Monsieur Verdoux

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Monsieur Verdoux is a 1947 comedy film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin.

Henri Verdoux[edit]

  • 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.


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 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 thirty-five 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: 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.

Priest: May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
Henri Verdoux: Why not? After all, it belongs to Him.

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