This was the first Chaplin film to have no Little Tramp (or Tramp-like) character, and American audiences were initially cool in their reception. (So was the media; during one press conference promoting the film, Chaplin reportedly opened the floor to questions from reporters by saying, "Proceed with the butchering.") Of course, since it was just two years after the end of World War II, American moviegoers weren't yet in the mood for anything so dark and political, even if it was billed as a comedy. Chaplin's original screenplay snagged the 1947 film an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, but lost to Sidney Sheldon's The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (why award social commentary when pseudo-pedophilia was available?). The film was better received in Europe and eventually became a revival festival favorite. See Chaplin's comedy of murders today at 7 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org. $6 to $7.
Oct. 3-5, 7 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 12, 7 p.m., 2008