Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Henri Verdoux: Wars, conflict - it's all business. One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify, my good fellow!
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.
Judge: Monsieur Verdoux, you have been found guilty. Have you anything to say before sentence is passed upon you?
Henri Verdoux: Oui, monsieur, I have. However remiss the prosecutor has been in complimenting me, he at least admits that I have brains. Thank you, Monsieur, I have. And for thirty-five years I used them honestly. After that, nobody wanted them. So I was forced to go into business for myself. As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces? And done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison. However, I do not wish to lose my temper, because very shortly, I shall lose my head. Nevertheless, upon leaving this spark of earthly existence, I have this to say: I shall see you all... very soon... very soon.
Henri Verdoux: It's the approach of death that terrifies.
The Girl: I suppose, if the unborn knew of the approach of life, they'd be just as terrified.
Henri Verdoux: I have made my peace with God, my conflict is with man.
The Girl: It's a blundering world and a very sad one, yet kindness can make it beautiful.
Henri Verdoux: Business is a ruthless business, my dear.
The Girl: Yet life is wonderful.
Henri Verdoux: What's wonderful about it?
The Girl: Everything. A spring morning, a summer's night, music, art, love...
Reporter: You'll have to admit, crime doesn't pay, does it?
Henri Verdoux: No, sir. Not in a small way.
Reporter: What do you mean?
Henri Verdoux: To be successful in anything, one must be well-organized.
Reporter: You're not leaving the world with that cynical remark?
Henri Verdoux: To be idealistic in this moment would be incongruous, don't you think?
Reporter: What's all this talk about good and evil?
Henri Verdoux: Arbitrary forces, my good fellow. Too much of either will destroy us all.
Reporter: We can never have too much good in the world.
Henri Verdoux: Trouble is, we've never had enough. We don't know.
Reporter: Listen, Verdoux, I've been your friend all through the trial. Now, give me a break, a story with a moral to it! You, the tragic example of a life of crime.
Henri Verdoux: I don't see how anyone can be an example in these criminal times.
Henri Verdoux: Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference.
[to the court, after being found guilty of murder]
Henri Verdoux: I shall see you ALL soon - very soon.
Henri Verdoux: This is a ruthless world and one must be ruthless to cope with it.
Henri Verdoux: [after almost getting drowned] Where's my hat?
The Girl: It's nice seeing you again, You'll never realise what your kindness meant to me.
Henri Verdoux: Kindness is a convenient thing at times, My dear.
Henri Verdoux: These are desperate days, my dear. Millions starving and unemployed.
Henri Verdoux: It's the approach of death that terrifies.
The Girl: I suppose if the unborn knew of the approach of life, they'd be just as terrified.
The Girl: You don't like women, do you?
Henri Verdoux: On the contrary, I love women. But I don't admire them.
The Girl: Why?
Henri Verdoux: Women are of the earth. Realistic. Dominated by physical facts.
The Girl: What nonsense!
Henri Verdoux: Once a woman betrays a man, she despises him. In spite of his goodness and position, she will give him up for someone inferior. That someone is more, shall we say, "attractive."
The Girl: How little you know about women!
Henri Verdoux: [coyly] You'd be surprised.
Henri Verdoux: [indicating her fancy, chauffeured automobile] But you and, uh, all this, uh... What happened?
The Girl: Oh, the old story: "From rags to riches." After I saw you, my luck changed. I met a munitions manufacturer.
Henri Verdoux: Ah! That's the business *I* should have been in.
The Girl: Yes. It'll be paying big dividends soon.
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.
Henri Verdoux: [the priest visits Verdoux in his jail cell, shortly before execution] Ah, Father. And what can I do for you?
Priest: Nothing, my son. I want to help you, if I can. I've come to ask you to make your peace with God.
Henri Verdoux: I *am* at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.
Priest: Have you no remorse for your sin?
Henri Verdoux: Who knows what sin is? Born as it was from God's fallen angel. Who knows the ultimate destiny it serves? After all, what would you be doing without sin?
Priest: Exactly what I'm doing now, my son: trying to help a lost soul in distress.
Priest: [clanking noises are heard] They're coming. Let me pray for you.
Henri Verdoux: As you wish. But I don't think these gentlemen want to be kept waiting.
Priest: May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Henri Verdoux: Why not? After all, it belongs to him.