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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Chaplin Today: "Monsieur Verdoux," a 2003 program on the film's production and release, featuring filmmaker Claude Chabrol and actor Norman Lloyd
  • Charlie Chaplin and the American Press, a new documentary featuring Chaplin specialist Kate Guyonvarch and author Charles Maland
  • New video essay featuring an audio interview with actress Marilyn Nash
  • Radio advertisements and trailers

Monsieur Verdoux

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin
1947 | 124 Minutes | Licensor: MK2

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #652
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: March 26, 2013
Review Date: March 21, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Charlie Chaplin plays shockingly against type in his most controversial film, a brilliant and bleak black comedy about money, marriage, and murder. Chaplin is a twentieth-century Bluebeard, an enigmatic family man who goes to extreme lengths to support his wife and child, attempting to bump off a series of wealthy widows (including one played by the indefatigable Martha Raye, in a hilarious performance). This deeply philosophical and wildly entertaining film is a work of true sophistication, both for the moral questions it dares to ask and the way it deconstructs its megastar's loveable on-screen persona.

Forum members rate this film 8.5/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Charles Chaplinís Monsieur Verdoux receives a Blu-ray release through Criterion, who presents the film in the aspect ratio of about 1.33:1 on this dual-layer disc. The transfer is presented in 1080p/24hz.

Itís a middling presentation but fine none-the-less, far better than the previous Warner DVD at least. Thereís a surprising amount of wear and tear to be found, from tram lines to scratches and dirt, usually noticeable on the side of the screen. The transfer itself is fine but never all that impressive. It ultimately delivers a stable, crisp image, with a decent amount of detail and definition, most noticeable in tight patterns on clothing. Unfortunately what bothered me is that it looks like contrast has been boosted a bit, making whites a little glaring and blacks a little too heavy, eating up some detail in the process. This could be the intended look but it does look off to me.

Still it looks far better than Warnerís DVD and delivers a far more filmic and natural presentation.

7/10

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AUDIO

Criterionís lossless 1.0 linear PCM track is about as good as one could expect from a film this age. Itís a bit flat and music has a little bit of an edge to it but its problems are not distracting and dialogue is easy to hear. The track is also free of distortion or noise.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Though most of the material on here is good this is easily the slimmest number of supplements Criterion has included for a Chaplin film so far, a bit of a surprise considering the mild amount of infamy the film has in Chaplinís filmography.

Criterion ports over the documentary Chaplin Today: Monsieur Verdoux. The 27-minute documentary from 2003 goes over the production history of the film and its troubled released, primarily related to the fact many in U.S. saw Chaplin as a Communist sympathizer. It also features French filmmaker Claude Chabrol talking about the film and a couple of sequences he greatly admires and admits to trying to copy himself, unsuccessfully he adds. Itís a decent enough doc but isnít as in-depth as I would have hoped.

Following this is a new feature put together by Criterion called Charlie Chaplin and the American Press featuring interviews with Kate Guyonvarch (director of the Chaplin company Roy Export) and author Charles Maland. Chaplin had a tendency to keep most everything related to his films and that included books filled with newspaper clippings. Guyonvarch goes through these clippings from the beginning of Chaplinís career right up to after the time of Monsieur Verdoux, where we see more detail about the controversies surrounding Chaplin at the time, from divorce to apparent Communist sympathies to marrying someone who was old enough to be his daughter. The two also cover Verdouxís reception. It covers most of the same material as the previous documentary but gets more into the controversies surrounding it. It runs 24-minutes.

Criterion then includes an audio interview from 1997 with Marilyn Nash, who played the young ďwaifĒ in the film. In the 8-minute interview Nash covers how she came to meet Chaplin (who she was unfamiliar with) and how a game of tennis led her to getting the role in the film. She talks about his working style, how Chaplin and Martha Raye got along beautifully during production, and some of the issues Chaplin had with particular actors. Though brief itís a great first-person account. The audio plays over production photos and clips from the film.

Criterion concludes the disc with Radio Ads and a Theatrical Trailer for the film. Criterion then includes a fairly thick booklet with an excellent essay by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a reprint of an article Chaplin wrote about the film during its initial release, and Andre Bazinís defense of the film. The booklet probably proves to be the strongest addition to this release.

Unfortunately it feels really light, which is a bit of surprise considering the rough history of the film. The material is decent at least, but I was expecting quite a bit more.

6/10

CLOSING

The transfer is better than the previous Warner DVD but is probably still the weakest of all of the Chaplin titles Criterion has released, and the supplements are slim. Comes with a mild recommendation.


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