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Monsieur Verdoux [Import USA Zone 1]
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Description du produit
A suave yet cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some unforseen occupational hazards...
Avec cette "comedy of murders", Chaplin rompt définitivement avec l'éternel personnage de vagabond qui lui a apporté célébrité et fortune. Parti d'une idée originale d'Orson Welles, il réussit une comédie librement inspirée de la vie de Landru, célèbre Barbe bleue moderne. Monsieur Verdoux retrace le parcours d'un père et époux modèle qui séduit puis assassine des femmes pour leur argent. L'histoire est une allégorie dérangeante qui renvoie dos à dos les actes horribles d'un individu, et ceux d'une société toute entière. Verdoux est le produit de son époque, il symbolise les troubles provoqués par les grandes crises. Dans son esprit, ses actes sont justifiés ; si la guerre est la continuation logique de la diplomatie, alors le meurtre est la continuation logique des affaires. Cette remise en question de la vision traditionnelle de la guerre, généralement perçue comme valeureuse et utile, heurte le public américain qui, à cette époque, célèbre encore la victoire dans la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Alors qu'aujourd'hui on apprécie l'audace de Chaplin, le film est loin de faire l'unanimité à sa sortie, et marque un sérieux coup d'arrêt dans la carrière de l'artiste. Monsieur Verdoux essuie un lourd échec commercial aux États-Unis, avant de triompher en Europe, et surtout en France. --Christophe Gagnot --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.Voir l'ensemble des Descriptions du produit
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A better man would have used the film as a launching pad for actors younger, poorer, and less well-established than himself. Chaplin, who also wrote and directed it, sees it as another opportunity to strut his talents. No other actor was given a major role. Even the pretty young woman (Marilyn Nash) who has the second most important role merely exists to inflate our opinion of M. Verdoux. We are supposed to be impressed that, intending to kill her to test a new poison, he takes pity and lets her live. Chaplin is that self-obsessed.
In a city park, I once had to tell a man throwing knives at a tree just a few feet from a busy walkway that he had to stop. He defended his actions by talking about all those who die in highway accidents each year. I told the deluded twit that he was talking nonsense, that there was no relationship between the danger that one of his knives would bounce off a tree, hitting an child's eye and far away car crashes. In this film, Chaplin, scriptwriter and actor, is equally deluded.Lire la suite ›
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Chaplin's ability as an actor is pushed to a new level on this film through his portrayal of a morally ambiguous, unscrupulous ex-bank clerk who has no qualms about putting a body into an incinerator in his backyard. While much has been said about this film's break with Chaplin's Little Tramp character, careful examination reveals that Henri Verdoux is just a logical, and daring, advancement in the character: The more devilish, sometimes sadistic sides of the Little Tramp taken to their inevitable conclusion, where comic mischief crosses over the line to villainy. And it's highly compelling, the perfect foil to Chaplin's most heartwarming films (eg. City Lights and Modern Times), allowing Chaplin to express an insidiousness hitherto unexplored. Martha Raye nearly steals the show as the airheaded, supernaturally unkillable Mme. Bonheur (the name itself means "happiness"), and Marilyn Nash is winning as the Belgian derelict who inspires a spark of compassion in Verdoux. The conclusion of this character relationship is one of Chaplin's most complex writing feats: Imagine the ending of City Lights twisted into a dark, steely, uncompromising version of itself.
There are certain moments when the film does threaten to fall into self-involvement -- in his later years, Chaplin did let his ego take ahold of his work -- but in the case of Monsieur Verdoux, he uses this larger-than-life persona so well, and it fits the character so snugly, that the ego becomes an advantage and adds to the depth of the character. And the script has none of the self-conscious mix of silent film and talkies that plagued The Great Dictator; Chaplin had grown quite well into dialogue writing, allowing him to formulate moments of murderous irony that are cuttingly funny. ("Don't pull the cat's tail...") I have no problems with the ending speeches in this film as I did with the final speech of The Great Dictator: In the context of this story, they fit in quite well. Verdoux at the end is a man who has given up all hope, and he seems to mock his own fate and character while unmercifully unveiling his anger at the world. The speeches are not meant to be taken for face value, and I find them thought-provoking and fascinating rather than moralistic or self-important.
I first saw this film at Symphony Space in New York City and the audience was laughing so hard it was in tears. With modern audiences generally less inclined to judge a film by its "moral standing" (Kill Bill, anyone?), Monsieur Verdoux can be seen for what it is: A hilarious, complex sociological examination which identifies social ills while at the same time taking part in it. In that, it is unique in the Chaplin canon and deserves to rank among his most important films.
A quick note about this DVD edition: For some reason, the bonus materials for this film are far less numerous than on the other DVDs in this series -- hence the single-disc package and lower price. By the standards of this series of reissues, the DVD materials are really quite scant -- a useful yet brief half-hour documentary featuring good insight from director Claude Chabrol, a trailer, some storyboards. The picture and sound are of good quality, however, and the film is one to own. Highly recommended.
However, this is not what Monsieur Verdoux deserves. In every scene you see Chaplin's quick brain, keen eye and swift feet at work. Some of the love scenes are absolutely hilarious, even in this day. Martha Raye (the wife who refuses to me murdered) is a scream. The film is intended as a parody on Society prior to WWII; if you watch it with this in mind you'll be able to enjoy it tremendously.
Before Chaplin decided to make this film, he had just gone through one of the most turbulant periods in his life. His divorse with Paulette, being harrased by a neurotic former love, meeting Oona and soon to be banned from the States, accused of being a Communist had taken it toll. Chaplin fought back in the only way he knew how: by making a comedy to tackle the present cruel (at least to him) society.
This DVD quality is as good as you can get; there a no evidence of film aging. However, the text on the back of the cover is a great disappointment. I happened to read it before I watched the film (as most people do to see if the film is what they were looking for), and not only was this the dullest description of a film I ever saw, but worse, it actually managed to give away the entire film including the FINAL scene! If you decide to give this film a chance (which won't be a disappointment, garantueed), avoid reading the back of the cover at all costs.
This is a five-star film, but one star off for the cover. Shame on Image Entertainment!