Monsieur Verdoux - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Monsieur Verdoux Reviews

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July 26, 2016
It feels more like a Hitchcock movie than a Chaplin one. This one is pretty short on laughs.

Chaplin plays the titular Verdoux, a serial killer married to about a dozen different women across France. Chaplin's performance is wonderful. He's charming, witty, and has a gift for gab. Interesting for one of the best silent comedians ever to be a gifted talker, yes? Chaplin's performance is one of the few bright spots.

The film bills itself as a comedy of murders, but there's very little comedy. There are a few attempts, yes. One or two gags land, but this feels more like a thriller than anything else. There are definitely a few scenes that would be right at home in a Hitchcock movie. As a matter of fact, Chaplin's tension building in this one rivals the master of suspense himself.

The film gets a little preachy towards the end. Verdoux's social commentary feels very tacked on and forced. It has nowhere near the power his amazing speech in the Great Dictator did.

Still, it is entertaining, if only to watch a man known for making us laugh transition so effortlessly into one who shocks us with his horrifying deeds.
½ May 16, 2016
It tries to be a dark comedy of murdering the unmurderable. But it's too slow to build up to hijinks and not over the top enough when hijinks ensue to come across as anything but glorifying a killer. I understand Chaplin was trying to make a statement at the end, but it didn't pay off the same as his previous work.
½ April 1, 2016
A surprising film for several reasons. Chaplin in a speaking role is one. It's not much of a comedy, a bit, but not much. He is probably one of the least likely actors to play a serial bigomist and murderer. On top of all these elements, it's a good story with a typically moralistic message.
½ February 17, 2016
Probably my least favourite Chaplin film. By no means a bad film, but I don't find it to be particularly funny, leaving me wondering what the point is. It all leads to a startlingly dumb concluding speech from the main character, leaving me to conclude it wasn't really about all that much after all.
½ October 26, 2015
I don't understand the acclaim for this film. As much as I love both black comedies and Chaplin, the film felt like a dull slog with an even duller ending.
October 21, 2015
Fascinating film.

Funny, wry, philosophical, paradoxical, compelling, cynical, satirical.

The serial killer story is tempered by the creative force behind the film of course, and by the fact that - for the most part - this IS a very black comedy. But it's not ludicrous or OTT slapstick ENOUGH to temper feelings of discomfort and confusion about the fact that our charming protagonist (our once cuddly Little Tramp) is actually a mass murderer. But so what? Chaplin obviously WANTED to engender some discomfort and confusion with this film, and the poignant, thoughtful dramatic aspects herein (and there are many) align the individual's exploitation of a few women with the exploitation of the many by the world's powerful few. More unsubtle (but also lovely) digs about the world's lust for salacious headlines about individual personalities above really caring about the mass tragedies next door.

I'm making this film sound heavy, but it's not. There's several superbly staged vignettes, and a couple of great slapstick bits worthy of The Little Tramp himself. There's some clever wordplay too, but for the most part the joy in this flick comes from the performances - Chaplin casts some brilliant (relative) unknowns into some awesome roles. Nash, Raye, Hoffman - are all very rewatchable. Best of all is of course the man himself. Chaplin - fussy, fastidious, effusive, eloquent, calculating, captivating - gives a fantastically assured performance that (as much as I adore The Tramp) makes me wish that he'd released a few more talkies.

He's just great.
August 30, 2015
As with any piece by Charlie Chaplin, Monsieur Verdoux sounded like a hopeful piece of slapstick cinema.

Defying my expectations, Monsieur Verdoux is a more narrative and character-driven film than conventional slapstick comedy. It does this instead of adhering to conventional slapstick, and it is the first feature film where Charlie Chaplin has no resemblance to his "tramp". The result is rather strange, an experience in lighthearted dark comedy where Charlie Chaplin spends more time talking than walking. The screenplay is built upon strange subject matter and a tone which is very strange, tying the humour of the film into a narrative which seems rather dramatic. There are brief bursts of drama along the way, and they serve as moments where the screenplay decides to be a political statement and Charlie Chaplin's criticism of the contemporary narrative society. As insightful as they are, they seem to come out of nowhere and feel misplaced within the narrative. In essence, Monsieur Verdoux does not have much of a story as there are so many different themes and characters being jammed into the one story that it ends up unfolding like a series of vignettes which are only strung together very loosely. The narrative structure is frustrating as the film cuts from one scene to another with the same basic ellipsis nearly every time. There is almost always the same footage of moving train wheels and the same basic soundbite which is a rather cheap transition. The film keeps on going at this and introducing all new characters until it finally reaches its climactic end, and the final note seems all too sudden as a result. There is no resolution to plot points regarding many characters in the film, it just focuses on pushing the main character forward and leaving everyone else behind. This is obviously not the best manner of storytelling, so it leaves me concluding that Monsieur Verdoux was ultimately an experimental film on behalf of Charlie Chaplin which evoked mixed results.
Since the entire film is such a constant series of shifts in mood and subject matter, the genuine development of it all does not feel real. Monsieur Verdoux spends time building up the characters before it introduces Charlie Chaplin's character, but the relevance of these characters ends up being minimal as so many more are just thrown at the viewer as the story keeps going. It is never overwhelming, but that's simply because there is not a feeling that the anything aside from the protagonist of the story is worth keeping up with.
Though Monsieur Verdoux is a comedy of sorts, I can't necessarily say that I laughed all that much. Clearly a film of its time, Monsiuer Verdoux is clearly a dark comedy which pushes the boundaries on what audiences can expect to find humour in, but by today's standards the material is fairly tame. And when I say tame, I mean to the point that the material leaves me wondering if I should be laughing or viewing it all as drama. Either way, the battle of time has left the genre of Monsieur Verdoux somewhat ambiguous.Because of that, looking beneath the surface is a lot easier and so trying to find something that sufficiently carries over to the modern day and still stands up so well is challenging. The one thing that is genuinely still interesting about the film is the strange nature of the titular character. The success of this is largely built on the performance of Charlie Chaplin, but Monsieur Verdoux himself is quite an oddball. He is such an unsuspecting serial killer, finding no slight problem in his actions that he cannot justify some way. Although the loose structure of the story puts him into a series of strange situations, the perspective on him which we are provided from witnessing it all can prove intriguing because the film centers around so many facets of him. His perspective on life, his relationships with the other characters and even his genuinely charming facade which hides his nature as a serial killer makes him a character packed with potential. And from there, what Charlie Chaplin is able to do with the character really makes the feature memorable.
Charlie Chaplin's leading performance is the saviour of Monsieur Verdoux. I'm not certain what message he was trying to deliver as writer of Monsier Verdoux, but as director and actor he seems bent on promoting the idea that murder can be funny in the right context. His approach to the subject matter is so ridiculously light that it can prove strange, for better and for worse. But he justifies this with his role as the protagonist because he really brings the character to life. Portraying the titular Monsieur Verdoux, Charlie Chaplin packs the character with so much instinctive charm that he buries the idea of being a serial killer very far beneath the surface. Yet he has a slight touch of a suspicious nature about him, effectively making him more than a one-dimensional romanticized archetype. It is clearly an innovative role for him as it bears no resemblance to the iconic tramp he has played in his more notable works, resting an equal amount of importance on what he has to say as to what he has to actually do. As a result, he is effectively able to stir up sympathy and charm in the part of a serial killer which ties into the lighthearted mood of the film all very well. Charlie Chaplin has to act like never before in Monsieur Verdoux as his character is not buried beneath theatrics and technical production aspects, and it proves to be an unforgettably convincing role for the comedic legend.

So Monsieur Verdoux is an odd blend of black comedy and social commentary with a poorly structured plot that is overpacked with subplots and characters yet short on genuine laughs, yet the charms of Charlie Chaplin's acting charisma carry the titular character through all the material with consistency and compelling appeal.
March 15, 2015
I rated Monsieur Verdoux (1947) 9/10 #IMDb "One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify"
March 6, 2015
Interesting but tedious. Everything was focused on Chaplin, and this egocentric approach was distracting, almost as much as the music during the repetitive train wheels shot.
February 17, 2015
Wow, just watched this for the first time, someone posted this was a 1947 flop? Unbelievable, just a well crafted dark comedy, right up there with the 1955 movie The Ladykillers, the 1944 Arsenic and old Lace Chaplin at his best.
February 3, 2015
This may be the blackest dark comedy I've ever seen. Chaplin only did a few talkies, but this one remains the one with the most social commentary with its dark hearted murder scenes and sociopath charms. Monsieur Verdoux is a man who marries single rich women, gets them take out their money, and makes them disappear. His crimes catch up to him, but all in a very standard and non-comedic way. In fact, the stand out scene has no laughs, but involves a down on her luck woman and some very dark intent. Despite having many themes, the movie gets very heavy handed in spots and the film's comedy suffers for it. It does have its moments, but unfocused Chaplin is still pretty good.
January 20, 2015
Charlot asesino en serie, inusual personaje para Chaplin.
January 9, 2015
Chaplin was amazing. I am by no means an aficionado of film, but this was wonderful. I can see how others have borrowed from this performance. David Suchet's Poirot for instances. I even saw flashes to Clouseau. It's clear that this genius has influenced countless others. I intend to watch it again and again..
August 22, 2014
Must see movie, a strange revelation.
August 3, 2014
Se com Carlitos, Chaplin já mesclava as risadas genuínas com a desgraça da miséria social, em "Monsieur Verdoux" o mestre mergulha de vez em uma comédia habilidosa que tenta lidar como pode com os duros efeitos de uma sociedade falida e autodestrutiva.
Para tanto, Chaplin usufrui de um protagonista bastante complexo, que, apesar de sua atitude inescrupulosa como golpista e assassino, é em essência uma vítima dramática de uma mundo assolado pela Depressão econômica e pela ascensão do totalitarismo. Em verdade, Verdoux é um tipo particularmente trágico, uma vez que, concomitante ao seu cinismo e soberba, ele possui consciência de que se transformou em um ser desesperado por sobrevivência e estabilidade (diga-se de passagem, não só para si próprio como também para aqueles que mais ama) - e o rumo escolhido para sua subsistência só lhe trará uma gradativa corrupção de seus valores e atitudes.
Assim, Chaplin apresenta um mundo inóspito e nem um pouco idealizado, que promete apenas a incerteza e a instabilidade para seus personagens. Mas se, por um lado, o cineasta atesta tamanho pessimismo e angústia, por outro, Chaplin, como de costume, não abandona a beleza que o amor e a comédia ainda proporcionam à nossa vã existência, e é por isso que as risadas espontâneas ainda ocupam especial espaço em sua tela - ainda que desta vez sejam mais maliciosas e breves.
June 2, 2014
Even today, Monsieur Verdoux is a striking black comedy. The tragicomic saga of a "normal", likable, serial killer, whose elegant, mild mannered facet of murderous violence is belittled by violence of time and masses. Underrated classic.
May 12, 2014
Charlie Chaplain continues to amaze me and deliver fantastic film after fantastic film. He slips from silent clown to murderous gentle man in this "comedy of murders." Made at a time when Chaplain was on the verge of exile from the U.S., the movie is both a shocking change of Chaplain's screen persona and sharp indictment on the measure of war and murder.
April 16, 2014
A clever but somewhat frustrating crime comedy from Charlie Chaplin in his senior years.

This film had a lot going for it but initially you are confused at what is going on. Simply the story of a family man who loses his job & makes a profession killing women & taking their inheritances.

Chaplin plays the serial killer well with a simple charming way of being. The last quarter of the film is a strong comment on society. A unique but by no means his best.
½ April 14, 2014
Chaplin was able to perform any character he wanted.
April 5, 2014
If you go through life having never seen this, you might've messed up somewhere along the line.
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