Thursday, December 2, 2010
Charlie Chaplin in 'Monsieur Verdoux'
Monsieur Verdoux is a 1947 black comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin.
The film is about an unemployed banker, Henri Verdoux, and his sociopathic methods of attaining income. While being both loyal and competent in his work, Verdoux has been laid-off. To make money for his wife and child, he marries wealthy widows and then murders them. His crime spree eventually works against him when two particular widows break his normal routine. The film ends as Verdoux is being led to the guillotine in the prison courtyard after dismissing his killing of a few as no worse than the highly-praised killing of large numbers in war.
The script for this film, the idea for it given by Orson Welles, was inspired by the case of serial killer Henri Désiré Landru. Welles sought to direct the film with Chaplin as star, but Chaplin backed out at the last minute, on the grounds that he'd never been directed in a full length film before and wasn't willing to start. Instead, Chaplin bought the script from Welles and rewrote parts of it, crediting Welles only with the idea. The lead character kills to make money, hence he is not (in his eyes) a murderer.
Another story suggests that although the script had yet to be written, Welles wanted Chaplin to play the lead role. Chaplin, deciding that he didn't want to have to write the script with Welles, opted out, saying in effect "If it isn't written yet, I'm not interested." After seeing the film, Welles insisted on receiving a screen credit for the story idea.
Thanks again, Francesco