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Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Charles Chaplin , Mady Correll , Charles Chaplin  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis, Audrey Betz
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Writers: Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles
  • Format: AC-3, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00017LVQY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,187 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monsieur Verdoux" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Introduction by David Robinson
  • 'Chaplin Today: Monsieur Verdoux,' Documentary by Bernard Eisenschitz Plan drawings and preparatory sketches Photo gallery, film posters, and trailers

Editorial Reviews

Charles Chaplin turns his traditionally sunny sensibilities inside out with this sublime black comedy about a family man who secretly uses murder to support his beloved invalid wife and child. There's little of the immortal Tramp in Verdoux, yet the fastidious dandy is not lacking in comic graces. Most hilarious of all are the always-foiled attempts to dispatch the raucous Annabella (Martha Raye). When this most atypical Chaplin film opened, the world was not ready to look death in the face and walk away smiling. Today, Monsieur Verdoux ranks among Chaplin's best works. It is killer comedy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Chaplin's highest achievements. May 14, 2004
By D. Mok
Format:DVD
If the willingness to take risks is the mark of a great artist -- and I believe it is -- then Monsieur Verdoux is one of Charles Chaplin's greatest films. And amidst all the controversy stirred by his portrayal of a serial wife killer, it's easy to forget that it's also a hilarious black comedy with plenty of sharp lines that would have succeeded even without its sociological message.

Chaplin's ability as an actor is pushed to a new level on this film through his portrayal of a morally ambiguous, unscrupulous ex-bank clerk who has no qualms about putting a body into an incinerator in his backyard. While much has been said about this film's break with Chaplin's Little Tramp character, careful examination reveals that Henri Verdoux is just a logical, and daring, advancement in the character: The more devilish, sometimes sadistic sides of the Little Tramp taken to their inevitable conclusion, where comic mischief crosses over the line to villainy. And it's highly compelling, the perfect foil to Chaplin's most heartwarming films (eg. City Lights and Modern Times), allowing Chaplin to express an insidiousness hitherto unexplored. Martha Raye nearly steals the show as the airheaded, supernaturally unkillable Mme. Bonheur (the name itself means "happiness"), and Marilyn Nash is winning as the Belgian derelict who inspires a spark of compassion in Verdoux. The conclusion of this character relationship is one of Chaplin's most complex writing feats: Imagine the ending of City Lights twisted into a dark, steely, uncompromising version of itself.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's Best Talkie March 3, 2001
Format:DVD
In his autobiography, Charlie Chaplin called "Monsieur Verdoux" (1947) "the cleverest and most brilliant film I have yet made." Though not without its faults, this sardonic black comedy remains his best foray into sound. Chaplin's detailed performance as the business-minded Bluebeard is a masterpiece of screen acting. However, the supporting cast ranges from excellent (Martha Raye) to amateurish (Marilyn Nash) while the final minutes get bogged down in endless talk. Chaplin later admitted that "Monsieur Verdoux" could have used a bit more pantomime and less dialogue. Still, it's a thought-provoking and hard-hitting film. Henri Verdoux and the Little Tramp have much in common.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRIUMPH June 19, 2000
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Monsieur Verdoux is Chaplin's unsung masterpiece. A very dry film, it lives in the shadow of the much broader 'The Great Dictator'. The humor is subtle (the Martha Raye scenes aside) and one has to think to get it. Example: Verdoux is tending to his rose bushes while the incinerator is finishing up one of his wives in the background. He's just murdered a woman yet he refuses to step on a little catepillar. In picking it up and moving it to safety, he becomes very squemish at touching the little creature! This character is as far away from the Little Tramp as one can get. They are the same though; both long for love however, Verdoux uses love to his 'business' advantage whereas 'Charlie' was ususally scorned by it. This is his best written talky (any viewer of the over preachy 'Limelight' would concur) while it looks technically cheap at times (a not too uncommon area of some of his later productions). Such criticism is small though and the 'speech' at the end fits well into the narrative, not to mention that with the passing of over five decades....it still makes sense. Chaplin should be commended for putting out such a daring film at a time where America didn't want to hear such things. Not for everyones tastes but still a film that should not be ignored.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin changes - can you? August 19, 2000
Format:DVD
That was the campain in the 40's, when the public didn't want to accept this film. After a few weeks of running, it was abandoned in all cinema's. The people expected a Little Tramp, instead, they got a Bigamist Lady Killer. En mass they decided to boo the film and stay away.
However, this is not what Monsieur Verdoux deserves. In every scene you see Chaplin's quick brain, keen eye and swift feet at work. Some of the love scenes are absolutely hilarious, even in this day. Martha Raye (the wife who refuses to me murdered) is a scream. The film is intended as a parody on Society prior to WWII; if you watch it with this in mind you'll be able to enjoy it tremendously.
Before Chaplin decided to make this film, he had just gone through one of the most turbulant periods in his life. His divorse with Paulette, being harrased by a neurotic former love, meeting Oona and soon to be banned from the States, accused of being a Communist had taken it toll. Chaplin fought back in the only way he knew how: by making a comedy to tackle the present cruel (at least to him) society.
This DVD quality is as good as you can get; there a no evidence of film aging. However, the text on the back of the cover is a great disappointment. I happened to read it before I watched the film (as most people do to see if the film is what they were looking for), and not only was this the dullest description of a film I ever saw, but worse, it actually managed to give away the entire film including the FINAL scene! If you decide to give this film a chance (which won't be a disappointment, garantueed), avoid reading the back of the cover at all costs.
This is a five-star film, but one star off for the cover. Shame on Image Entertainment!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An admirable effort, held back by tonal restrictions…
Story goes that Orson Welles originally planned on directing Charlie Chaplin in this film, eyeing the famed silent film star as the perfect fit for the title character. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Andrew Ellington
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Very clever film.
Published 1 month ago by franpryor
5.0 out of 5 stars The Trampled Tramp
It is the greatest film of Chaplin, one in which he does not play a character who will at once win the sympathies of his audience. Just the contrary. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Arun Khopkar
2.0 out of 5 stars Time to revise the revisionism?
I think film's finest critic is the late James Agee, because of the quality of his prose, the intensity of his intelligent searching for meaning, his mental and emotional... Read more
Published 5 months ago by dean59
4.0 out of 5 stars A Black Comedy
This is a different approach for Chaplin and is not as well known or popular as his other major movies. However, it is still funny and satirical.
Published 6 months ago by Rodamu
5.0 out of 5 stars Is murder always an unethical practice? "Monsieur Verdoux" is brave...
Chaplin's films might have been the catalyst that got me so interested in film history, and, to me, "Monsieur Verdoux" (along with his other talkie "The Great... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Leslie Karen Rigsbey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I was intrigued with this movie when I saw it on TCM. I purchased this for my son who is also a classic movie enthusiast. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ex Libre
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's artful serial killer
2013 sees the Criterion Collection release Charlie Chaplin‘s Monsieur Verodux (1947). With this film, Chaplin’s sentimental Tramp was unquestionably dead, and in its place was an... Read more
Published 10 months ago by THE BLUEMAHLER
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaplin's Masterpiece on Blu is EXCELLENT!
I belong to the group of people who think 'Monsieur Verdoux ' is Chaplin's greatest film. ('Limelight' runs a very close 2nd for me) Everything from the script and acting, to the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Marty Gillis
5.0 out of 5 stars A film that will haunt you until motion pictures are no longer made....
A Comedy Of Murders. Based on an idea by Orson Welles, for which he was paid $5,000. Wow. The opening scene presages Sunset Boulevard (released in 1950), with its “from the grave”... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Surferofromantica
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