Monsieur Verdoux - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Monsieur Verdoux Reviews

Page 2 of 12
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.
January 21, 2014
Definitely Chaplin's most controversial role, but he is excellent as always.
November 19, 2013
"One murder makes a villain; millions a hero. Numbers sanctify."--A sublime, eloquent Charlie in his finest sound-era vehicle!!
November 19, 2013
Charlot asesino en serie, inusual personaje para Chaplin
November 10, 2013
conflicted film with a sad ending. not your tramp film.
November 5, 2013
After The Great Dictator, Chaplin said he would not have lampooned Hitler if he had known the horrors occurring in Europe at the time. Seven years later, this is the film Chaplin made against the world's culpability in mass destruction. "Numbers sanctify," his serial killer explains, briefly unpacking heavy accusations against military-industrial operations as toxic to civilization. His Tramp character always survived a chaotic world, whether surrounded by the greed of a gold rush, hustle and bustle of modern times, or struggling to make ends meet for a kid. Here is the Tramp reborn, still playful and witty, but now doing very well for himself armed with murder and deceit.
October 26, 2013
Classic film, made with very modern sensibilities for 1947. Very bitter as well. It wasn't well received at the time, partly in response to what was happening in Chaplin's life at the time, and in part just due to the deeply cynical nature of the film. The movie predates the cynical/comedic films of Billy Wilder and others, whom this film reminds me of. Its commentary at the end may be a little too preachy, but a lot of what Chaplin says rings of historical truth, and is quite daring to state in a film in 1947. Another movie Verdoux reminds me of is a more recent movie, Andrew Niccol's "Lord of War;" its statements seem to echo much of the same kind of critique as Chaplin was doing in this film (and "The Great Dictator").
½ October 14, 2013
If you are a true Chaplin fan, than you will want to add this unique departure of "The Tramp" to your collection for sure. It's quite the "outsider" of his repertoire of films. A "dark" comedy inspired by fact (and he bought the idea from Orson Welles!), with a more downbeat ending (with a bit "preachy", albeit intelligent and thought provoking speech by him at the end, much in the vain of Great Dictator's final speech) But it is indeed quite a turn to see the Little Tramp in this perverse transformation...still with a little mustache, but more tailored with an "upper crust" air about him, a bit grey and dignified, well put together man, leading a double life of loving husband and "bluebeard" murderer. Controversial for its time and I dare say, even quite something today. The 1st half of the film is the strongest to me, with the dark humor a delicious mix.
October 10, 2013
Charlie Chaplin as a serial killer ?? Are you KIDDING me?? I was so pissed off by that notion i couldn't see how great this film is even after seeing it about four times. And it didn't help in my mind that there is plenty of comedy in it. And i was annoyed by the ending as well. But i saw it last night and i was amazed by the courage of Chaplin to do this and the genius of the film. Yes, it is definitely a masterpiece after all.
½ August 2, 2013
Chaplin's performance, although less physically engrossing, is pure, fervent dandyism and it's a constant thrill ride to witness it. Hilarious.
July 29, 2013
Monsieur Verdoux was, for better or worse, Charlie Chaplin's first major flop, at least in the United States. The reason for this wasn't due to the quality of the film itself being forsaken on Chaplin's part, but the political upheaval and scandal surrounding him at the time. It has grown in estimation since then, but in those days it was seen by many as an unwelcome slice of both political and personal subversion. Long gone were the days of the funny little man going on a hunt for gold in the middle of winter, or adopting a small dog and taking care of it. Nor were we ever to again see a goofy factory worker on an assembly line who falls into the machinery for visual gags. Now, with this film, we have a man with questionable morals bumping off widows for their money one by one. He does it for his wife and child, of course, but you also get the sense that he takes a bit of pleasure in it too. Not that he celebrates it or holds it in high regard, but he never seems phased by the act. It's just, as he says in the film, "business." Debate surrounds the film and pervades its very atmosphere, but when all is said and done, it's still a fantastic film. It constantly delivers with the dark comedy, but it also delivers heavily in both the philosophy and the moral ambiguity.
June 13, 2013
Amusing? Yes. Comedy? Perhaps not . . . or if it is, one of the darkest I've ever seen. Granted, this film still lives up to the prestige attached to the Chaplin name, but when you examine its place in the timeline of his movies, you start to see that from "Modern Times" onward, he became much more outspoken about society . . . and much more cynical about it.
May 31, 2013
Another excellent Charlie Chaplin movie, filled with dark, cynical wit and humor. This is a speaking movie, which are way different from his silent films. I enjoy both styles, and it's impressive that he could transition from one to the other.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2013
Except for one touching moment and a hilarious poisoning scene, this uneven "comedy of murders" is of extreme bad taste and has a serious problem in structure and tone - placing a putrid character in such a sloppy attempt at a commentary.
½ January 25, 2013
New hat. new coat, new pants, new shoes, new laughs, but the same great Charles Chaplin!
December 7, 2012
May watch...
August 1, 2012
"Monsieur Verdoux" es una película extraña dentro de la filmografía de Chaplin. Lo primero que viene a tu mente es que se debe a su oscuridad. Sin embargo esta no viene, como podría parecer a priori, de su humor negro. Aunque este le otorga una leve carga amarga, lo que impone y choca viene de la filosofía desesperada que yace en su interior. El pesimismo y la resignación ante la injusticia de un mundo en el que el individuo paga y los estados triunfan. Una idea valiente por derecho propio y por cómo la plasmó Chaplin en una película que se convertiría en un escándalo en su época. La sociedad no estaba preparada para el tono amoral de una cinta en la que un asesino no se arrepiente de sus crímenes porque considera que la sociedad no le ha dejado más salida. Hoy día parece increíble que Chaplin se atreviera a filmar una historia tan perversa que no era más que el reflejo de un estado de ánimo y de una crisis social y económica que vale para cualquier época. Por eso, hoy también, "Monsieur Verdoux" está de plena actualidad.

Las ideas siniestras no tienen por qué ser siempre las mejores, pero cuando van a contracorriente, cuando surgen de la necesidad del artista por expresarse y romper, son las que perduran. Chaplin se atrevió con esta película, como había hecho en toda su carrera, con unas ideas que reflejaban sus sentimientos y el pulso social. No ofrecían esperanza. ¿Puede haberla acaso? Un genio sin dios ni amo.
July 13, 2012
Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin, 1947)

Monsieur Verdoux, which sprang from a falling-out Chaplin had with Orson Welles (more on that in a few), was Chaplin's favorite of his films. It was his first in seven years, the longest period to date between Chaplin films (and the second-longest ever), it landed him one of his surprisingly few Oscar nominations (for Best Original Screenplay; he lost to Sidney Sheldon, of all people, for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, and the three other films nominated that year you've never even heard of), etc. For all that, it was a monumental flop at the box office, the post-WW2 equivalent of Heaven's Gate. Like that film, Monsieur Verdoux is a good deal better than you may have heard it is. On the other hand, don't go into it expecting another Modern Times, or for that matter another Heaven's Gate (a movie every critic outside the US finally seems to have given its due as one of the great American movies).

The plot of the film is based loosely on the life of Henri Désiré Landru, the Bluebeard Killer (the first of, to date, four movies based on Landru's life), who started off scamming wealthy widows he met through the lonelyhearts pages, then progressed to marrying them, getting their wills changed, and bumping them off. Before his four-year spree ended, Landru had killed eleven widows. As we open, Henri Verdoux (Chaplin), a banker who'd been laid off from his job thanks to the economic crash, has just killed one of his victims, tossed her body in the incinerator, and then gone back to happily trimming his rose bushes, avoiding stepping on a caterpillar on the way back to the house. A lovely man indeed. Once her fortune is collected (and subsequently invested; Verdoux plans to support his legitimate family through the stock market), Verdoux puts the house on the market, and we see how he interacts with other human beings. (He's not as nice to them as he is to caterpillars.) The movie is concerned with Verdoux's cycle of marrying-and-murdering, naturally, and he gets himself hitched to some real shrews for comic relief, but the real meat of the story comes when Verdoux meets the nameless woman (as so many of his female leads are) known in the credits only as The Girl (Marilyn Nash, in one of only two of her big-screen roles, the other in a forgettable sci-fi film), whom he lures back to his Paris apartment in order to experiment with a new poison he's concocting, only to let her go. (This becomes important later, for reasons that are spoilerific, but lead to a great deal of the movie's comedy.)

It's not a bad film by any means, and if you're a Chaplin fan you'll enjoy it a great deal simply because it's Chaplin (and, according to Robert Lewis, the Chaplin film over which he had the most control: he not only directed, starred, produced, casted, and composed, but supervised every other aspect, from costume design to "crawl[ing] around on the floor with a knfe, scraping up bits of old chewing gum stuck to the floor"). But the story behind the Welles/Chaplin rivalry that birthed the film in its present form is in many ways more interesting than the movie itself. Welles originally wrote the script and approached Chaplin with it; Welles was to direct, Chaplin to star. Now remember, this was still the forties, when everything Orson Welles touched turned to gold; he'd just come off Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, and what Orson wanted, Orson got. Except Chaplin, that is. After reconsidering, Chaplin is reported to have told Welles that "no one else has ever directed me, and I'm not going to change that now". We do know that Chaplin bought the script from Welles (who would later say he parted with it because it was "one of my minor works", which may well have been sour grapes) for five thousand bucks, rewrote some of it, and made it into Monsieur Verdoux. How different would this movie have been had Welles directed it? There's no way we can ever get an answer to that question, of course, but Welles was capable of getting such greatness out of even our most iconic actors (Charlton Heston in Touch of Evil, Edward G. Robinson in The Stranger, and Anthony Perkins in The Trial are only three obvious examples) that one can only salivate while imagining what he would have done with someone as brilliant as Chaplin.

As with most black comedies, note that some of the laughs are bound to sound more like uncomfortable chuckles, especially in the first half; the second is more reminiscent of the little tramp and his slapstick days (the chase scene in the dance-hall could have been filmed in 1920, save the sound). But in the end, it's still Charlie Chaplin, and you'll still like it. ***
July 5, 2012
Perhaps the most underrated of the Chaplin films, Monsieur Verdoux is a strikingly dark comedy with a nice anti-war sentiment about it. Skillfully made, Chaplin proves his directorial talent as well as acting ability. This film skillfully blends slapstick and verbal comedy with a political aim towards the end, making this rather sentimental at times. It's one of those rare comedies that gets right down to the meat of the matter and touches us right at the soul, and that is a rare feat indeed.
Page 2 of 12