Tag Archives: Rene Creste

Judex (1916, Louis Feuillade), Episode 6: The Licorice Kid

The Licorice Kid–René Poyen–gets his own chapter. Sort of. Poyen figures into it quite a bit, but it’s not his chapter. He doesn’t even save the day (he does help save the day).

While Yvette Andréyor is safe, René Cresté is still very sad she doesn’t like him after he threatened to kill her father and then he apparently died. So Cresté sends his brother, Édouard Mathé, to pick up Andréyor’s son–Olinda Mano. Except, because it’s Judex and no one can catch a break–villain Musidora is also after Mano. Having lost her previous compatriot, she’s teamed up with Georges Flateau; together, they both boss around adorable but morally bankrupt private investigator Marcel Lévesque.

Except Lévesque isn’t so sure about kidnapping a kid, especially not an adorable one like Mano, and he starts to have regrets. Lévesque wasn’t so upset about potentially murdering Andréyor a chapter or two ago, but whatever. He’s come around. And since Lévesque is himself adorable, it’s nice he’s a good guy again.

Lévesque and Mano are cute together. Poyen and Mathé–they team up to find Mano–are cute together, but not as cute because Mathé’s not adorable like Lévesque.

Thanks to the performances, Kid gets past its big problem–Judex needs someone in distress because instead of Cresté trying to track down Musidora, he sits around and mopes over Andréyor. It went from Andréyor being a target to Mano.

There’s a nice resolution for Poyen. Hopefully not his exit from the serial, but it would be a fine one.

Well-paced too. Judex is definitely hit its stride.

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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Judex (1916, Louis Feuillade), Episode 5: The Tragic Mill

The Tragic Mill earns its title. Villains Musidora and Jean Devalde kidnap currently sickly damsel in distress Yvette Andréyor and take her to an old mill. The kidnapping–Andréyor’s second in Judex (so far)–happens only before René Cresté arrives to protect her.

While the villains bicker over who has to actually murder Andréyor (it seems like they were expecting her illness to do her in, since she’s in desperate need of medical care), Cresté is back at Judex Base heartbroken. He’s not out trying to find Andréyor, he’s crying on brother Édouard Mathé’s arm. When it comes time for action, however, Cresté gets it together. The emotional scene is an interesting touch for the film; it makes Cresté a lot less disturbing when he’s in dread avenger mode.

It comes time for action because–initially through what appears to be great contrivance–Cresté’s new manservant, Gaston Michel. The Tragic Mill used to belong to him, before he went away for fraud. Turns out it isn’t contrivance in an wonderfully executed reveal. Judex has just enough melodrama behind the action, but never not enough action.

The chapter ends with Andréyor actually getting to do something for a scene. Her rescues, at this point, are almost guaranteed. Mill does put her face to face with Cresté for the first time and it’s a good moment. She gets actual character development later.

It’s an excellent entry. Breezy too.

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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Judex (1916, Louis Feuillade), Episode 4: The Secret of the Tomb

I was wondering how Judex was going to move forward–the last chapter ended with villains Musidora and Jean Devalde foiled in their kidnapping of Yvette Andréyor. This chapter begins with Musidora suspicious of Judex’s warnings. She convinces Devalde to investigate and they head to the graveyard. Because why wouldn’t you immediately assume there’s something fishy about someone’s death from the tense in a note.

Hence The Secret of the Tomb. Upon discovering Louis Leubas’s coffin empty, Musidora tracks down lovable private investigator Marcel Lévesque. He’s not lovable for long, however, as he throws in with Musidora and Devalde in an attempt to recover Leubas’s fortunes. Since he’s alive, Andréyor’s donation of them can be overturned.

So, being villainous (and both Musidora and Devalde are exceptional this chapter, particularly as Devalde becomes wary of their schemes and Musidora threatens him back into line), they decide to kill Andréyor.

For some reason it requires them to lure her to the countryside where her son, Olinda Mano, is in hiding. Luckily, Mano and his street-wise compatriot René Poyen are playing on the river where the villains toss Andréyor.

Where’s Judex (René Cresté) during all these goings on? Breaking in Gaston Michel as a combination butler for the underground base and jailer for Leubas.

Poyen’s fantastic here too. He’s turning out to be a better hero than Cresté.

The chapter drags a little–Andréyor has apparently been reduced to a rarely conscious damsel in distress–but the actors get it through just fine.

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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Judex (1916, Louis Feuillade), Episode 3: The Fantastic Hounds

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.

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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