Fantômas contre Fantômas (1914)    1 Stars

 

Fantômas contre Fantômas (1914)
Fantômas contre Fantômas (1914)

 

Director: Louis Feuillade

Cast: René Navarre, Georges Melchior, Laurent Morléas

Synopsis: A police inspector finds himself accused of being the very master criminal he is endeavouring to capture.

 

 

 

 

 

Fantômas contre Fantômas, the fourth entry in Louis Feuillade’s epic series about Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre’s master villain Fantômas (René Navarre) sees Inspector Juve (Edmond Breon) imprisoned on suspicion of being Fantomas for no other reason than a newspaper report raises the possibility It’s an accusation that could easily be disproven in real life, and is typical of the fantastic plot contrivances that mark the series out as a product of a bygone age when audiences were much more willing to accept such flights of fancy in their stride. While the good inspector is stewing behind bars, Fantômas, in the guise of a kindly old man, falls in with a pair of killers who have murdered a delivery man for the jewels he was carrying. In a moderately effective scene that would have no doubt been handled with greater dramatic impact if the film had been made just a few years later, the body of the man, which has been concealed behind a false wall, is discovered when a workman is alarmed to find blood dripping from a hole he has drilled into the wall.

Fantômas’s ruthless credentials, already clear from the earlier films, are reinforced when he plots to have his entire gang captured by the police so that he alone reaps the benefits from their ill-found booty. He also gets to investigate his own crimes under the guise of an American detective with the quaint name of Tom Bob. Coming in at just under one hour, Fantômas contre Fantômas makes for painless, if rather uninspired, viewing, which is marred only by the fact that individual scenes are allowed to drag on far too long. There is little connection to the previous films in the series which mean those who haven’t seen those films can watch this one without getting lost, but if lines like “Madam, someone has killed a man in your garden” make you cringe this isn’t one for you.

(Reviewed 20th April 2015)

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