Didn't like it when I saw it. Maybe I was expecting to enjoy it, so my goals and the film's were misaligned before I even sat down. It just seem so on the nose, particularly the closing speech to the camera, that it seemed flat to me. I'm not a huge Chaplin person anyways, so that might be part of it. With more sensitivity now to the ways it was commenting on the context, I would probably get more out of it. Eh.
Nothing anyone could write about Monsieur Verdoux, could possibly stack up to what André Bazin wrote, so I'm not even gonna try. Let's just say that after Chaplin's Great Dictator humanist speech fell on deaf ears, and the horrors of World War II were laid bare, Charlie couldn't do anything but transform the Tramp into a reflexion of this awful world; hypocrite, unscrupulous, and apologetic of murder.
When I first saw ARSENIC AND OLD LACE as a kid, I was aware, though not sophisticated, that the considerable pleasure afforded was of a highly perverse nature. Chaplin channels this exact thing as Verdoux, seducer-killer. The terms "sex act" or "act of murder" inidicate an event situated in time, but they also evoke playacting. The space of tension "before the act" becomes for Chaplin a theatre of moral calculus.
What an amazing film and by far my favourite from the ones I have seen from Chaplin. It has also a terrible yet real message. It's easier to convict a killer which murdered someone, but sadly we don't judge gun manufacturers with the same standards, or even banks which can take away everything you've known in a blink of an eye.
Verdoux' character is a moral riddle. He is fulll of contradictions - a remorseless serial killer with a kind heart, funny, likeable, in front of the guillotine a real philosopher. How could he exploit and kill? I see this 1947 film as a parable for the credibility breakdown of the "handrails" for life (Arendt) after Fascism and the Shoah, where people have made careers from the war without being hold accountable.
First time watching a non silent Chaplin film and I have to say I am completely impressed. What a pessimistic, sad and dark film, I still can't believe it's from the 1940s. And after watching this I still can't believe Welles did not think Chaplin was a good director.
This has got to be Chaplin's best work. Chaplin's character is as old as the Tramp, so there's no way his character could be created for one single film. The story is told vividly but with economy.The pace is expert level. The rhythm in the camera, actors' movement and dialog all gel so well. Playing it on a big screen back and forth reveals Chaplin's full arsenal as an all-round filmmaker more apparently.
Jack is Von Trier's Verdoux, both attempting to justify evil actions in the world from their charmed and rationalising perspective; only one of their creators is critical of such posturing. That makes the film seem straightforward when it's actually conflicted - by virtue of it being Chaplin we sense a great deal of fun is being had. By virtue of it being Chaplin it hits every devious emotional beat.
If Chaplin would've continued his quest for dark humor and perfected this persona like he did with the tramp, it would've been great. This is the kind of movie that could really use a remake to pump up the black comedy, to really combine slapstick with murder, something that wasn't truly possible at that time because of the censorship...
At first, M. Verdoux can seem like a stunt, or a piece of performance art: a beloved comic icon making a film that looks and sounds like comedy but is too dark, bitter, and uncomfortable for laughter. Then the writing reveals a film about the trauma of the mid-20th century whose balance of cynicism and naivety may be the most nuanced and sophisticated thing Chaplin ever did. And he threw in some real laughs too.