Though most of the material on here is good this is easily the slimmest number of supplements Criterion has included for a Chaplin film so far, a bit of a surprise considering the mild amount of infamy the film has in Chaplinís filmography.
Criterion ports over the documentary Chaplin Today: Monsieur Verdoux. The 27-minute documentary from 2003 goes over the production history of the film and its troubled released, primarily related to the fact many in U.S. saw Chaplin as a Communist sympathizer. It also features French filmmaker Claude Chabrol talking about the film and a couple of sequences he greatly admires and admits to trying to copy himself, unsuccessfully he adds. Itís a decent enough doc but isnít as in-depth as I would have hoped.
Following this is a new feature put together by Criterion called Charlie Chaplin and the American Press featuring interviews with Kate Guyonvarch (director of the Chaplin company Roy Export) and author Charles Maland. Chaplin had a tendency to keep most everything related to his films and that included books filled with newspaper clippings. Guyonvarch goes through these clippings from the beginning of Chaplinís career right up to after the time of Monsieur Verdoux, where we see more detail about the controversies surrounding Chaplin at the time, from divorce to apparent Communist sympathies to marrying someone who was old enough to be his daughter. The two also cover Verdouxís reception. It covers most of the same material as the previous documentary but gets more into the controversies surrounding it. It runs 24-minutes.
Criterion then includes an audio interview from 1997 with Marilyn Nash, who played the young ďwaifĒ in the film. In the 8-minute interview Nash covers how she came to meet Chaplin (who she was unfamiliar with) and how a game of tennis led her to getting the role in the film. She talks about his working style, how Chaplin and Martha Raye got along beautifully during production, and some of the issues Chaplin had with particular actors. Though brief itís a great first-person account. The audio plays over production photos and clips from the film.
Criterion concludes the disc with Radio Ads and a Theatrical Trailer for the film. Criterion then includes a fairly thick booklet with an excellent essay by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, a reprint of an article Chaplin wrote about the film during its initial release, and Andre Bazinís defense of the film. The booklet probably proves to be the strongest addition to this release.
Unfortunately it feels really light, which is a bit of surprise considering the rough history of the film. The material is decent at least, but I was expecting quite a bit more. 6/10