Fantômas makes it as the emperor of Crime. First is the robbery at the Royal Palace Hotel. Then he abducts Lord Beltham. As Fantômas' fame increases actor Valgrand creates the rôle of ... See full summary »
Fantômas makes it as the emperor of Crime. First is the robbery at the Royal Palace Hotel. Then he abducts Lord Beltham. As Fantômas' fame increases actor Valgrand creates the rôle of public enemy No.1 on stage. Eventually Inspector Juve, with a little help from Fandor, arrests Fantômas and he is soon sentenced to die on the guillotine. But... Written by
The first of a five film series has Rene Vacarre playing Fantomas, the mastermind French thief who breaks into the hotel of a princess and steals some priceless jewelry. Inspector Jive (Edmund Breon) finally manages to catch Fantomas but he plans an escape hours before heading to the guillotine. FANTOMAS: IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE isn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but at just 54-minutes the thing is entertaining enough to make it worth viewing if you enjoy silent cinema. I think the one thing this picture shows is that during this era the American cinema was still miles ahead of the French and even when Feuillade was considered the country's greatest director at this time. As with many of his earlier pictures, the director usually tells the story in simple medium shots and he really doesn't use any noticeable editing to try and build up any suspense or drama. The director pretty much just tells the story without any real flair or style and while this might kill some films from this period, Feuillade at least keeps the story moving at a nice pace to where it never gets boring. The film is basically broken down into three sections. The first dealing with the hotel robbery, the second with Fantomas' arrest and the third his eventual escape. The first segment was actually the most entertaining as the sets were rather interesting to look at and we get a unique opening showing an elevator climbing several floors. The trick editing is obvious but this sequence still has a unique look to it. The third story has a very far-fetched idea to get Fantomas out of jail but it somewhat works in a cliffhanger-like fashion. Vacarre is wonderful in his role(s) as he's certainly photogenic and manages to make you believe he could actually pull all of this stuff off. I was also impressed with Breon even though he's featured a lot less.
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