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Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

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A excellent dark comedy by Charles Chaplin cast against type.  I can't say enough about the brilliance of Chaplin.  Chaplin plays a laid off bank teller who decides to marry and bump off rich widows to support his wheelchair bound wife and son.  One of the highlights of the film is Martha Raye who played one of his wives.  I'm not going too deep into the plot and characters since the film is well known.

The cinematography and music scoring is excellent here.  Cinematography by Roland Totheroh and Curt Courant.  Music and direction by Charles Chaplin.  A anecdote about that directing.  As I'm sure most of you are aware,  Chaplin bought the rights to the script from Orson Welles. Welles had approached Chaplin originally about directing Chaplin in the film.  Chaplin balked at that idea and instead bought the script. Welles claimed that it would have been a better film if he directed, citing that Chaplin is merely competent as a director.  That comment gives me another opportunity to say again that Welles is probably the most overrated director ever.  Chaplin is EXACTLY the man to direct Chaplin.  Fancy camera angles and lighting shouldn't always be the star.  Chaplin is a BRILLIANT director.   A perfectionist in his own right.

Chaplin did a wonderful job here.  This film is another solid 10 from Chaplin...


Image result for MONSIEUR VERDOUX


Image result for MONSIEUR VERDOUX


Image result for MONSIEUR VERDOUX




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Saw it at my repertoire theater in Manhattan. Found it merely passable. Moderately entertaining at best. Glad you enjoy it as much as you do but I left the building feeling utterly apathetic towards it.

I remember there was practically only one comedic scene in the whole film; the rest seemed predictable and even a bit stilted. No liveliness or 'abrupt bouts of frenzy' in this Chaplin plot as we usually thrill to from him.

In this lone case, I think Welles' style would have worked better. The story is so staid, it cried out for more visual intrigue.

Welles' withering remark towards Chaplin is off-base but not for the simple reason Welles is implying. They clearly just have different strengths and skills in direction. Welles should have re-stated his expression of disdain.

Welles though, is hardly over-rated. No man who did what he did for his first film--the lightning-fast mastery of all things cinematic, starting from utter scratch in the industry--can be called a paper tiger. Remember 95% of his films were butchered; he himself puts his seal on only a small portion of his work which reached screens.

'Verdoux' does have one moment which made me leap out of my seat in amazement, but for purely personal reasons. Some factoid displayed on screen coincidentally mirrored something from my own life.

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