starring Charles Chaplin, Martha Raye, Marilyn Nash, Isobel Elsom
screenplay by Charles Chaplin, based on an idea by Orson Welles
directed by Charles Chaplin
by Bryant Frazer Charles Chaplin augmented his trademark mix of physical comedy, sweetness, and lefty politics with a dose of suspense (borrowed, probably, from Hitchcock) and a sardonic worldview (informed, maybe, by film noir) in the playful, funny, but ultimately downbeat Monsieur Verdoux. In a scenario that originated with Orson Welles, who receives an "idea" credit, Henri Verdoux is a serial killer based on Henri Landru, a French Bluebeard who seduced, married, and then murdered a string of Parisian women in order to liberate their assets. Chaplin plays Verdoux as a charming fiend whose demeanour incorporates the barest echo of the Little Tramp, but whose murderous M.O. recalled the director's own reputation as a womanizer.