(Sir) Charles (Spencer) Chaplin Eric Bentley - Essay

Eric Bentley

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There are things to find fault with in Monsieur Verdoux, but I should say that there is something heartening even in Charlie Chaplin's faults, because they are faults of excess, not of deficiency. If some scenes in Verdoux are puzzling, is it not because they might mean several things, not that they might mean nothing? In the revolutionary act of making the screen say something, Chaplin has made it say too much. There is more material in his latest film than he is able to manage—which is to say, more than any living dramatic artist could manage. (p. 161)

Chaplin takes the familiar moral dichotomy between the private life and the public, which in modern life has taken form as the...

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