The Fantastic Hounds seems like a silly name for the chapter, but it turns out Judex’s dog pack is rather fantastic. They aren’t just able to sniff out kidnapped Yvette Andréyor, they’re able to rescue her. Sure, a ten or twenty dog pack is intimidating, but they execute their mission perfectly. Kudos to whoever trained the dogs.
But the dogs don’t open the chapter. Instead, it’s the brother of Juliette Clarens; the actor is unfortunately uncredited. Musidora and Jean Devalde shake him down for double the “ransom” on Andréyor (they’d kidnapped her so the brother could prove his worth by rescuing her). The brother turns to Clarens, who turns to their father (actor also uncredited). It’s a nice bit of acting from all concerned as the brother has to own up. Silly rich people, thinking they can just have complication free kidnappings.
So Feuillade splits the action between the brother, his family, the criminals, and then Judex and his brother. As the brother, Édouard Mathé ends up with more to do this chapter–even if he’s clearly the sidekick, though René Cresté finally gets some material in the title role. He’s mostly mooning over Andréyor, but it’s rather sweet.
After her rescue, Andréyor then has to deal with son Olinda Mano running away from hiding to visit her. Fantastic Hounds switches gears from action to family drama beautifully. The scenes with Andréyor and Mano are great.
But it’s still not over–Fantastic Hounds runs around thirty-seven minutes–because Feuillade and co-writer Arthur Bernède have another reveal. Gaston Michel didn’t die in the prologue. It’s unclear if it’s supposed to be a surprise. I just assumed he died.
Michel joins the Judex team, though so far his only job appears to be tormenting their captive–Louis Leubas.
There’s some lovely filmmaking from Feuillade here, particularly when Cresté daydreams of Andréyor who’s daydreaming of Mano. Very smooth.
Though he does have his weird perspective jump cut again at least once in Hounds (which is when the close-up jarringly changes angle from the long shot).
The Fantastic Hounds feels very much like the end of Judex’s first act.