Flicker Alley presents JUDEX, an important part of cinema history now available for the first time. This remarkably inventive and dreamlike French serial by the great Louis Feuillade represents a highlight in French filmma... more »king and has inspired generations filmmakers since its first release in 1917. One of cinema's first "superheroes," the mysterious Judex (René Cresté) is torn between an oath of justice against the wealthy banker Favraux (Louis Leubas), who had earlier wronged his family, and his secret love of Favraux's daughter, Jacqueline (Yvette Andreyor). This framework is the basis of a series of extraordinary and engaging incidents involving Judex's brother (Edouard Mathe), the evil Diana Monti (Musidora) and her accomplices, the detective Cocatin (Marcel Levesque), and the charming Licorice Kid (Bout-de-Zan), all of them regular players in Feuillade's grand tapestries. Enjoy this brand new digital edition of what the Village Voice declared as "one of the most lithe, charming, inventive, and supplely paced serials ever made." DVD Features: ? The most complete version of the film currently available presented in its entirety in a newly tinted film transfer ? A brand new English language translation ? A new digitally recorded orchestral score by the renowned silent film composer Robert Israel Special Bonus Features: ? New booklet essay by noted film historian Jan-Christopher Horak ? The Music of Judex ? Robert Israel discusses his process For creating the music score in an 18-minute featurette Credits: Directed by Louis Feuillade Screenplay by Arthur Bernede and Louis Feuillade Cinematography by André Glatti and Léon Klausse Production Design by Robert-Jules Garnier Original Serial released by Gaumont Co. Ltd., France (1917) Cast: René Cresté, Edouard Mathé, Musidora, Yvette Andréyor, Marcel Lévesque, Louis Leubas, Jean Devalde, René Poyen, Gaston Michel, Yvonne Dario, Olinda Mano, Georges Flateau, Lily Deligny, Juliette Clarens« less
Chip Kaufmann | Asheville, N.C. United States | 06/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a long time fan of silent films I was familiar with JUDEX from a number of reference books and from the 1963 remake by Georges Franju which is not without interest and should also be revived. Therefore it was an unexpected pleasure to discover that Flicker Alley (the people who gave us GARDEN OF EDEN with Corinne Griffith a few years back) in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies was issuing a newly restored version of the original 1916 version.
Louis Feuillade (1873-1925) was the undisputed master of the movie serial. He took what was regarded as the cheapest form of cinematic entertainment and turned it into an art form. Although not as erotic or as violent as LES VAMPIRES his previous effort, JUDEX benefits from a tighter storyline, more fully developed characters, and some of the most remarkable photography to come out of that era. The plot is simple and is basically a reworking of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. A young man plans to avenge himself against the unscrupulous banker who ruined his family but his plans are compromised when he falls in love with the banker's daughter.
The complete film runs over 5 hours and is divided into 12 chapters. While each episode doesn't end in a cliffhanger like most American serials, the storyline is intriguing enough that you'll want to keep going just to see how it all works out. The performances by the French cast are restrained by silent film standards and use a great deal of subtle pantomime which is very effective. The real star however is the photography. Feuillade uses a mostly stationary camera but the compositions of his shots and what he does within them especially in the outdoor scenes is truly remarkable. It is easy to see why he was known as the D. W. Griffith of France.
The film has been color tinted to 1916 standards and features superb musical accompaniment from Robert Israel which ranges from solo piano to orchestral. While I haven't seen FANTOMAS which is not available in the U. S. but judging from what I've read about it and from LES VAMPIRES which is available, I'd have to say that JUDEX is Feuillade's masterpiece. Another winner from Flicker Alley, this DVD is an absolute must for all silent film buffs and to anyone interested in the cinema of crime."
An Enduring Classic
J. Sims | Surprise, AZ | 01/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't suppose I'd ever heard of this film a year or two ago, and yet now it's one of my all time favorites. "Judex" is as good as movie-making gets. It is a serial-- over five hours of it-- and yet, unlike every other serial I've seen, it is a coherent and powerful story. It might be better to compare it to a television mini-series, only I've never seen one of those this good. "Judex" held my interest every step of the way, and has so retained its charm with me that I've already watched the whole thing a number of times. The acting and cinematography are both excellent. The accompanying music by Robert Israel is superb; I wish I had that on CD. As far as the DVD presentation, the film is not restored, but is supposedly the best quality available. There are some weak spots, but the film is always watchable, and usually looks pretty good. The tinting is visually pleasing and enhances the appropriate scenes. "Judex" would have been worth twice what I paid for it. I recommend it wholeheartedly. If I don't watch myself I'll end up starting a "Judex" fan club!"
Absolutely one the best of any movie/serial.
Susan Phillips | virginia | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree wholeheartedly with J. Sims and Chip Kaufmann. This serial is excellent in plot, music, and cinematography. Also the acting in most instances is very good and natural and not the stereotypical exaggerated facial and body motions that some people associate with silent movies. I am an ardent silent movie fan and also a serial fan and to me this is absolutely one of the best of any genre I have ever seen (including most "talkies"). In addition, it is great to see competent women able to do difficult things (e.g., Miss Daisy Torp who is an excellent swimmer and can climb into ships very well). Finally, I believe that Rene Creste who plays Judex is one of the best looking leading men of that era (or of even later eras, particularly when you can see him without the heavy dark eye makeup)."
Thomas Miller | Washington State | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was such fun to watch! As an admitted comic-book geek, it was great to see the similarities and influence the charater of Judex had with Batman. (A secret lair, disguises and hidden identities, gadgets...) I hadn't heard of this series until just recently, but I was familiar "Les Vampires" by Feuillade. (another great serial to watch if you haven't yet!) While it's very campy at times, at others it's very touching. Especially when Judex thinks he's lost his secret love due to his actions. The musical score is wonderful and fit the individual characters well, although at times it can become monotonous and I found myself tuning it out as I watched.
The special features (a discussion of the music by Robert Israel) is intersting and well-worth watching.
If you're a comic-book geek you'll appreciate where Bob Kane got some of his ideas for his creation of Batman. (Also, if you didn't know, the Joker is based on Conrad Veidt's character in "The Man Who Laughs" -- I haven't seen this one yet, but it's next on my list)
If you are a fan of silent films and have not watched this, I highly recommend it... and if you can get your kids to sit still long enough, I think they'd like it too."
The Power of the Music
Richard Buchholz | Baton Rouge, LA USA | 07/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would like to emphasize how wonderfully Robert Israel's musical score complements Feuillade's images and the superb performances of his actors. So many silent films on video or DVD are weakened by ineffective scores, but not this one. To me, the score of Judex represents the gold standard for silent film music, to which all should aspire but few, lamentably, will attain."