Monsieur Verdoux Review

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A little Frenchman murders his way through various wives for purely 'business' reasons.


Chaplin's last film with real greatness was too tart and cynical for its time, while a few of its sanctimonious speeches on the politics of war so enraged McCarthyites that a successful boycott cut short the film's theatrical release.

A "comedy of murders" based on an idea by Orson Welles, it's the tale of a once honest bank clerk turned lady killer. Dry little Henri Verdoux is a professional Bluebeard devoted to the crippled wife and lisping son he has stashed in the country, but also very businesslike as he briskly crisscrosses France courting, wedding and bumping off moneyed women. It's dark and clever rather than funny ha-ha although there are some splendidly choreographed gags, notably involving brassy lottery winner Martha Raye's repeated failures to die

Chaplin's most fully-conceived talkie.