Pierre Souvestre's and Marcel Allain's hero has always been a fascinating character for directors.To think that the novels were transferred to the screen in the silent era ,by Louis Feuillade and that the surrealist writers went into raptures over those films.The Paul Fejos 1932 version is worth seeking out too.
In the sixties,the novels were butchered by André Hunnebelle which made comedies out of them starring Jean Marais and Louis de Funès.Jean Marais played both Fantomas and journalist Fandor,which was an aberration.From the stories,there was nothing left but the proper nouns.
Claude Chabrol was the ideal director to film a new "Fantomas" and the choice of a TV miniseries was relevant,given the length of the novels (only three or four were adapted).Chabrol had always had a sense of mystery,which he sadly began to lose afterward.Helmut Berger ,one of Luchino Visconti's favorite actors ("la caduti dei degli" " Ludwig" ) , was THE Fantomas as he was in the novels.And Jacques Dufilho and Pierre Malet provided good support .
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