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The Best Libertarian Film Is …

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and Economics.org.au editor

Easily, the best libertarian film — yes, I have seen every film — is: Monsieur Verdoux (1947). This is a film so neglected that even libertarians have failed to acknowledge its existence. The film is readily available to everyone, and has been for generations. It is not some obscure foreign-language film; in fact, it features the most famous Western person ever.

Prompted by Orson Welles, Charles Chaplin produced, directed, wrote, composed the music and starred in this loose re-enactment of the real life of Henri Désiré Landru. (During WW1 Landru advertised in the lonely hearts section of Paris newspapers that he was a widower and desired to meet a widow with view to matrimony. In 1921 Landru was convicted of murdering 10 women and the teenage son of one of them.)

The eponymous protagonist, played by Chaplin, is one of those rare creatures: a brazen benevolent beguiling bigamous bluebeard (I’ve always wanted to say that). He is the sole income provider for his wheelchair-bound wife and their young child. After losing his job and failing to find employment elsewhere, he gains access, under various fraudulent guises, to the money of wealthy single women by befriending, marrying and — continuing the progression — killing them. His only motive is the welfare of his family; that is, his first wife — often referred to as the “invalid” wife (not the best word choice) — and their young son. When they die, his shenanigans draw to a close. Read the rest of this entry