Judex

1963

Crime / Drama / Thriller

150
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 82%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2,246

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 28, 2020

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
897.82 MB
1280*720
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
98 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.63 GB
1920×1080
French 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
98 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by masked film critic 10 / 10 / 10

Haunting, sublime crime drama

Franju's evocation of a lost innocent era of French silent cinema is a real gem, and a much neglected film. The film creates an air of gentle menace from the opening scenes featuring a bird-masked magician at a masked ball. We soon learn that he is, in fact, Judex, the legendary crime-fighter. He soon becomes engaged in a battle with a cat-suited female criminal. The plot itself is one-dimensional comic-strip stuff, as the above suggests, but what constantly impresses is the poetic set-pieces Franju sets up, particularly a burglary at a country house swathed in mists. The show is continually stolen by Francine Berge, as the criminal - she seems a not-too-distant relation of Diana Rigg in television's "The Avengers", at least in dress sense - and this highlights a slight problem. The hero, played by American magician Channing Pollock, is bland by comparison, as is Edith Scob's heroine-in-distress. It seems that the bad girls get all the fun! Overall, this is the type of film that doesn't get made any more, yet doesn't seem dated. Franju's more famous "Les Yeux Sans Visage" is, in terms of mood, very similar, as is Cocteau's breathtaking fairy tale, "La Belle Et La Bete". The sixties British horror, "The Haunting", also pulls the same trick of showing little by achieving everything through mood alone. Do try to see all of these if you get the chance.

Reviewed by elis_jones 8 / 10 / 10

Worthy of a viewing

Georges Franju is an unfairly neglected director - overshadowed by Godard and Truffaut, he fell quickly out of favour as a filmmaker, although he is revered as co-founder, with Henri Langlois, of the Cinematheque Française in Paris shortly before World War 2. The influences to be seen in Franju's films are not those of New Wave directors: Hollywood film noir and trashy American novels. He is more in tune with German Expressionism and, as perhaps befits a film archivist, with silent cinema. So JUDEX is a very affectionate tribute to Louis Feuillade, and shares its title with a 1916 serial. As the title character Franju cast a magician - Channing Pollock - and other actors include the wonderful Edith Scob (unforgettable in Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE), Andre Melies (son of Georges) and Theo Sarapo (one-time lover of Edith Piaf). The music is by Maurice Jarre, and adds to the dreamlike nature of the whole story. JUDEX may not be a great film, but it is a truly wonderful film. Just let it wash over you, and the memory of it may haunt you for a surprisingly long time!

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 8 / 10 / 10

JUDEX (Georges Franju, 1963) ***1/2

I never had the opportunity to catch up with this one during my childhood and, for a long time, I had to make do with an intriguing still of the lead character in a large bird mask and holding what appears to be a dead dove. Three years ago, I managed to get hold of a VHS copy duped from what, reportedly, is the only French-language version (an extremely fuzzy 16mm print with barely-legible English subtitles) in existence! Its dire condition had affected my initial judgment and I didn't enjoy the film as much as I hoped I would. Then, two years later, Flicker Alley released the original 12-episode Silent serial of 1916-17 by Louis Feuillade (whose length totals over 5 hours) and I decided to try the Franju film again as a companion piece; this time, I was determined to overlook the deficiencies of the print and just go along for the ride - and, sure enough, it proved to be a much more rewarding experience! This third viewing, then, came by way of an Italian-dubbed 'variant' I recorded off TV which is in much better shape and, despite being apparently trimmed (95 mins. against the official 104), I opted to keep it as the former is a real chore to sit through! Anyway, much as I admired the already wonderful Feuillade version (which, for the record, I also rate ***1/2), I found the later film - to my mind, an immensely satisfying compression of it - to be even superior because of its genuine touches of poetry and magic, even surrealism (such as the afore-mentioned costume party scene in which Judex - already hiding his true identity under an alias and his features behind layers of make-up - turns up donning a symbolic pigeon mask). In fact, the title role is played by real-life magician Channing Pollock which allows his celebrated act to be cleverly incorporated into the narrative! I would venture to say that Franju's JUDEX is one of the best remakes ever made - fascinating, exciting and imaginative. The timing of its release (coming immediately prior to the espionage boom of the 1960s) ensured that the film also be viewed as a fond farewell to the days of old-fashioned crime (though gadgetry - soon to go overboard, i.e. when the James Bond extravaganzas descended to the level of a comic-strip - is still present, such as the mirror which allows Judex to peek at his captive and even communicate with him by writing on the glass panel itself). For all his limitations as an actor, Pollock displays all the stoicism of the typical superhero and carries a genuine screen presence. Besides, Francine Berge' has to be one of the most captivating villainesses to ever grace the screen - utilizing several disguises in the realization of her evil schemes, none more fetching than the skin-tight black outfit (which she also sports when engaging in the climactic roof-top fight with an equestrienne, played by Sylva Koscina in a splendid cameo). Franju regular Edith Scob, then, is the doe-eyed heroine and there's also amiable support from the characters of the detective Cocantin and a resourceful boy who eventually becomes his sidekick. Another of the film's major assets is a subtly haunting score from Maurice Jarre (the last of eight collaborations with Franju, among them the latter's masterwork EYES WITHOUT A FACE [1960]). The film - co-written by Jacques Champreux (grandson of Louis Feuillade!) and produced by Robert De Nesle (later associated with the dubious work of Jess Franco!) - is a veritable connoisseur's treat and a sheer delight from beginning to end. Franju later made the similar SHADOWMAN (1974; in which Champreux himself took the lead role!) but, by this time, such escapist fare was strictly old hat and, in any case, the result only worked in fits and starts. Another film in the same vein - which I own on VHS and I've been meaning to catch up with for some time - is the Russian-made 4½ hour Silent serial, MISS MEND (1926).

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