Monsieur Verdoux
MONSIEUR VERDOUX. 1947

Director: Charles Chaplin

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Monsieur Verdoux Based on an idea by Orson Welles, & starring Charlie Chaplin as a serial killer, Monsieur Verdoux (1947) would seem inevitably to be something remarkable, with multiple genius involved.

Alas, Charlie may be the dullest Bluebeard ever to exterminate women on screen. And I'll be damned if I can spot any "idea" in it that would've required Welles' input.

The posters for the film tried to evoke "the Little Tramp" in hat & cane in a new context as psychopath, & it leads me to briefly wonder if Welle's alleged "idea" for the film was really only for the poster, & only expressed as a joke.

But turns out Welles' idea wasn't for this lame movie, but for a documentary about an actual French serial killer guillotined in 1922, Henri-Desire Landru. So let's not blame Welles too much for Monsieur Verdoux.

Apart from a satiric bent, it's sometimes hard to figure out if any of its supposed to be funny, as it isn't quite. But it's certainly has nothing of suspense.

Verdoux is a prissy Frenchy who wouldn't step on a bug, though he'd be pleased enough to seduce, rob, & kill your mother, your sister, & your maiden aunt.

Monsieur VerdouxPainfully unwatchable with only a very few visual moments of interest, the film is evidence that Chaplin really was a creature of the silent screen, & just never figured out what in hell dialogue should be like.

He's more credibly a killer than a Don Juan, as he has all the heterosexual appeal of a simpering hairdresser.

So the character doesn't sufficiently convince. There's one surprise in Verdoux's biography, with an unexpected family life revealed too late to make much of a difference.

Martha Ray gives a fine turn as one of his unfortunate wives, a loudmouth, criminally minded gal with a fortune hidden somewhere in the house. If only Verdoux can find it!

At Verdoux's trial, he delivers one of the most inane political speeches ever seen in a movie. Obviously the actor is still bitter about his own Hollywood downfall, & the film supposed to be a middle-finger at the world.

But that would've worked only if the film, including the speech, had been any good. As it stands it's just one more thing to make it a sad conclusion to a classic star's career.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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