
Pierre Couvais
Edwin Mills ...
Jean Couvais
Virginia Brissac ...
Carlotta Couvais
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Storyline

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 <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comedy of Murders See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 December 1947 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Comedy of Murders  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,044, 11 July 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$325,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Verdoux's quote "One murder makes a villain; millions a hero" is taken from the abolitionist Bishop Beilby Porteus (1731-1808). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Henri Verdoux: Business is a ruthless business, my dear.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

"One murder makes a villain; millions a hero. Numbers sanctify."
19 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

In his autobiography Charles Chaplin called this film his "cleverest and most brilliant" comedy, yet very few people at the time the movie was released shared this view. It was the first Chaplin US failure both with critics and audiences (though in Europe the film did quite well).

Here Chaplin plays Henri Verdoux, a serial killer who makes his living by marrying and murdering lonely reach women. Chaplin softened his character by making him a lifelong bank clerk who was laid off at the age when it was already too late to start life anew, meanwhile he has a family to support (a small son and an invalid wife). He's caught and put to trial where he accuses a hypocritical society of sanctioned mass murders and describes himself as an amateur in the field. Originally the idea belonged to Orson Welles who wanted to make a movie based on the story of a notorious murderer Henri Landru, a Frenchman who was executed in 1922 for murdering 8 women. Welles asked Chaplin to star in his film but the latter refused as he thought it was too late for him to play in a movie directed by someone else. But he bought the original idea from Welles and made what could have been a detective story or a thriller into a black comedy. It was certainly provocative and its sarcastic and ironic gravity was astonishing for the time. There is a scene, for instance, when Verdoux while waiting for the execution, talks to a journalist and pronounces the words that still fill me with horror (as they are as true nowadays as they had been fifty years ago):"Wars, conflicts - it's all business. One murder makes a villain; millions a hero. Numbers sanctify." Yet "Monsieur Verdoux" which is generally known as the most pessimistic of Chaplin films is not devoided of humour. On the contrary, at some moments it's extraordinary funny: take for instance the famous scenes with his "wives" (Annabella or Lydia)or those with madam Grosnay (my favourite bit is when Verdoux is talking to her from a flower shop, the look at the flower girl's face is wonderful!). I believe the film is one of the best I've ever seen and I highly recommend it to everyone.


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