Based on the phenomenally popular French pulp novellas, Louis Feuillade's outrageous, ambitious FANTOMAS series became the gold standard of espionage serials in pre-WWI Europe and laid the foundation for such immortal works as Feuillade's own LES VAMPIRES and Fritz Lang's DR. MABUSE films. In the first of the series of films, René Navarre stars as the criminal lord of Paris, the master of disguise, the creeping assassin in black: Fantômas. Over the course of five feature films (which combined to form a 5 1/2-hour epic), Fantômas, along with his accomplices and mistresses, are pursued by the equally resourceful Inspector Juve (Edmund Bréon) and his friend, journalist Jerôme Fandor (Georges Melchior).
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Louis Feuillade was the original master of suspense and the "well-made" tale for the cinema. He fills his screen with great detail using set design, lighting and character placement. The Fantomas series were excellent depictions of Feuillade's skills at their best.
Short of reading the Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain novels, this is an exceptional place to begin your immersion in the remarkable world of master criminal Fantomas. Louis Feuillade is perhaps better known for a handful of other films (particularly LES VAMPIRES, JUDEX and TIH MINH) but this series acutely illustrates the formative traits of his later successes. Start here and you'll likely be compelled to immediately watch the other four!