For Reel

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
July 1, 2016, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Charles Chaplin
5 Stars
Monsieur VerdouxThe transition that happens from The Great Dictator to Monsieur Verdoux doesn’t only reflect on the state of the man who had now found himself a public enemy, but a bleakness inherent to a culture in recovery from war. In the previous film’s final moments, Charlie Chaplin delivers one of the great humanist speeches, decrying a world that is in danger of being succumbed by hate. Similarly, Monsieur Verdoux involves a handful of speeches wherein Chaplin espouses his philosophy, but in this case it is the reflection of years of absolute moral confusion:“Numbers sanctify, my good fellow!” It is among the most damning criticisms of culture committed to the screen—if The Great Dictator‘s plea was urgent but also hopeful, in Monsieur Verdoux the battle has been lost. But what is so interesting about Monsieur Verdoux is not just how confrontational it is, but how much of a piece it is with Chaplin’s career. As with the little tramp, Verdoux is a man characterized as incredibly adaptable—this is the story of a man doing what it takes to survive, only whereas the tramp might find an innocent way of coming across a meal, Verdoux’s perversion of what it means to make a living is a direct reflection of the human savagery that is paramount to his cultural context.

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