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Monsieur Verdoux (Criterion Collection)

4.4 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Charlie Chaplin plays shockingly against type in his most controversial film, a brilliant and bleak black comedy about money, marriage, and murder. Chaplin is a twentieth-century Bluebeard, an enigmatic family man who goes to extreme lengths to support his wife and child, attempting to bump off a series of wealthy widows (including one played by the indefatigable Martha Raye, in a hilarious performance). This deeply philosophical and wildly entertaining film is a work of true sophistication, both for the moral questions it dares to ask and the way it deconstructs its megastar’s loveable on-screen persona.

Special Features

  • New 2K digital restoration
  • Chaplin Today: “Monsieur Verdoux,” a 2003 program on the film’s production and release, featuring filmmaker Claude Chabrol and actor Norman Lloyd
  • Charlie Chaplin and the American Press, a new documentary featuring Chaplin specialist Kate Guyonvarch and author Charles Maland
  • New video essay featuring an audio interview with actress Marilyn Nash
  • Radio advertisements and trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and reprinted pieces by Chaplin and critic André Bazin

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Charlie Chaplin
    • Directors: Charlie Chaplin
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
    • Run Time: 124 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00AQ6J56S
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,567 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    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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    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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    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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    Format: Blu-ray
    He is an icon.

    Charlie Chaplin, the British comedian known for winning legions of fans through his character, "The Tramp" and one of the most important figures in cinema history.

    While Charlie Chaplin will forever be a legend known for wonderful film such as "City Lights", "The Gold Rush", "Modern Times" and "The Great Dictator" to name a few. His life reads like a rags-to-riches story as a child born into poverty and hardship and would become a performer at a young age and eventually become scouted by the film industry and making his first appearance in film in 1914 for Keystone Studios.

    The actor would eventually move on to do work for studios such as Essanay, Mutual and First National corporations and would become one of the most successful men in the world by 1918. And in 1919, in order to gain complete control of his films, Chaplin along with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith would create the American film studio known as United Artist.

    And as Charlie Chaplin would survive the transition from silent to talkie in the 1930′s. It's the 1940′s that would prove to be detrimental for Charlie Chaplin. It began with an actress named Joan Barry accusing Chaplin that she was pregnant with his baby. Because Chaplin has had several divorces, media portrayed him as a womanizer.

    While working on his latest film "Monsieur Verdoux", because he would not renounce his British citizenship and was speaking favorably to open a Second Front to help the Soviets and support Soviet-American friendship groups. Because he socialized with Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht and also attended functions of Soviet diplomats in the U.S., he was accused of being communist and branded a threat to national security.
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