Directed by Georges Franju
Adapted by Jacques Champreux and Francis Lacassin from a 1916 screenplay by Arthur Bernede and Louis Feuillade
Comtoir Francais du Film Production/Filmes Cinematografia
First viewing/Netflix rental
This is a remake of Louis Feuillade’s Judex serial of 1916 and is set in that era. It is full of cliff-hangers and surprises that I will try not to spoil! Banker Favraux is a thoroughly unscrupulous man. He made his millions through blackmail and is not above murder to solve his problems. He is marrying his daughter (Edith Scobe), a young widow, off to a man she does not love. He is in love with her daughter’s governess.
Before his daughter’s engagement party, he receives a letter from “Judex” (“Justice”) threatening him with dire consequences if he does not move to correct his evildoing before midnight. Favraux hires a detective to investigate the identity of the letter writer. Judex is true to his word and …
Every once in awhile I discover a film that makes my heart sing. This was one. It is a beautifully satisfying battle between good and evil. Lavish use is made of art nouveau style and there is a wonderful Maurice Jarre score. Franju captures the old style of melodrama without once going into camp. The use of both “real” and cinematic magic is delightful. I might even prefer this film to the director’s Eyes Without a Face (1960), which I also love. Highly recommended.