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Fantomas: Five Film Collection (1913)

Rene Navarre , Edmund Breon , Louis Feuillade  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Fantomas: Five Film Collection + Les Vampires: 2-Disc Kino Classics Edition + Judex (Deluxe Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Rene Navarre, Edmund Breon, Georges Melchior, Rene Carl
  • Directors: Louis Feuillade
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010
  • Run Time: 311 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003MT2EK0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,064 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Two audio commentaries by film historian David Kalat on Fantômas in the Shadow of the Guillotine and Juve vs. Fantomas
  • A pair of Feuillade shorts on the first disc, The Nativity (1910) and The Dwarf (1912)
  • A 10-minute documentary on the director: Louis Feuillade: Master of Many Forms
  • Image gallery

  • Editorial Reviews

    The Fantômas series is a silent crime film serial consisting of five episodes (in a 3-Disc set), based on the novels of the same name, each an hour to an hour and a half in length, which end in cliffhangers, i.e., episodes one and three end with Fantomas making a last minute escape, the end of the second movie has Fantômas blowing up Lady Beltham's manor house with Juve and Fandor, the two heroes, still inside. The subsequent episodes begin with a recap of the story that has gone before. Each film is further divided into three or more chapters that do not end in cliffhangers.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The GREAT Grandaddy Of All Crime Thrillers. September 6, 2010
    Verified Purchase
    For those of you not familiar with Louis Feuillade, he was the artistic director of France's Gaumont Studios from 1907-1918 during which time he directed or supervised over 800 films. He is best remembered today for his groundbreaking crime serials FANTOMAS, JUDEX, and LES VAMPIRES which still have the power to amaze and entertain almost 100 years later. FANTOMAS is the earliest of the three dating from 1913-14. It is the blueprint for countless crime serials that would follow where an archcriminal who is a master of disguise and head of a vast criminal empire (Fantomas) is doggedly pursued by a dedicated "supercop" (Inspector Juve) and his sidekick (Fandor) who are determined to bring him down.

    FANTOMAS was conceived on a grand scale. It breaks down into five films (IN THE SHADOW OF THE GUILLOTINE, JUVE-vs-FANTOMAS, THE MURDEROUS CORPSE, FANTOMAS-vs-FANTOMAS, THE FALSE MAGISTRATE) and runs for over 5 1/2 hours. It is full of disguises, surprises, several comic moments, a touch of the supernatural and surprising brutality. It's also a time capsule of settings and life before World War One which makes it invaluable as history. Rene Navarre and Edmond Breon as protagonist and antagonist give surprisingly restrained (and effective) performances considering that this film was made in 1913. Be warned, once you start it, it's hard to stop watching, even if you're not into silent films.

    Although it was the first to be made, FANTOMAS is the last of three great Feuillade serials to make it to Region One DVD. LES VAMPIRES and JUDEX have been available for a few years now and if you haven't seen them you should check them out as well. Gaumont did the restoration back in 1998 and the film looks astonishing for its age. It was first released on Region 2 DVD in the U.K.
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    36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars "Enfantômastic!" September 26, 2010
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    Just like its eponymous antagonist towering over Paris at dusk, Fantômas looms over the thriller genre, presaging the work of Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, and countless others. A series of five films produced in France during 1913-14 by Louis Feuillade, "Fantômas" reflected the era's fascination with outlandish criminal masterminds and nudged the thriller genre into realms of surrealism and poetic sadism. The films are linked together by virtue of the characters, but each can be enjoyed on its own terms.
    Part One, "In the Shadow of the Guillotine," introduces the basic dynamic between arch-fiend Fantômas and the duo obsessively devoted to bringing him to justice, Juve of the Sûreté and his loyal sidekick, the reporter Fandor. Fantômas quickly demonstrates his defining characteristics, an uncanny ability to assume new identities and an utter ruthlessness. His exploitation of the character of Lady Beltham borders on the vampiric. The second film, "Juve vs. Fantômas" is a fever dream of pulpish delights including a train wreck, a gun battle culminating in an inferno, and a killer boa constrictor. It concludes with Fantômas blowing up the house with the two protagonists still inside and their fates unknown. Much of Part Three, "The Murderous Corpse," plays like a fin-de-siècle police procedural as the authorities step up their investigative efforts, and the subsequent film, "Fantômas vs. Fantômas," ratchets up the surrealism with a bleeding wall and a costumed ball attended by three guests dressed as Fantômas. The final film, "The False Magistrate," offers the viewer the best opportunity to observe the villain's methods as he assumes the identity of a judicial official and abuses the position for his own nefarious gains.
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    13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars FANTOMAS: THE MOVIES' FIRST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND October 29, 2010
    By Casey62
    Verified Purchase
    French film pioneer Louis Feuillade's 1913 groundbreaking, epic crime thriller FANTOMAS is a captivating viewing experience. This five part series was based on the popular French pulp novels of the day and served as the prototype for all future films in this vein, including Feuillade's own brilliant follow up LES VAMPIRES and Fritz Lang's terrific DR. MABUSE saga.

    The intrigue is all very intricately presented with the title master criminal assuming several different identities along the way in order to throw the authorities off his track. FANTOMAS has a neatly mixed atmosphere of fantasy and realism, with its outrageous premise being played out in and around the streets of Paris before the outbreak of World War 1. This is partly what makes these films so fascinating to watch today.

    Presented with an effective music score by Catalougue Sonimage and an informative commentary by historian David Kalat, Kino's beautiful restoration preserves FANTOMAS so that modern viewers can better appreciate Feuillade's innovative masterpiece.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars those thrilling day of yesteryear January 4, 2011
    The movie serial peaked during the days of silent film, and French Director Louis Feuillade was an important part of that blossoming. I have seen two of his thrillers, Les Vampires and Judex, and found both wonderful. Now comes Fantomas, the 5-part adventures of a master criminal and his nemesis, Inspector Juve. Kino has done its usual fine job with the films, and has included audio commentary and a pair of Feuillade's short films. Highly recommended.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars FANTOMAS...100 yr.-old images spring to life!!! January 4, 2013
    Being that FANTOMAS(1913) is now 100 years old, all I need to add to the many excellent reviews is that I'm totally blown away that a movie this old can look this good. The restoration is simply amazing. Depth of background and absolute clarity of image, almost as if it all were somehow being faked, color tints to boot!

    It's a complicated serialized film with lots of plotting and daring-do, yet VERY realistic when need be, as deaths abound due to Fantomas' evil schemes.

    And it all takes place on the streets of a pre-WW1 Paris! When inspector Juve and his assistant are tailing seperate suspects throughout the streets of Paris, it's really not unlike a similar sequence in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, tailing the suspects on the streets of New York City. Downtown masses (people wandering past) and on-site location filming add to a true sense of realism.

    Great stuff all around. Worth it many times over just for the visuals. Simply fascinating to watch, all 5+ hours on 3 dvds. Truly a time capsule into another world that was soon to be lost forever...

    The origin of the crime thriller. The inspiration for Dr. Mabuse. ABSOLUTE viewing required. Get it.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars Good old-fashioned filmaking for a collector.
    This is a good 5-film collection for the collector. Not the smoothest and most sophisticated film-making by modern standards but good for the collector and actually rather... Read more
    Published 12 days ago by purchasing responder
    5.0 out of 5 stars fantomas rocks
    fantastic way to introduce yourself to the early genre of mystery on film.
    Published 2 months ago by Roger K. Romer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Simply loved Fantomas! Extras could have been better
    Simply loved Fantomas! Extras could have been better, but at least the films were great.
    Published 2 months ago by Ross Warren
    5.0 out of 5 stars One of the first thriller movies.
    As I'm watching this, this very moment.. I'm going to rack this one on my "one of my Favorites silent movies" along with Les Vampires. Fantomas is also french made. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Timothy S. Mcpherson
    5.0 out of 5 stars *Fantomas*
    *Fantomas* is phenomenal! I am a big fan of pre-1920's silent films. These were made in 1913 & while you might expect dramatic overacting (there are very few intertitles) to move... Read more
    Published 11 months ago by Maia
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantomas
    After one-hundred years, the story of Fantomas is still enthralling. A criminal mastermind is tracked down by a police detective and a reporter, and he manages to outwit them each... Read more
    Published 17 months ago by Thomas L. Canfield
    3.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY REMEMBERED
    For a black and white, silent set of movies, these were fascinating. Acting was better than I expected (not too many raised black eyebrows and rolling eyes! Read more
    Published 20 months ago by Irene C
    5.0 out of 5 stars The dawn of film is astonishing
    The first expressions of a new artistic medium are often filled with fantastic energy & liberating possibility. Read more
    Published 21 months ago by William Timothy Lukeman
    4.0 out of 5 stars Period movie
    One of the more fascinating aspects of this movie is the detailed and rich presentation of life at the turn of the century: dress, hairdos, cars, living spaces (the hotel lobby for... Read more
    Published on October 30, 2010 by Ziggy
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