8.0/10
12,095
76 user 71 critic

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.

Director:

Writers:

(an original story written by), (based on an idea by)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Limelight (1952)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A fading comedian and a suicidally despondent ballet dancer must look to each other to find meaning and hope in their lives.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Claire Bloom, Nigel Bruce
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A recently-deposed European monarch seeks shelter in New York City, where he becomes an accidental television celebrity and is later wrongly accused of being a Communist.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Maxine Audley, Jerry Desmonde
The Circus (1928)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The Tramp finds work and the girl of his dreams at a circus.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Merna Kennedy, Al Ernest Garcia
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A kept woman runs into her former fiancé and finds herself torn between love and comfort.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Clarence Geldart, Carl Miller
The Pilgrim (1923)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Tramp is an escaped convict who is mistaken as a pastor in a small town church.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Charles Chaplin, Syd Chaplin
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

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 »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Marlon Brando, Sophia Loren, Sydney Chaplin
Shoulder Arms (1918)
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Charlie is a boot camp private who has a dream of being a hero who goes on a daring mission behind enemy lines.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Edna Purviance, Charles Chaplin, Syd Chaplin
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Albert Austin
A Dog's Life (1918)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The Little Tramp and his dog companion struggle to survive in the inner city.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Dave Anderson
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Four Chaplin shorts from 1916: One A.M., The Rink, The Pawnshop, and The Floorwalker, presented with music and sound effects.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Albert Austin
City Lights (1931)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee
Edit

Cast

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

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:

Chaplin's Bluebeard Comedy is a Killer! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 December 1947 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

A Comedy of Murders  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$64,636 (USA) (28 June 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

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

The Girl: Well, if you must know, I'm just out of jail.
Henri Verdoux: What were you in for?
The Girl: What's the difference? "Larceny," they called it.
Henri Verdoux: "Larceny"?
The Girl: Petty larceny... Pawning a rented typewriter.
Henri Verdoux: Dear, dear. Couldn't you do better than that? What did you get?
The Girl: Three months.
Henri Verdoux: So this is your first day out of jail?
The Girl: Yes.
Henri Verdoux: I see... Poor dear. Ah, well, nothing is permanent in this wicked world. Not even our troubles.
See more »

Connections

Version of Désiré Landru (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a black comedy of manners; stunning performance from Chaplin
9 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It would be hard to imagine anyone else playing Monsieur Verdoux; Charlie Chaplin was the only one who could pull it off in any form or style or way that wouldn't make the character as just an unlikeable killer of women. As it's written on the page the character, if played by someone with less charisma or charm or comic timing, would just be another character actor playing a villain. But Chaplin taking the part is inspired on his part, and it's a good thing too (and I never thought I'd say this) that he didn't let Orson Welles direct. With Welles it obviously would have been a visually awesome picture, but would the comedy be the same? Or the emphasis on the social message blending in with the ultimate sanctimonious attitude of the character? It would be interesting to see Welles script, if it exists, but as it stands he's mostly a footnote in his tale, if a thankful one.

Under Chaplin's direction and writing Monsieur Verdoux is timed with finesse and glee and with a repetitive transition of the train going by quickly with Chaplin's piano key strokes, and it's often devilish fun to hear how Chaplin's Verdoux gets around and about (or sometimes not) killing and robbing his victims. And yet, I'm inclined to say that it's above all else a triumph for Chaplin as an actor, a performer who's iconic appeal, even past the Tramp character, makes us (or at least me) almost cheer him on or feel awkward or cringing during a scene leading up to a murder, or, as does happen once or twice, not. He knows how to put on an air that's genuine, even as it's the most blatant con, and he does it with a gentleman's manner hiding his desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures ex-bank clerk. While I wouldn't go as far as James Agee in calling it the greatest male performance ever, it might just be my favorite Chaplin performance, full of ranging subtleties and over-the-top expressions and just lingering looks of contempt and malaise and sorrow and outright lying and etc that are just a knockout.

Monsier Verdoux is a peculiar character, as his crimes are meant to be for the good of his wife and child who, of course, have no idea of what he's really doing (in an acidic touch, his wife is also crippled). Is it wrong what he's doing? In the legal sense, of course. But Chaplin sets up a moral code for this character that makes things trickier, a little warped in thinking. If the woman has lots of wealth stored away- and maybe, as with the one who keeps getting away via wine glass and fishing trip, almost deserving in the perception of the character- why carp? But then there's the woman who's just out of prison, her husband's gone, nothing to her name, and... he just can't bear to do her in (especially, as should be noted, as a "test" run for another victim). It becomes curious to see her later on, sort of as the not-quite Chaplin heroine of the story, and how saving the right one for Verdoux is what counts, despite forgetting her until she reappears.

So there's this twisted logic, but in the set-pieces that Chaplin sets up are some of the finest, most brilliantly timed comic moments of his career, filmed for a dark suspense tinged with a near sweetness that we know and love from him. It's satire on a level that is no more or less sophisticated than Chaplin's major silent works, and yet it's just a little sharper, more pointed at the ills of man in turmoil than a simple psychopath, all in the realm of delightful crimes in the upper class. While the end may seem derivative of the Great Dictator with a speech and message chocked forward like spray-paint on a wall, it's a mixed reaction one might have; the sanctimonious attitude, of being accepting and pointing the finger back on society, is haunting and obvious and also, importantly, speaks to the nature of the character. Would a man somewhat comfortable in his own mortality face the end any other way?


13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?