IMDb > Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Monsieur Verdoux
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Monsieur Verdoux (1947) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Charles Chaplin (an original story written by)
Orson Welles (based on an idea by)
Contact:
View company contact information for Monsieur Verdoux on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 December 1947 (Sweden) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Chaplin's Bluebeard comedy is a killer! See more »
Plot:
A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 5 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
(24 articles)
User Reviews:
A sublime, eloquent Charlie in his finest sound-era vehicle. See more (69 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles Chaplin ... Henri Verdoux - Alias Varnay - Alias Bonheur - Alias Floray
Mady Correll ... Mona - His Wife
Allison Roddan ... Peter - Their Son
Robert Lewis ... Maurice Bottello - Verdoux's Friend
Audrey Betz ... Martha - His Wife
Martha Raye ... 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
Almira Sessions ... Lena Couvais
Eula Morgan ... Phoebe Couvais
Bernard Nedell ... Prefect of Police (as Bernard J. Nedell)
Charles Evans ... Detective Morrow

William Frawley ... Jean La Salle
Arthur Hohl ... Real Estate Agent
Barbara Slater ... Flower Girl
Fritz Leiber ... Father Fareaux
Vera Marshe ... Mrs. Vicki Darwin
John Harmon ... Joe Darwin
Christine Ell ... Louise - Maid
Lois Conklin ... Florist
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Abbott ... Defense Attorney (uncredited)
Warren Ashe ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)
Gertrude Astor ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)
Ralph Brooks ... Sidewalk Cafe Customer (uncredited)
Wheaton Chambers ... Pharmacist (uncredited)
Julius Cramer ... Executioner (uncredited)
James Craven ... Bismo - Annabella's Friend (uncredited)
Joseph Crehan ... Broker (uncredited)
Albert D'Arno ... Waiter (uncredited)
Daniel De Jonghe ... Waiter (uncredited)
George Dee ... Waiter (uncredited)
Josette Deegan ... Waitress (uncredited)
Cyril Delevanti ... Postman (uncredited)
Wheeler Dryden ... Salesman (uncredited)
Elspeth Dudgeon ... Old Woman (uncredited)
Ella Ethridge ... Woman in the Street (uncredited)
Herbert Evans ... Garden Party Guest Getting Sprayed (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Victim of the Stock Market Crash (uncredited)
Joseph Granby ... Bailiff (uncredited)

Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... Prison Official (uncredited)
Fred Karno Jr. ... Mr. Karno (uncredited)
Colin Kenny ... Police Detective (uncredited)
Bert LeBaron ... Cafe Royal Doorman (uncredited)
Ruth Lee ... Gossipy Woman Hanging Clothes (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Reveler at Can Can Club (uncredited)
Therese Lyon ... Jeannette - the Verdoux Maid (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)
Lester Matthews ... Prosecutor (uncredited)
Harold Miller ... Onlooker in Hotel Lobby (uncredited)
Ralph Montgomery ... French Waiter (uncredited)
Benito Mussolini ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)
Barry Norton ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)
Albert Petit ... Bystander (uncredited)

Edna Purviance ... Garden Party Guest (uncredited)

Frank Reicher ... Doctor (uncredited)
Addison Richards ... Bank Manager (uncredited)
Suzanne Ridgeway ... Night Club Patron (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Wedding Guest (uncredited)
Carlo Schipa ... Waiter (uncredited)
William Self ... Max - a Reporter (uncredited)
C. Montague Shaw ... Mortgage Banker (uncredited)
Millard Sherwood ... Mr. Carno (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Stock Broker (uncredited)
Nanette Vallon ... Maid (uncredited)
Herb Vigran ... Reporter (uncredited)
Charles Wagenheim ... Bank Manager's Friend (uncredited)
Pierre Watkin ... Prison Official (uncredited)
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Directed by
Charles Chaplin 
 
Writing credits
Charles Chaplin (an original story written by)

Orson Welles (based on an idea by)

Produced by
Charles Chaplin .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Charles Chaplin (music composed by)
 
Cinematography by
Roland Totheroh (director of photography)
Curt Courant (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Willard Nico (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
John Beckman 
 
Makeup Department
William Knight .... makeup
Hedy Mjorud .... hair stylist (as Hedvig Mjorud)
 
Production Management
John McFadden .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Rex Bailey .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Curt Courant .... artistic supervision (as Curtis Courant)
 
Sound Department
James T. Corrigan .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Wallace Chewning .... operative cameraman
Frank Testera .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Drew Tetrick .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
Rudy Schrager .... music arranger (as Rudolph Schrager)
Rudy Schrager .... music director (as Rudolph Schrager)
Georg Kreisler .... musician: piano double: Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Wheeler Dryden .... associate director
Robert Florey .... associate director
Russell Birdwell .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Harry Crocker .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Johnny Kascier .... stand-in: Charles Chaplin (uncredited)
Dale Tate .... title designer (uncredited)
Ann Toth .... stand-in: Helene Heigh (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
124 min | West Germany:110 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Denmark:7 (2003) | Finland:K-16 (original rating) | Finland:K-11 (re-rating) | France:U | Norway:16 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:PG (1986) | UK:A (1947) (cut) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #12225) | USA:TV-G (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
According to Robert Lewis, "It was easy to define the position held by Charlie Chaplin in the making of "Monsieur Verdoux." He was everything - writer, star, director, producer, and casting director, as well as supervisor of all other departments: costumes, scenery, make-up, lighting, shooting schedules, camera set-ups, and the musical score. He also crawled around on the floor with a knife, scraping up bits of old chewing gum stuck to the floor. For good measure he'd entertain the troops between shots with hilarious imitations, such as William Gillette's inanimate playing in "Sherlock Holmes," a Kabuki actor pounding his feet on the floor, and crossing his eyes with pain, or Maurice Schwartz, the Yiddish actor, intoning a speech while twirling an imaginary beard that went clear to the floor."See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: 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 Prosecutor:Never, never in the history of jurisprudence have such terrifying deeds been brought to light. Gentlemen of the jury, you have before you a cruel and cynical monster. Look at him!
[all heads turn to face Verdoux, who turns around himself to look behind]
The Prosecutor:Observe him, gentlemen. This man, who has brains, if he had decent instincts, could have made an honest living. And yet, he preferred to rob and murder unsuspecting women. In fact, he made a business of it. I do not ask for vengeance, but for the protection of society. For this mass killer, I demand the extreme penalty: that he be put to death on the guillotine. The State rests its case.
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) (TV)See more »

FAQ

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18 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
A sublime, eloquent Charlie in his finest sound-era vehicle., 1 March 2001
Author: gary brumburgh (gbrumburgh@aol.com) from Los Angeles, California

The word "Bluebeard" ("Landru" in French) has been a part of the American vernacular for some time now, synonymous with the term "wife-killer." Several variations of the infamous Parisian charmer who married then buried have been filmed over the decades - some OK, others not. John Carradine starred in a respectable but unheralded version in the mid-30s as a puppeteer-turned-perpetual strangler. A so-so French/Italian co-production in 1962 starring Charles Denner and Michele Morgan strove for dark comedy but ultimately lacked the creative spark. The worst of the lot was a wretched Richard Burton/Raquel Welch/Joey Heatherton rehash in the 70s, the nadir of Burton's screen career.

It seems most fitting then that the wry, comic genius of Charlie Chaplin, our beloved "Little Tramp," is allowed to put its delightfully macabre spin on the Bluebeard tale with 1947's "Monsieur Verdoux," winding up with perhaps the most entertaining version yet. First and foremost, it is a pleasure to hear Charlie talk. I also venture to say this is the best of his sound-era films, well-mounted and shot meticulously in black and white, in which he not only produced and directed but provided the music. Who but the loveable Chaplin, with that ever-present tinge of pathos, could play the role of a methodical, unrepentant human wife-disposal who kills purely for financial reward, and have the audience rooting for him!

Our titular hero is a charming fop of a fellow who operates his deadly deception by a precise timetable - he fastidiously charms, marries and eliminates his unsuspecting victims with keen attention paid to banker's hours! But it's Monsieur Verdoux's motive that gains the viewer's empathy. Our boy is not the mad, demented, twisted, cold-hearted monster one must think. He carries out his dastardly deeds out of selfless need. His out-of-town "business" is conducted solely in order to support and tend to his wheelchair-bound wife, a hopeless cripple and invalid, and family. His devotion, in fact, is so honorable, he succeeds in wrapping you around his little wedding finger. As much as you sympathize for the dowagers he does in, you can't help but think at least the old dears died having been graced by such a noble gentleman.

Brash loudster Martha Raye, often considered a bust in films for being intolerably larger-than-life, has one of her best roles here, grabbing her share of laughs as one of Verdoux's intended victims - a shrill, obnoxious, but verrrry wealthy dame whom nobody would really mind seeing knocked off. The problem is Charlie can't seem to off her! Every industrious attempt fails miserably. In one truly madcap scene that directly parodies Theodore Dreiser's classic novel "An American Tragedy," Charlie takes Martha, outlandishly bedecked in silver fox furs, out on a crude fishing boat excursion in the hopes of drowning the tenacious harridan. Two comic masters in vintage form.

Of course, Charlie does get his comeuppance but its all done in grand, sophisticated style. The whole movie is, in fact, so precise and polished that one must forgive him, given his controversial "subversive" leanings at the time, for tacking on an interminable, out-of-character piece of political diatribe at the finishing line. The movie's theme and bitter irony did not even pretend to disguise his great personal anguish and bitterness at America when political conservatives were breathing down his neck. Forgiven he is, for this black comedy, a sublime, eloquent retread of an old familiar creeper, comes off refreshingly original.

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