While universally known(from France to Japan), the legendary Arsene Lupin didn't travel well on the French screen. Jacques Becker and Yves Robert signed two acceptable versions, with Robert Lamoureux, and Jean-Claude Brialy made a first try impersonating the popular hero in 1962, when he was only 29. A dozen of one-hour episodes were filmed in the 70's for French TV, mostly by Jean-Pierre Decourt (Rocambole), with Georges Descrières from Comédie Française, who gave a certain charm to the hero, but the productions were in terrible lack of means and other talents. In 1980, one of the most talented French directors, Alexandre Astruc, known for his intellectual productions (Le Rideau Cramoisi, Une Vie, The Pit and the Pendulum) was given the opportunity to film "813", one of the best novels signed by Maurice Leblanc, in which Lupin rose up to defying the Kaiser Wilhelm II in person... This time, Jean-Claude Brialy gave a perfect impersonation of the gentleman-cambrioleur, in a six-hours TV series, complete with excellent music by Georges Delerue and a large cast of good French and German second roles. Filmed in France and Germany, the production was able to provide all the interiors and locations which were absent from the other TV essays. The narration had also an opportunity to underline the details, with a climax reached in the long scene confronting Lupin to the Kaiser. Unfortunately, the success was a mitigated one, and Astruc was not given an opportunity to reiterate his efforts, signing only three or four productions in the following 23 years. The grand-daughter of Maurice Leblanc brought the existence of this double DVD to my attention, and I was able to buy it at one of the Paris FNAC's. You may order it with Amazon, although they mention only the book. For less than 30 dollars,you'll get six hours of high entertainment, if you are a fan of Arsene Lupin! Harry Carasso, Paris, France
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