Updated Fri, Apr 26, 2013 1:26 pm
Dr. Lisa Stein Haven, associate professor of English at Ohio University-Zanesville, recently published a photo essay entitled, "Chaplin and Crime: Planting the Seeds for Monsieur Verdoux" for the Criterion Collection.
The work elaborates on a recent Criterion release, Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux (1947).
Haven’s work provides new insight about the film’s incarnation, based on Chaplin’s interest rather than contemporary media speculation. "Monsieur Verdoux was an expression of a lifelong passion, an opportunity not to wreak revenge on womankind but to bring a murder mystery to film," she states in the essay.
"It was filmmaker Orson Welles who originally asked Chaplin to play the part of the French serial killer Henri Landru; Chaplin bought the rights to the story from Welles, and he attributes the idea to him in the film’s credits," Haven notes, quickly countering, "But was it really Welles’s idea or did Welles simply remind Chaplin of an idea he’d once had?"
Haven is a dedicated Chaplin scholar and has published two books: Un comico vede il mondo, an edition of Chaplin’s A Comedian Sees the World; and Syd Chaplin: A Biography.
The photo essay can be viewed at http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2719-chaplin-and-crime-planting-the-seeds-for-monsieur-verdoux.