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Judex (Deluxe Edition)

4.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tinted.

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Occupying a delicious place between Victorian melodrama and superhero comic books, Judex is one of the great serials from the career of French movie pioneer Louis Feuillade. From his castle lair high above the countryside, mystery man Judex (granite-faced Rene Creste) seeks to protect the lovely Jacqueline, while nursing a secret hatred for her fatcat father. Multiple kidnappings, assassination attempts, and narrow escapes follow; much of the mischief is orchestrated by wicked temptress Diana Monti (Musidora, the star of Feuillade's Les Vampires). There's also a delightfully overwhelmed detective (Marcel Levesque), who's a sort of prototype of Monsieur Clouseau, and a streetwise Artful Dodger known as the Licorice Kid.

On DVD, the serial's 12 episodes and prologue are smartly tinted and feature a lively orchestral score by Robert Israel. Feuillade's use of real locations (both Paris and the Riviera figure prominently in the action) gives the film a realistic freshness that cuts wonderfully against the flamboyant plotline. When Feuillade's serials were re-discovered in the 1940s, they proved influential to a generation of filmmakers, and Georges Franju actually did a feature-length remake of Judex in 1963. Indeed, the figure of Judex remains a powerful fantasy protector: his secret lair, his disguises, his complete moral authority (although a cynic might point out that he doesn't always do a good job of protecting his ladylove--but then there'd be no cliffhangers). For all intents and purposes, Judex is Batman. He even has the cape. --Robert Horton


Special Features

New booklet essay by noted film historian Jan-Christopher Horak The Music of JUDEX (an 18-minute featurette) – Robert Israel discusses his creative process in writing the musical score.

Product Details

  • Actors: René Cresté, Musidora, René Poyen, Édouard Mathé, Gaston Michel
  • Directors: Louis Feuillade
  • Writers: Louis Feuillade, Arthur Bernède
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, Silent, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Flicker Alley
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Y4MJA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,524 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Judex (Deluxe Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As a long time fan of silent films I was familiar with JUDEX from a number of reference books and from the 1963 remake by Georges Franju which is not without interest and should also be revived. Therefore it was an unexpected pleasure to discover that Flicker Alley (the people who gave us GARDEN OF EDEN with Corinne Griffith a few years back) in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies was issuing a newly restored version of the original 1916 version.

Louis Feuillade (1873-1925) was the undisputed master of the movie serial. He took what was regarded as the cheapest form of cinematic entertainment and turned it into an art form. Although not as erotic or as violent as LES VAMPIRES his previous effort, JUDEX benefits from a tighter storyline, more fully developed characters, and some of the most remarkable photography to come out of that era. The plot is simple and is basically a reworking of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. A young man plans to avenge himself against the unscrupulous banker who ruined his family but his plans are compromised when he falls in love with the banker's daughter.

The complete film runs over 5 hours and is divided into 12 chapters. While each episode doesn't end in a cliffhanger like most American serials, the storyline is intriguing enough that you'll want to keep going just to see how it all works out. The performances by the French cast are restrained by silent film standards and use a great deal of subtle pantomime which is very effective. The real star however is the photography. Feuillade uses a mostly stationary camera but the compositions of his shots and what he does within them especially in the outdoor scenes is truly remarkable. It is easy to see why he was known as the D. W. Griffith of France.
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I don't suppose I'd ever heard of this film a year or two ago, and yet now it's one of my all time favorites. "Judex" is as good as movie-making gets. It is a serial-- over five hours of it-- and yet, unlike every other serial I've seen, it is a coherent and powerful story. It might be better to compare it to a television mini-series, only I've never seen one of those this good. "Judex" held my interest every step of the way, and has so retained its charm with me that I've already watched the whole thing a number of times. The acting and cinematography are both excellent. The accompanying music by Robert Israel is superb; I wish I had that on CD. As far as the DVD presentation, the film is not restored, but is supposedly the best quality available. There are some weak spots, but the film is always watchable, and usually looks pretty good. The tinting is visually pleasing and enhances the appropriate scenes. "Judex" would have been worth twice what I paid for it. I recommend it wholeheartedly. If I don't watch myself I'll end up starting a "Judex" fan club!
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I agree wholeheartedly with J. Sims and Chip Kaufmann. This serial is excellent in plot, music, and cinematography. Also the acting in most instances is very good and natural and not the stereotypical exaggerated facial and body motions that some people associate with silent movies. I am an ardent silent movie fan and also a serial fan and to me this is absolutely one of the best of any genre I have ever seen (including most "talkies"). In addition, it is great to see competent women able to do difficult things (e.g., Miss Daisy Torp who is an excellent swimmer and can climb into ships very well). Finally, I believe that Rene Creste who plays Judex is one of the best looking leading men of that era (or of even later eras, particularly when you can see him without the heavy dark eye makeup).
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This was such fun to watch!

As an admitted comic-book geek, it was great to see the similarities and influence the charater of Judex had with Batman.

(A secret lair, disguises and hidden identities, gadgets...)

I hadn't heard of this series until just recently, but I was familiar "Les Vampires" by Feuillade. (another great serial to watch if you haven't yet!)

While it's very campy at times, at others it's very touching. Especially when Judex thinks he's lost his secret love due to his actions.

The musical score is wonderful and fit the individual characters well, although at times it can become monotonous and I found myself tuning it out as I watched.

The special features (a discussion of the music by Robert Israel) is intersting and well-worth watching.

If you're a comic-book geek you'll appreciate where Bob Kane got some of his ideas for his creation of Batman.

(Also, if you didn't know, the Joker is based on Conrad Veidt's character in "The Man Who Laughs" -- I haven't seen this one yet, but it's next on my list)

If you are a fan of silent films and have not watched this, I highly recommend it... and if you can get your kids to sit still long enough, I think they'd like it too.
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Format: DVD
JUDEX (1916) is a French film series that I inexplicably got to see when I was very young - it must've been at my parent's favorite old neighborhood theater. The next time I saw it (which was the last time I saw it) was on AMC hosted by Robert Osborne.

This film series, described quite well here, is absolutely awesome. Not only does it show life as it was 95 years ago, it shows the people, how they lived and how they thought. For example, in one early scene, when a pledge is made, it is signified by a heil-Hitler-type salute, and we also did that as kids to salute the American flag.

Set in Paris, the story deals with the title character Judex, cinema's FIRST superhero and forerunner of the comic book. As one reviewer states, Judex is really Batman ... though I will correct that reviewer, and say Judex is Batman's great-grandfather.

Judex is aristocrat Jacques de Tremeuse (René Cresté), a man twisted by a family oath to avenge himself on the evil banker (le banquier Favraux, played by Louis Leubas) who is responsible for the death of their beloved father, the Count de Tremeuse (who is, as far as I know, unnamed and uncredited).

Judex has a brother Roger (Édouard Mathé) who has sworn the same oath of revenge for their father, but being a rather effeminate military officer, he's far from being a Batman prototype. The brothers' touching dedication to their staunch, lovable mother is profoundly symbolic (she is the Countess Dowager de Tremeuse, played most charmingly by Yvonne Dario).

Judex is quite brilliant and is clearly based on Sherlock Holmes. Lots of writers created detectives before Holmes, but Judex is a purely cinematic invention.
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