Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
It is best described as a black comedy. Charlie Chaplin was the producer, director, lead actor, score composer, and writer. The film does not feature Chaplin's famous Tramp character, and did not do well when it first premiered. It has since gained enough of a following to be considered a cult film; Chaplin fans are divided on whether it represents a good piece of work or not. Its dark humour, so strikingly different from Chaplin's usual sentimentality, is perhaps better appreciated in these more cynical times.
The idea for this film was suggested to Chaplin by Orson Welles, inspired by the case of Henri Désiré Landru. The film's premise is that murder is the logical extension of capitalism - the lead character kills to make money, he is hence not (in his eyes) a murderer.
Since the picture is a talking picture, there is some comedy in the dialogue as well as some physical comedy.
The film is about an unemployed banker, Henri Verdoux, and his sociopathic methods of attaining income. He has a wife and a child. While being both loyal and competent in his work, Verdoux has been laid-off. To make money, he marries wealthy widows and then murders them. This behavior eventually works against him when two particular widows break his normal routine.
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