(Sir) Charles (Spencer) Chaplin Dwight Macdonald - Essay

Dwight Macdonald

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[MacDonald quotes from a review which he wrote in 1956:]

Monsieur Verdoux is really two films, one a sentimental melodrama, the other a comedy in the old Chaplin style that burlesques the melodrama. What makes it confusing is that Chaplin shifts gears between the two without apparently knowing he is doing so…. It is unsettling to see an actor brilliantly taking off the conventional rhetoric of his trade one moment and the next employing it seriously, especially since Chaplin's serious rhetoric expresses a vain and foolish concept of himself—as the tragic man-of-the-world, disenchanted, elegant, sensitive, the gallant protector of the weak who, to make the bogus diamond...

(The entire section is 453 words.)