February 21, 2012


Anyone who has been fortunate to see the film, Hugo, has probably been inspired by Scorsese's love letter to early cinema to explore the works of Melies and other imaginative pioneers. The 5-dvd set of Melies work from Flicker Alley is definitely the place to turn. The distributor will also release a remastered Blu-ray edition of a few of his major works, including Trip to the Moon, on March 27th. As my imagination relishes a revisit to Melies's wonderful magic, I can't help but feel a tug back to the incredible mystery/adventure cliffhanger serials that Feuillade made in 1913-1914. Kino released his original Fantomas films on DVD last year, which are thrilling and visually exciting- as this trailer illustrates.

"Based on the phenomenally popular French pulp novellas, Louis Feuillade's outrageous, ambitious FANTÔMAS series became the gold standard of espionage serials in pre-WWI Europe, and laid the foundation for such immortal works as Feuillade's own Les Vampires and Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse films.

René Navarre stars as the criminal lord of Paris, the master of disguise, the creeping assassin in black: Fantômas. Over the course of five feature films (which combined to form a 5 1/2-hour epic), Fantômas, along with his accomplices and mistresses, are pursued by the equally resourceful Inspector Juve (Edmund Bréon) and his friend, journalist Jerôme Fandor (Georges Melchior)."

I love the movie poster that Kino chose as its DVD cover. From what I understand, the image above was originally the cover illustration for one of the novels. The bloody dagger that Fantomas holds in the original image was edited out when made into the film poster below. Despite that sinister detail, I enjoy how he is portrayed with top hat and mask- perhaps a precursor to the eccentric, well-dressed adventure we enjoy from the space age of the 1960s and programs like The Avengers. You can buy the poster image from AllPosters.com.

If you have not seen Hugo, by the way, make sure you see it on the big screen. I'm not usually a fan of 3D, but this is one film where it adds some beautiful (and humorous) elements to the experience. And you will see this Fantomas movie poster in the film!


  1. You might be interested to know that Black Coat Press has just published a translation of the original novelization of Judex (1916).

  2. Thanks for the heads up! I love these books. Looks like it might be a re-print of a 2002 release. I'll investigate and post :)


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