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Les vampires (1915)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  23 November 1916 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,783 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 42 critic

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Édouard Mathé ...
Marcel Lévesque ...
Jean Aymé ...
Fernand Herrmann ...
Juan-José Moréno / Brichonnet
...
Marfa Koutiloff (episode II)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Renée Carl ...
L'Andalouse
Suzanne Delvé ...
Fleur-de-Lys
Georgette Faraboni ...
Danseuse vampire
...
(episode V: L'évasion du mort)
Fridolin
Rita Herlor ...
Mrs. Simpson (episode I)
Émile Keppens ...
Géo Baldwin
Louise Lagrange ...
Jeanne Guérande
Suzanne Le Bret ...
Hortense - servante d'Irma
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Storyline

An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

23 November 1916 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Vampires  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Musidora was an acrobat who did all her own stunts for this film. See more »

Goofs

The same furniture appears in the different houses throughout the film. See more »

Quotes

Philippe Guérande: [writing] It is several months since we have heard about the Vampires. But can't we see their crafty hands behind those recent sinister and mysterious headlines?
See more »

Connections

Edited from The Vampires: Hypnotic Eyes (1916) See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastical Folly
19 November 2009 | by (www.moviemoviesite.com) – See all my reviews

I've only seen about two-thirds of this series so far, but seeing as it took Lovefilm more than six months to send me the second disc in the collection after I returned the first I figured I should review it now before the whole thing fades from memory.

The most striking thing about the series is how fantastical the stories are – even though there isn't a real vampire in sight (which is a bit of a let-down really). The world of Les Vampires is one in which gangs of skilled thieves prey on the wealthy; in which every handshake or pat on the back may result in paralysis of the recipient thanks to a tiny poisonous dart strapped to their attacker's hand; in which nefarious villains hypnotise women into believing they are in love with them, and in which police remove floorboards to create a trap for unsuspecting criminals, then truss them in a giant sack and carry them off to jail.

It all sounds like a lot of fun really, doesn't it? Especially the hypnotism bit. Unfortunately, the episodes of this famous silent serial from Louis Feuillade do have a tendency to drag. This is more an indication of how public expectations have changed in the ninety-plus years since this serial was produced than it is of a weakness in the films, I suppose, but to try to appreciate a film from the perspective of the audience for which it was initially intended is damn near impossible.

The story revolves around the efforts of Philippe Guerande and Mazzematte, his ex-undertaker sidekick and (fairly hopeless) comic relief, to bring to justice the members of Les Vampires Crime Enterprise (French Division). This being a serial lasting many hours, their attempts are, more often than not, foiled, although a villain is occasionally nabbed only for a new face to declare that he is the real leader of the gang, and the other bloke was just his lackey. Mazzematte casts supposedly comical glances at the audience and sometimes pulls childlike faces while Guerande is all charm and capability. Prominent amongst the villains is Mlle Musidora as the femme fatale Irma Vep, who is quite fond of sneaking around in a black body stocking that makes her look alarmingly lumpy.

Like the guy who plays Mazzematte, she plays to the camera – although possibly not quite as intentionally – pulling strange faces and striking over-dramatic poses and postures. It's all quite distracting, but offers some amusement when the story starts to drag. Serials would grow more fast-paced and exciting in the 20s, but this was no doubt considered something of a class act in 1915, and is still worth a look today (if you've got about nine hours to spare) even though it's unlikely to make it into anybody's top ten list.


2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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