(I wrote about the film here).
My uncle has always aided and abetted my love for the music and mythos of Bob Dylan. He hooked me up with Anthony Scaduto’s 1972 biography Dylan, which I still consider a high point of musical biography and journalism. It’s a work that traces Dylan as a dialectical synthesis of the sources around him: Little Richard, the cold winters of Hibbing, Woody Guthrie, Charlie Chaplin, etc.
So anyway, I was pleasantly surprised (but hardly shocked) to find a copy of LIFE’s Bob Dylan retrospective in the US mails, kindly sent by my uncle. It’s crammed with pictures I’d never seen before, and the copy is surprisingly well-written (if occasionally snarky). Anyway, good stuff. I share a few pics:
Orson Welles talks about acting and directing in a 1960 interview in Paris. The interviewer steers the conversation to Charlie Chaplin, who bought Orson Welles’s idea for the film Monsieur Verdoux—and then cut Welles out of the creative process.
Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 film Monsieur Verdoux is rarely mentioned alongside his early classics like The Great Dictator, Modern Times, or City Lights, which is a shame, because it’s easily one of his funniest. Perhaps that’s because it’s one of his rare speaking roles, although that’s hard to believe—Chaplin is just as funny when he opens his mouth as when he’s cutting physical capers. I suspect that the movie is just too dark for some folks. It is, after all, a black comic take on the Bluebeard story, and I guess the story of a man who marries and then murders his wives as a form of careerism might not hold a general appeal. In any case, it’s hilarious. Here’s a compilation of clips that show off Verdoux’s seduction technique; these are some of the funnier moments in the film—
Monsieur Verdoux is hardly a romantic comedy though. Observed closely, it works as an allegorical commentary on the moral response to the horrors of WWII. These observations are made plain at the end of the film, as Verdoux, put on trial, must first account for his crimes—and then pay for them. Here is the extraordinary final scene of the movie, which contains spoilers, although I believe that one can still watch the ending out of context and later enjoy the film—
We see here the major hallmarks of Chaplin’s greatest films: not just comedy, but also genuine pathos and social commentary, all delivered with acerbic bite that nevertheless reveals a real love for humanity. Highly recommended.
From The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema.