In the wake of Hugo and The Artist, which have re-opened a door into the magic of the silent era, I'm enjoying a revisit with old favorites by Feuillade, Melies, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Fritz Lang. I just saw Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr recently on Netflix and really enjoyed it! Like Melies, he used the illusion of linear time that film offers to create some memorable visual gags. I also just saw the John Barrymore Sherlock Holmes film (its restoration was funded by Hef!). Although it dragged a bit in the middle, I have to say that I enjoyed the casting a lot (both Holmes and Moriarty were great!). And the film had enough mystery conventions, like trap doors, signals, and secret hiding places to keep me entertained. Hats off to Kino films for making these classics available.
If you are a fan of the wonderful mystery/adventure serials Fantomas, Judex, and Les Vampires, join me in celebrating the new English translation of this Judex novel from Black Coat Press. Rick Lai has written about The Shadow in the past, so I'm intrigued by the section about The Shadow and Judex listed in the contents. Black Coat has also published many Fantomas titles. I'm looking forward to checking out the whole series and talking with the publisher about some details. I will post my findings on Spy Vibe when I get a chance. In the meantime, here is more info from the publisher's website:
In 1917, silent film director Louis Feuillade and writer Arthur Bernède created the character of a mysterious avenger, wearing a slouch hat and a dark cloak -- Judex! His name means "Judge," and he has sworn to mercilessly punish criminals!
Judex appears and disappears like a living shadow. Trained by the vindictive Woman in Black, he is a master of disguise and an excellent fighter. His loyal followers include a female athlete, a reformed ex-convict and a pack of vicious bloodhounds. Beneath the ruins of a castle is his secret lair, where he interrogates his prisoners through a "television" screen. His nemesis is Favraux, a corrupt banker who has left a trail of ruin and misery in his wake.
In this epic saga, Judex not only challenges Favraux, but also the evil Diana Monti, Favraux's fiancée who is as ruthless and powerful as he is. But as our hero struggles against the villains, he falls in love with Favraux's daughter, the beautiful, innocent Jacqueline...
Part One: The Mysterious Shadow
Part Two: The Atonement
Part Three: The Amazing Dogs
Part Four: The Secret of the Tomb
Part Five: The Mill of Misery
Part Six: The Licorice Kid
Part Seven: The Woman in Black
Part Eight. The Caverns of the Chateau Rouge
Part Nine: When the Child Appeared
Part Ten: The Heart of Jacqueline
Part Eleven: The Water-Sprite
Part Twelve: Love's Forgiveness
The Continuity and Chronology of Judex
Judex and The Shadow
A List of Judex Pastiches
Arthur Bernède (1871-1937) was a renowned playwright, journalist, screenwriter and the author of numerous popular novels. His best-remembered creations are the mysterious avenger known as Judex (co-created with, and for, filmmaker Louis Feuillade who directed the first Fantômas serials), and the villainous Belphégor, the so-called "Phantom of the Louvre." In 1919, Bernède joined forces with actor René Navarre, who had played Fantômas in the Feuillade serials, and writer Gaston Leroux, the creator of Rouletabille, to launch the Société des Cinéromans, a production company that would produce films and novels simultaneously.
The absolutely brilliant 1963 version of Judex by Franju, available from Amazon for $8.99!