Monsieur Verdoux

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Monsieur Verdoux is a 1947 comedy film about a suave but cynical man who supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards.

Directed by and written by Charlie Chaplin, based on an original story by Orson Welles.
A Comedy of Murders.taglines

Henri Verdoux

  • Despair is a narcotic. It lulls the mind into indifference.
  • Wars, conflict - it's all business. One murder makes a villain; millions, a hero. Numbers sanctify, my good fellow!
Chaplin in this line is quoting a far older statement of Bishop Beilby Porteus: "One murder makes a villain. Millions a hero."
  • [to the court, after being found guilty of murder] I shall see you ALL soon - very soon.
  • Business is a ruthless business, my dear.
  • Nothing is permanent in this wicked world. Not even our troubles.

The Girl

  • It's a blundering world and a very sad one, yet kindness can make it beautiful.


Henri Verdoux: It's the approach of death that terrifies.
The Girl: I suppose, if the unborn knew of the approach of life, they'd be just as terrified.

The Girl: It's nice seeing you again, You'll never realise what your kindness meant to me.
Henri Verdoux: Kindness is a convenient thing at times, my dear.

The Girl: You don't like women, do you?
Henri Verdoux: On the contrary, I love women. But I don't admire them.
The Girl: Why?
Henri Verdoux: Women are of the earth. Realistic. Dominated by physical facts.
The Girl: What nonsense!
Henri Verdoux: Once a woman betrays a man, she despises him. In spite of his goodness and position, she will give him up for someone inferior. That someone is more, shall we say, "attractive."
The Girl: How little you know about women!
Henri Verdoux: [coyly] You'd be surprised.

The Prosecutor: Never, never in the history of jurisprudence have such terrifying deeds been brought to light. Gentlemen of the jury, you have before you a cruel and cynical monster. Look at him! Observe him, gentlemen. This man, who has brains, if he had decent instincts, could have made an honest living. And yet, he preferred to rob and murder unsuspecting women. In fact, he made a business of it. I do not ask for vengeance, but for the protection of society. For this mass killer, I demand the extreme penalty: that he be put to death on the guillotine. The State rests its case.
Judge: Monsieur Verdoux, you have been found guilty. Have you anything to say before sentence is passed upon you?
Henri Verdoux: Oui, monsieur, I have. However remiss the prosecutor has been in complimenting me, he at least admits that I have brains. Thank you, Monsieur, I have. And for 35 years I used them honestly. After that, nobody wanted them. So I was forced to go into business for myself. As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces? And done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison. However, I do not wish to lose my temper, because very shortly, I shall lose my head. Nevertheless, upon leaving this spark of earthly existence, I have this to say: I shall see you all...very soon...very soon.

Reporter: You'll have to admit, crime doesn't pay, does it?
Henri Verdoux: No, sir. Not in a small way.
Reporter: What do you mean?
Henri Verdoux: To be successful in anything, one must be well-organized.
Reporter: You're not leaving the world with that cynical remark?
Henri Verdoux: To be idealistic in this moment would be incongruous, don't you think?
Reporter: What's all this talk about good and evil?
Henri Verdoux: Arbitrary forces, my good fellow. Too much of either will destroy us all.
Reporter: We can never have too much good in the world.
Henri Verdoux: Trouble is, we've never had enough. We don't know.
Reporter: Listen, Verdoux, I've been your friend all through the trial. Now, give me a break, a story with a moral to it! You, the tragic example of a life of crime.
Henri Verdoux: I don't see how anyone can be an example in these criminal times.

Henri Verdoux: [the priest visits Verdoux in his jail cell, shortly before execution] Ah, Father. And what can I do for you?
Priest: Nothing, my son. I want to help you, if I can. I've come to ask you to make your peace with God.
Henri Verdoux: I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.
Priest: Have you no remorse for your sin?
Henri Verdoux: Who knows what sin is? Born as it was from God's fallen angel. Who knows the ultimate destiny it serves? After all, what would you be doing without sin?
Priest: Exactly what I'm doing now, my son: trying to help a lost soul in distress. [clanking noises are heard] They're coming. Let me pray for you.
Henri Verdoux: As you wish. But I don't think these gentlemen want to be kept waiting.
Priest: May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Henri Verdoux: Why not? After all, it belongs to Him.


  • A Comedy of Murders.
  • A comedy of murders. The story of a modern French Bluebeard!
  • New hat. new coat, new pants, new shoes, new laughs, but the same great Charles Chaplin!
  • Hysterical laughter! Haunting romance! Shocking drama!
  • Chaplin's Bluebeard Comedy is a Killer!


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