After a body disappears from inside the prison, a series of crimes take place, all seemingly by the dead man. With Juve presumed dead, Fandor must investigate alone. Will Fantomas finally be brought to justice?
Louis Feuillade's 5 1/2-hour epic follows FantÃ'mas, the criminal lord of Paris, master of disguise, the creeping assassin in black, as he is pursued by the equally resourceful Inspector Juve and journalist JerÃ'me Fandor.
An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise... See full summary »
Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign... 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 ... See full summary »
The physician's death orphans his two adolescent daughters. Their older brother is able to convert some of the doctor's small estate to cash. But it is late in the day, and with the banks ... See full summary »
A rich young Easterner who has always wanted to live in "the Wild West" plans to move to a Western town. Unknown to him, the town's "wild" days are long gone, and it is an orderly, ... See full summary »
Despite living in luxury, Vera is lonely and discontented. When she accompanies her mother, the Countess, on a charity visit to the poor, she is troubled by what she sees, and she resolves ... See full summary »
An early social commentary on the New York sex trade, this film attempts to sensationalize prostitution, especially forced prostitution. Featuring a number of characters and sub-plots, the film is presented as if it were a documentary. Written by
Countless films had adapted books or plays, but this was the first film to serve as the basis for a novel, once it had had a successful theatrical release. The novelization was written by Eustace Hale Ball. See more »
TRAFFIC IN SOULS (1913) is one of the first feature films to really define what feature films would become aesthetically. It depicts the story of several women who are lured into a house of ill repute, as well as the unmasking of a powerful figure who pulls the strings who is not all that he seems
SCRIPT: The script of TRAFFIC IN SOULS juggles multiple narrative threads at a time when most movies were short features that only told one story. It handles the separate yet related stories quite successfully. One flaw I did notice is that the brothel doesn't have any clients but there may have been some reason for doing so, so as not to offend the sensibilities of 1913 audiences. In any case, the story is fairly realistic and must have been shocking for its day. There are nice little details, too like the police officer and the girl asking the window cleaner to look away while they kiss briefly, the shopgirl who gets fired and sticks her tongue out at her boss, among other things. A bit melodramatic at times, and with a little padding, but not too much. The story is told with brisk efficiency and the film moves along at a nice pace. It is actually quite suspenseful as well. There's an intriguing technological element as well, with a kind of telegraph pen that writes remotely and a phonograph that records conversations. SCORE: 8/10.
ACTING: The acting here is exceptionally naturalistic, at a time when many "feature" films were little more than stage plays with overly emphatic acting. Particular standouts are Jane Gail as Mary Barton, William Welsh as the "philanthropist" Trubus, as Ethel Grandin as Lorna Barton. There's very little hamming it up in this film, and the realistic, restrained performances help to give a documentary feel to the proceedings. SCORE: 9/10
CINEMATOGRAPHY/PRODUCTION: TRAFFIC IN SOULS shows a quite advanced sense of editing for its day, although some of it is a bit choppy (which was confirmed by a contemporary review). There is not a lot of camera movement in the movie, but the briskly paced editing keeps the movie from being too static (again, unlike other features of the time). We are treated to some unusual camera angles and tracking shots at various points of the film. There aren't really any tight close-ups, and this keeps the movie feeling a bit remote over the course of its run time. By far the most remarkable feature of TRAFFIC IN SOULS is its liberal use of outdoor location shooting, which gives it a remarkable realism that is still striking today. Although other features a few years later (including one I don't want to name) would use more advanced features like iris shots and tinting, TRAFFIC IN SOULS is still pretty advanced for its time. SCORE: 9/10
SUMMARY: TRAFFIC IN SOULS deserves more recognition as being a movie that helped set the standard for feature films, even before BIRTH OF A NATION. Its story is quite complex, but fast paced and engrossing. The acting is refreshingly and remarkably naturalistic. Its cinematography and editing are well executed, helping to pave the way for feature films to break away from the stage and come into their own as an art form in their own right. SCORE: 9/10
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