Fantômas (1964 film)

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Fantômas
Fantômas poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by André Hunebelle
Produced by Paul Cadéac (delegate producer)
Cyril Grize (producer)
Alain Poiré (delegate producer)
Written by Pierre Souvestre (novels)
Marcel Allain (novels)
Jean Halain(screenplay)
Pierre Foucaud (screenplay)
Starring Jean Marais
Louis de Funès
Mylène Demongeot
Music by Michel Magne
Production
company
Release date
4 November 1964 (France)
5 April 1966 (U.S.)
9 April 1965 (Finland)
27 May 1966 (West Germany)
23 December 1973 (East Germany)
Running time
105 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office $33.7 million[1]

Fantômas (French pronunciation: ​[fɑ̃tomas]) is a 1964 French comedy film starring Jean Marais as the arch villain with the same name opposite Louis de Funès as the earnest but outclassed commissaire Paul Juve. In the film Juve teams up with journalist Fandor, also played by Marais, trying to catch Fantômas but never quite succeeding. It was France's answer, in 1964, to the James Bond phenomenon that swept the world at around the same time. It is the first film of a trilogy,[2] and Fantômas became extremely successful in Europe, the Soviet Union and Japan. It found success even in the United States, where fan websites exist to this day. Mylène Demongeot plays "Hélène Gurn", the girlfriend of "Jérôme Fandor", Fantômas' arch enemy. The general tone of the films is more light-hearted than the original Fantômas novels. Commissaire Juve, as played by Louis de Funès, becomes a comedic character, much unlike his literary counterpart.[3]

Plot[edit]

Fantômas is a man of many disguises. He uses maquillage as a weapon. He can impersonate anyone using an array of masks and can create endless confusion by constantly changing his appearance. In the first episode of the series he is unhappy with Fandor, because of a fictitious interview the journalist wrote about him. He takes his revenge by abducting Fandor and threatening to kill him. He then uses his formidable makeup skills to commit a spectacular crime while disguised like Fandor. When commissaire Juve joins the chase, chameleon-like Fantômas promptly commits a crime wearing a mask looking like Juve. In the end Fandor, Juve and Fandor's girlfriend Hélène are all on the master criminal's trail, all to no avail as the man of a thousand masks finally manages to escape.

Cast[edit]

Actor Character
Jean Marais Fantômas
Jean Marais Fandor
Louis de Funès Commissioner Juve
Mylène Demongeot Hélène Gurn
Jacques Dynam Bertrand
Marie-Hélène Arnaud Lady Beltham

Release[edit]

The film was released in France on 4 November 1964 and in the United States on 5 April 1966.

The Fantômas trilogy[edit]

Title Release date
Fantômas 4 November 1964
Fantômas se déchaîne 8 December 1965
Fantômas contre Scotland Yard 16 March 1967

Reception[edit]

The film was the fifth most popular movie at the French box office in 1964.[1] It had admissions of 4,492,419.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "1964 French box office". Box Office Story. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Kate Ince (22 July 2005). Georges Franju. Manchester University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7190-6828-7. 
  3. ^ Dimitris Eleftheriotis (25 January 2002). Popular Cinemas of Europe: Studies of Texts, Contexts and Frameworks. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-62356-955-6. 
  4. ^ "Box Office Figures for Jean Marais films". Box Office Story. 

External links[edit]