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Speech from Monsieur Verdoux

Monsieur Verdoux, 1947
Monsieur Verdoux, 1947

Awaiting execution for his crimes, Verdoux says to a journalist, “One murder makes a villain…millions a hero. Numbers sanctify my good friend.”

Transcript of Verdoux’s final remarks to the court during his trial in Monsieur Verdoux:

Judge: Monsieur Verdoux, you have been found guilty, have you anything to say before sentence is passed upon you?

Verdoux: Oui, Monsieur, I have. However remiss the prosecutor has been in complimenting me, he at least admits that I have brains. Thank you Monsieur, I have. And for thirty five years I used them honestly, after that… nobody wanted them. So I was forced to go into business for myself. As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces, and done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison. However I do not wish to lose my temper, because very shortly I shall lose my head. Nevertheless, upon leaving this spark of earthly existence, I have this to say…..I shall see you all very soon…… very soon…

From Monsieur Verdoux, Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. All rights reserved

The following lines were deleted from the speech, presumably to satisfy the Breen office:
“To be shocked by the nature of my crime is nothing but a pretence… a sham! You wallow in murder… you legalize it… you adorn it with gold braid! You celebrate it and parade it! Killing is the enterprise by which your System prospers, upon which your industry thrives!”

Extract from a letter from the Breen Office to Chaplin, part of some correspondence concerning ‘necessary’ censorship of the film before its release: “Verdoux’s claim is, derivatively, that it is ridiculous to be shocked by the extent of his atrocities, that they are a mere “comedy of murders” in comparison with the legalized mass murders of war, which are embellished with gold braid by the ‘System’.”

Naturally, Verdoux’s claim did not find favour with the censorship officials.


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