Fantomas (1947)

Article 2871 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-18-2009
Posting Date: 6-23-2009
Directed by Jean Sacha
Featuring Marcel Herrand, Simone Signoret, Alexandre Rignault
Country: France

Detective Juve matches wits with super-criminal Fantomas.

If you take the five episodes of Louis Fuillade’s serial about the title character as one unit (IMDB lists the five episodes as different movies and I’ve covered them the same way), then this is the third version that I’ve seen of this story. Unfortunately, except for the second episode of the aforementioned serial, every version I’ve seen has been in unsubtitled French, and this one is no exception. In fact, this particular version is so dependent on words to flesh out its story that I couldn’t follow the story at all, hence the vague plot description above. It does seem, though, that the Fantomas in this movie is rather different than the ones I remember from the earlier versions; in fact, there are moments where the movie made me think more of Dr. Mabuse than Fantomas. The fantastic content is more marked though; there’s some definite science fiction content, with a number of strange machines, an odd-looking helicopter, and a death ray machine. A few nice visual moments help a little, and the action scenes at the end are fun, but it looks like I’m really going to need to see this one in English to appreciate it.


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