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Monsieur Verdoux

62 customer reviews

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Monsieur Verdoux + Modern Times (The Criterion Collection) + The Great Dictator (The Criterion Collection)
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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.


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

Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis, Audrey Betz
  • Directors: Charles Chaplin
  • Writers: Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles
  • Producers: Charles Chaplin
  • 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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00017LVQY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,862 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Monsieur Verdoux" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By D. Mok on May 14, 2004
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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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on 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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2000
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 By Danny R. Proctor on April 22, 2006
Format: DVD
When Chaplin set about to tell the tale of MONSIEUR VERDOUX, he wanted an actress for the role of the indestructible Annabella who could hold her own in the comedy department. He looked no further than stage/radio/movie star Martha Raye, who was known for her improvisational skills and was fearless when it came to comedy. Raye considered this the high point of her career, to have been chosen by the man she considered The Master as a co-star. Without exception, critics hail the rowboat scene when Verdoux is trying vainly to murder the obnoxious Annabella as the highlight of the film. Given the right director, Raye was matchless in comedy and also proved to be a capable dramatic actress in a precious few roles (Jumbo, The Gossip Columnist). Watch this film, if only to appreciate the comedy genius of Martha Raye. Oh, Chaplin ain't bad either.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Burns on 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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