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Fantômas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (1913)

Fantômas - À l'ombre de la guillotine (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 1916 (USA)
Inspector Juve is tasked to investigate and capture an infamous criminal Fantomas.

Director:

Louis Feuillade

Writers:

Marcel Allain (novel), Louis Feuillade | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
René Navarre ... Fantômas / Gurn
Edmund Breon ... Inspector Juve (as Edmond Bréon)
Georges Melchior Georges Melchior ... Jérôme Fandor, journaliste à 'La Capitale'
Renée Carl Renée Carl ... Lady Beltham, maîtresse de Fantômas
Jane Faber Jane Faber ... Princesse Danidoff
André Volbert André Volbert ... L'acteur Valgrand (as Volbert)
Naudier Naudier ... Le gardien Nibet
Maillard Maillard ... L'habilleur de Valgrand
Yvette Andréyor ... Josephine
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
André Luguet ... Dollon
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Storyline

Princess Sonia Danidoff is staying at the Royal Palace Hotel, Paris, and withdraws $20,000 from the cashier's custody, placing the notes in a drawer in company with her magnificent rope of pearls. A few moments after a well-dressed stranger steps from behind the curtains and, with the coolest of sangfroid, steals the valuables in the very presence of the princess, and with a polite bow hands her his card and makes a dignified exit. Upon the card the name "Fantomas" slowly appears. The police are quickly upon the scene, but Fantomas, true to his nom de plume, has vanished. Inspector Robert Juve is the sleuth entrusted to track the mysterious marauder. But before Juve has time to move in the matter of the princess's jewels and cash, another escapade of Fantomas' is thrust upon him to investigate. Lord Beltham is missing. Juve calls on Lady Beltham, and in a man's hat finds the initial "G." With so slight a clue Juve tracks down "Gurn" (none other than the elusive Fantomas) to his ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

1916 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fantomas: The Beltham Mystery See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Followed by Fantômas: Juve versus Fantômas (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

Fantomas?/What did you say?/I said :"Fantomas" /What do you mean?
28 December 2008 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

For a person who would have read the Souvestre /Allain's novels,Feuillade's movies would fatally be a disappointment.I read them when I was sixteen and I was fascinated by this mysterious masked figure .Today "Fantomas" has lost much of its popularity ,probably because he was not a "nice "character ,like Arsene Lupin who is still enjoying success.But anyway Maurice Leblanc was a better writer than Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain.

Feuillade's adaptation is not very satisfying:he ruled out the best part of the first volume ,which took place in a château where the marquise de Langrune was murdered (the first word of the saga is "Fantomas!" when nobody had still heard of him).That's after this crime that Charles Rambert became Jerome Fandor -in Feuillade's movie ,he is introduced as Juve's best friend whereas Juve really "made " Fandor.

Even more embarrassing is the ending Feuillade chose -he had to make Gaumont's money work for them ;these are his own words- for what was primarily a horror story: in the novel,Valgrand is really guillotined .It's only a movie after all ,so what's the point of saving him apart from making a film "suitable for any audience"? The Danidoff episode seems out of its context.But the biggest mistake is to have shown Fantomas.Fantomas had no face or he had other people's faces (such as the actor's).By showing since the cast and credits the actor who plays the "hero",they make the character lose 90% of its appeal.

Feuillade had talent for story telling ,nobody can deny.The scene of the substitution retains a sense of mystery .Feuillade's greatest merit -and it's quite important-was to attract the crowds : the serial genre forced them to come back and come back again if they wanted to know if the criminal would be finally caught.He was the granddaddy of so many series and miniseries in the world that he would never be thanked enough just for that.

For people who would like to know about the first part of the novel,I would recommend Paul Féjos's "Fantomas" (1932),which includes spooky scenes in the old château and features Fandor when he was still Charles Rambert.

The De Funes movies ,unless you are a fan of the actor ,should be avoided ,for they kept nothing from the novels but some of the proper nouns.

On the other hand, Chabrol's miniseries in the late seventies /early eighties is to be commended:Helmut Berger was an ideal Fantomas and he got good support from Jacques Dufilho as Juve and from Pierre Mallet as Fandor.


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