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Zigomar the Eelskin (1911)

Zigomar (original title)
A sensational detective story, founded on the romance of Leon Sazie. The noted criminal who terrorized all Europe is shown in these three Zigomar reels in a dramatic and intense struggle ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Charles Krauss ...
Alexandre Arquillière ...
André Liabel ...
Attilio Maffei ...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Camille Bardou
Pierre Bressol
Gilbert Dalleu
Maryse Dauvray ...
(as Marise Dauvray)
Jacques Faure
Henri Gouget
Paul Guidé
Cécile Guyon
Karlmos
Émile Keppens
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Storyline

A sensational detective story, founded on the romance of Leon Sazie. The noted criminal who terrorized all Europe is shown in these three Zigomar reels in a dramatic and intense struggle for supremacy with Paulin Broquet, the celebrated detective, who takes the two in the most varied and finest resorts. It is literally a chase through the entire continent, with Broquet now having the upper hand and again Zigomar in its possession. Zigomar is the leader of a band of men who persist in plundering rich and poor. They know Broquet is on their trail and set a trap for him. However, he escapes, and in the melee which follows, when he nearly captures Zigomar, the latter also flees. A wonderful feature of this production is the "Will o' the Wisp" dance which the noted dancer, Esmée, performs at a ball in the Moulin Rouge in Paris. The festival begins by a magnificent procession, in which the dancer is carried in a litter, bedecked with jewels. In the succeeding darkness, tiny flames light up ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Short

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Release Date:

20 November 1911 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zigomar the Eelskin  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Followed by Zigomar - the Black Scourge - Episode 2 (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

If the book was thrilling and absorbing, the reels are very much more so
23 April 2016 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

For some months past a most sensational and fascinating story, published in serial installments in a leading Parisian journal, had aroused the interest and curiosity, not alone of Paris, but of France. The story came from the pen of Léon Sazie, who has, on occasions, shown flashes of the wit and power of Hugo and Maupassant. Readers of English fiction had little difficulty to detect, even under the distinct French garb of "Zigomar," their old friends Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. Let it not be inferred, however, that the French version of the Conan Doyle idea yields one jot to the English prototype, either in rapidity of action or fertility of invention. On the contrary, the French elaboration of the idea has attractions which are all its own. It introduces a marvelous variety of scenes in the gay and romantic life of Paris and varies it with a trip into the heart of the Swiss Alps. We do not wonder that the story has been compared to "The Wandering Jew" and "Rocambole." The Eclair Company has now filmed this romance of mystery and crime and has devoted three reels to the subject. If the book was thrilling and absorbing, the reels are very much more so. With some reservations, hereafter to be made, this production is a masterpiece of the art which prefers for its special field the world of to-day and seeks to hold the mirror up to modern life. In point of acting, settings and attention to detail, no film production is worthy of higher praise. The characters of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty are taken respectively by Paulin Broquet and Zigomar. The actors, taking these parts, are masters of their art. With many of the original and clever touches that abound in every reel, the first few scenes impress this fact upon the spectator very forcibly by showing on the screen the contrast between the two men in the most striking scenes and costumes that are to follow. It would transcend the limits allowed for this review, were we to attempt even a condensed description of the numerous plots and counterplots, which develop out of a battle of wits between Broquet and Zigomar. We can only allude briefly to some of the most notable scenes. In the crypt of the Church Saint Magloire a secret passageway allows Zigomar, the chieftain of the modern bandits, to hold revels or councils of his evil band. This hiding place, shown in a startlingly realistic manner in the film, is discovered by Broquet, who, encased in a suit of steel, disguises himself as the reposing statue of a knight upon one of the tombstones. He boldly advances into the secret retreat of the bandits and is caught in a trap, specially prepared for prospective intruders by the craft and cunning of the wily Zigomar. Broquet is carried away in a wooden box on a wagon that is to unload its living but hidden burden into a river. The driver is arrested on suspicion and the box on the wagon is opened by two gendarmes, who find their chief within, half dead. The driver, taking advantage of the excitement, mounts the horse of one of the gendarmes, but is hotly pursued by Broquet, who has quickly recovered from his stupor. A most realistic and thrilling scene ensues. Broquet shoots at the fleeing rider and brings him wounded to the ground, and a moment later himself topples from his horse, which has been shot from ambush by one of the followers of Zigomar. The bandit gives Broquet information which leads to new pursuits and hairbreadth escapes. The scenes in the Alps, where Zigomar has gone to rob hotels, are taken from nature in a country where nature is most charming, wonderful and impressive. The ascent of the mountain by the disguised robber and a distinguished company, of which Broquet, also in disguise, forms a part, is rich in realistic incident. Zigomar falls down the side of a glacier for a distance that seems alarmingly long to the spectator. The scenes in the Moulin Rouge, the "Danse des Feux Follets" (Fire Dance), the procession preceding the arrival of the dancer, the groupings of uncommonly handsome women, ranging from the "petite" to the statuesque and all faultless types, is a spectacle, the like of which, for art, power and charm, we have never seen in moving pictures before. Photographically, these pictures are nothing less than perfection. The traces of the superior skill of an able producer and "régisseur" are felt throughout. To give the picture due and full appreciation, pages would be necessary instead of columns. - The Moving Picture World, October 14, 1911


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