Judex (1916, Louis Feuillade), Episode 7: The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black introduces the first new character to Judex since the first chapter. There’s the prologue and then the first chapter; The Woman is the first new character since the first chapter. It’s Judex’s mom, played by Yvonne Dario (mostly in some awesome old age makeup–Judex is great with the old age makeup).

The chapter opens with her reminiscing about her sons, which turns out to be the secret origin of Judex. Dario has made René Cresté and Édouard Mathé swear to avenge themselves upon Louis Leubas–Leubas sought to financially ruin their father, as well as turn him into a cuckold. Of course, it was when Dario rejected Leubas’s advances–I’m assuming it’s Leubas, if so the old age makeup is even better–he retaliated by ruining the family.

Or at least temporarily. But long enough for tragedy.

The action then returns to the present, with Cresté visiting and trying to Dario to understand he’s in love with Yvette Andréyor and maybe he’s not capable of murder. Dario’s not having it and decides she’s going to take care of things herself.

Meanwhile, pals René Poyen and Olinda Mano decide the adults need to get them reunited, which is a whole production since Georges Flateau is staking out the house where Poyen is hiding. There’s some nice stuff with Marcel Lévesque, whose previous sins are apparently all forgiven (as he’s adorable and babysitting Poyen).

Will the boys reunion be ruined by Dario’s arrival and demand for vengeance?

It’s a good episode. Gets a little long at times–though the payoff of Musidora realizing Flateau’s an idiot and terrible criminal partner is fun–but good. Cresté’s acting is better than it ever has been before. While he’s still in a mope over Andréyor, at least it’s an active mope, as well as one with conflict.

CREDITS

Directed by Louis Feuillade; written by Arthur Bernède and Feuillade; directors of photography, André Glatti and Léon Klausse; production designer, Robert-Jules Garnier; released by Gaumont.

Starring René Cresté (Judex), Yvette Andréyor (Jacqueline Aubry), Musidora (Diana Monti), Louis Leubas (Favraux), Marcel Lévesque (Cocantin), Jean Devalde (Robert Moralés), Édouard Mathé (Roger de Tremeuse), Olinda Mano (Jean), René Poyen (The Licorice Kid), Gaston Michel (Pierre Kerjean), Lily Deligny (Miss Daisy Torp), Juliette Clarens (Gisèle), Georges Flateau (Vicomte de la Rochefontaine), and Yvonne Dario (Comtesse de Tremeuse).


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