Charlie Chaplin (1951)

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XXXI "Monsieur Verdoux" "Monsieur Verdoux" is the most controver- sial and, financially, the least successful of Chaplin's films. Suggested by the career of Landru, the French Blue- beard, it was based on an idea by Orson Welles. Chaplin worked two years on the script alone. The first title, "Lady Killer," was abandoned. Production was delayed until June 1946. Then the film was shot in the record time—for Chaplin—of twelve weeks. Despite its more than fifty sets, its several established and high-salaried actors, and increased general costs, it is unlikely that its production outlay reached the advertised two million dol- lars. In "Verdoux" Chaplin finally and completely abandons his famous tramp, of whom there had been some surviv- ing traces in "The Great Dictator." Verdoux's make-up and character are entirely different. Gone are the baggy trousers and the famous mustache. Outwardly Verdoux is a dapper, middle-class bank clerk, fashionably attired and sporting a little French mustache. And the character is no pathetic, blundering underdog now, but a cynical modern businessman whose line happens to be murder for profit. The picture is intended to be, not so much a comedy about a modern Bluebeard, as a satire on the modern business- and war-minded world. In an advance interview Chaplin remarked: "The pic- ture has moral value, I believe. Von Clausewitz said that