Monsieur Verdoux

Director: Charles Chaplin
Year Released: 1947
Rating: 3.0

Chaplin has to swindle and kill rich old women to support his invalid wife and child during the Great Depression in this morally ambiguous film. The women he preys on appear to be conceited and too closely attached to their money (or too ignorant to spend it wisely) - the woman he "saves," unlike the others he uses, is down and out but redeemable and good-natured, not driven by monetary needs. It asks how much one would be willing to go for loved ones when forced to - is M. Verdoux an unrepentant sadist or is he operating on a different ethical level, purposely defying law for a higher cause (during the most desperate times, is it really every man for himself and God against all)? The ending gets a little heavy, but in a way he needed to properly explain his character's rationale - that Verdoux still seems so profoundly human after so many dark crimes is a testament to Chaplin's charming lack of refinement and inherent likeability.