Last week for Chaplin series at Filmstreams


December 14th, 2010

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Omaha, NE – It’s the last week of Filmstreams’ Great Director Series, featuring the works of actor and director Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin’s final film playing this week is the dark, murderous comedy, Monsieur Verdoux.

Charlie Chaplin's dark comedy, Monsieur Verdoux, is playing this week at Filmstreams (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The blackest of Charlie Chaplin’s comedies, Monsieur Verdoux is also one of his finest. In Chaplin’s own words, it’s the “cleverest and most brilliant film of my career.” The story of a banker who loses his job, and resorts to killing for money and ends up beheaded for his crimes, it’s based on the true story of a French killer, Henri Desire Landru, who was executed in the 1920s for killing at least 11 people. (Click to hear audio from film below.)

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Monsieur Verdoux was originally an idea of director Orson Welles. But Chaplin bought the story from him, and wrote, directed and starred in the film. It received a mixed response. It was released in 1947, just as the Cold War was starting and after Chaplin had already come under suspicion for “radical sympathies.” His satirical message in the film was controversial: that the line between a single murder in cold blood and mass murder in the name of war can be fine, which was exemplified by Verdoux’s declaration at his trial that the world encourages “mass murder” and that “One murder makes a villain… millions a hero.”

Far from Chaplin’s lovable tramp in his silent film repertoire, Monsieur Verdoux shows the true range of one of Cinema’s most celebrated, and groundbreaking artists. The film is showing at the art house Filmstreams in downtown Omaha through Thursday this week.

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