Fantômas (1913 serial)

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Fantômas
Fantomas early film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Louis Feuillade
Produced by Romeo Bosetti
Written by Marcel Allain
Louis Feuillade
Pierre Souvestre
Starring René Navarre
Edmond Bréon
Georges Melchior
Renée Carl
Cinematography Georges Guérin
Release date(s)
  • 9 May 1913 (1913-05-09)
Running time Total: 335 minutes
Episode 1: 54 minutes
Episode 2: 61 minutes
Episode 3: 90 minutes
Episode 4: 60 minutes
Episode 5: 70 minutes
Country France
Language Silent with French intertitles

Fantômas (pronounced: [fɑ̃toˈmas]) is a French silent crime film serial directed by Louis Feuillade, based on the novel of the same name.[1] The five episodes were released in 1913–14.

The series consists of five episodes, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last-minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.

The five episodes were restored under the direction of Jacques Champreaux and released on DVD in Europe in 2006.

Films[edit]

Advertisement (1916)
  1. Fantômas I: À l'ombre de la guillotine (Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine) (1913)
    1. Le Vol du Royal Palace Hotel (The Theft at the Royal Palace Hotel)
    2. La Disparition de Lord Beltham (The Disappearance of Lord Beltham)
    3. Autour de l'échafaud (By the Guillotine)
  2. Fantômas II: Juve contre Fantômas (Juve vs. Fantômas) (1913)
    1. La Catastrophe du Simplar-Express (Disaster on the Simplar Express)
    2. Au "Crocodile" (At the Crocodile)
    3. La Villa hantée (The Haunted Villa)
    4. L'Homme noir (The Man in Black)
  3. Fantômas III: Le Mort Qui Tue (The Murderous Corpse) (1913)
    1. Le Drame rue Novins (The Tragedy in Rue Novins)
    2. L'Enquête de Fandor (Fandor's Investigation)
    3. Le Collier de la princesse (The Princess's Necklace)
    4. Le Banquier Nanteul (The Banker Nanteul)
    5. Elizabeth Dollon
    6. Les Gants de peau humaine (The Human Skin Gloves)
  4. Fantômas IV: Fantômas contre Fantômas (Fantômas vs. Fantômas) (1914)
    1. Fantômas et l'opinion publique (Fantômas and Public Opinion)
    2. Le Mur qui saigne (The Wall that Bleeds)
    3. Fantômas contre Fantômas (Fantômas vs. Fantômas)
    4. Règlement de comptes (Getting Even)
  5. Fantômas V: Le Faux Magistrat (The False Magistrate) (1914)
    1. Prologue (The Theft at the Château des Loges)
    2. Le Prisonnier de Louvain (The Prisoner of Louvain)
    3. Monsieur Charles Pradier, juge d'instruction (Charles Pradier, Examining Magistrate)
    4. Le Magistrat cambrioleur ( The Burglar Judge)
    5. L'Extradé de Louvain (The Extradited Man)

Cast[edit]

  • René Navarre as Fantômas aka Gurn, Tom Bob and many other aliases
  • Edmund Breon as Inspector Juve
  • Georges Melchior as Jérôme Fandor, reporter for the Capital newspaper and Juve's collaborator
  • Renée Carl as Lady Beltham, Fantômas' mistress
  • Jane Faber as Princesse Danidoff
  • Volbert as Valgrand
  • Naudier as Nibet
  • Maillard as Valgrand's dresser
  • Yvette Andréyor as Josephine

Reception[edit]

Fantômas was enormously popular upon its release in France, and made Navarre, who played Fantômas, an overnight celebrity.[2] In a rave review from a 1914 issue of the French journal Chronique cinématographique, critic Maurice Raynal wrote that "There is nothing in this involved, compact, and concentrated film but explosive genius."[citation needed]

In his contemporary critical review of the Fantômas serial, Peter Schofer notes that contrary to some modern understandings of the series, Fantômas was not interpreted by its audience as a suspense film. Based on a previously published and widely read newspaper serial, audiences of the time were already extensively familiar with the plot, characters, and outcome of the story, making the film much more about how the story might develop as opposed to what might happen next.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Fantômas". Silent Era. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  2. ^ Schofer, Peter (Summer 1973). "See Fantômas". The Velvet Light Trap: A Critical Journal of Film and Television 9: 1–4. 
  3. ^ Schofer (1973), p. 2

External links[edit]