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Criterion Collection: Judex [Blu-ray] (Version française)

Channing Pollock , Francine Bergé , Georges Franju    Unrated   Blu-ray

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Criterion Collection: Judex [Blu-ray] (Version française) + Criterion Collection: Picnic at Hanging Rock [Blu-ray] + Criterion Collection: L'Eclisse [Blu-ray]
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Product Description

Special Features

New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Interview from 2007 with the film’s cowriter Jacques Champreux, the grandson of Louis Feuillade, co-creator of the silent serial Judex. Interview from 2012 with actor Francine Bergé Franju le visionnaire, a fifty-minute program from 1998 on director Georges Franju’s career and imagination. New English subtitle translation. Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Geoffrey O’Brien, along with reprinted writings by and excerpted interviews with Franju.

Product Description

This effortlessly cool crime caper, directed by Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face), is a marvel of dexterous plotting and visual invention. Conceived as an homage to Louis Feuillade’s 1916 cult silent serial of the same name, Judex kicks off with the mysterious kidnapping of a corrupt banker by a shadowy crime fighter (American magician Channing Pollock) and spins out into a thrillingly complex web of deceptions. Combining stylish sixties modernism with silent-cinema touches and even a few unexpected sci-fi accents, Judex is a delightful bit of pulp fiction and a testament to the art of illusion.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edward Gorey's Favorite Movie. June 21 2014
By Chip Kaufmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
If you have never seen Georges Franju's 1963 remake of Louis Feuillade's 1917 serial JUDEX then you owe it to yourself to catch this remarkable film. Franju (1912-1987) is best remembered for his poetic, much copied horror film EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1959) but he made a number of other movies including this as well as the shocking pre-PETA documentary THE BLOOD OF THE BEASTS (1949) which was filmed inside a French slaughterhouse. He was also a co-founder of France's Cinemateque Francaise and his movies bear the striking visual look of older films especially silents. Once you've seen one of Franju's film, it's unlikely that you'll forget it. His last film, NUITS ROUGE (1974), was a remake of the 1914 Feuillade serial FANTOMAS.

After the international success of EYES, Franju decided to pay homage to France's great serial filmmaker Louis Feuillade (1873-1925) whose LES VAMPIRES (1916) would influence crime and crimefighter films for decades. He chose JUDEX because of its BATMAN like qualities which he thought a modern audience could relate to. Although set in 1917 and shot in stunning black & white, the film is deliberately anachronistic with contemporary fashions and make-up and the overall look of the French New Wave. American magician Channing Pollock makes a suitably imposing Judex although he's dubbed and the young Edith Scob (HOLY MOTORS) is a thoughtful if somewhat melancholy damsel-in-distress. The score by Maurice Jarre complements the action perfectly.

The show belongs to Francine Berge' (just as it did her predecessor Musidora) as the villainous Diana Monti. Her black outfit is straight out of THE AVENGERS although Diana Rigg's Emma Peel wouldn't show up until 2 years later. The story is essentially the same as the silent. An unscrupulous banker "dies" in the film's most remarkable set piece only to find himself captive of a black clad figure (complete with cape) intent on justice. Meanwhile a greedy governess plans to murder his daughter in the hopes of getting the family's money. After a series of abductions, rescues and narrow escapes, all works out for the best. This was reportedly illustrator Edward Gorey's favorite movie and it is truly one-of-a-kind. The Criterion Blu-Ray and the DVD transfers are stunning!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed this film before but this is the first time ... Aug. 18 2014
By Eric L. Hoffman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed this film before but this is the first time a beautiful transfer has been done of it for our forma. I wish they had also done one with THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE a.k.a. SHADOWMAN the same way, as they did in England...in fact, both films were released in Britain as a 'double-bill' on dvd over there.

JUDEX is a little ethereal in its pace, but I like it...the masquerade sequence stands on its own.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and beautifully filmed June 23 2014
By Robert Ashton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Georges Franju's "Judex" (the avenger or judge) is a remake of a 1916, 12 part crime serial by Louis Feuillade. He retains much of the feel of the old serial melodramas including clear scene breaks but he adds many innovations that make this a fascinating and rather strange film.

Franju is clearly interested in the visual impression he makes. The plot and acting are rather secondary. We never know, for example, what Judex is avenging (the original made this clear). He filmed "Judex" using orthochromatic cinematography, which produces a harsh tonal contrast that is key to the stunning visual impact of this movie. It is filmed in black and white but is also literally black and white, using strong contrasts of black clothes and capes with white dresses; dark furniture and white stone and so on. The final fight to the death between two women has one dressed in black and one in white. Undoubtedly, for me, the best scene in the movie is a long shot that slowly reveals Judex in evening wear and sporting a large bird's head mask and holding an apparently dead dove which he carries slowly through a masked party. It is both surreal and frightening, supported by music by Maurice Jarre. This scene alone makes the movie worth having and it must rate as one of the best shots in movie history. Criterion's Blu-ray release showcases the magnificent photography.

The story is relatively straightforward. A wicked banker (a convincing Michel Vitold), who is shown willing to kill, is apparently murdered by an unidentified avenger, Judex (played in a rather limited way by magician, Channing Pollock). In fact, due to the virtues of his daughter (the almost Pre-Raphaelite Edith Scob ), Judex has decided to imprison him for life. However, the plot is complicated by a wicked ex-governess, marvelously played by Francine Berge, who proceeds to kidnap and attempt to kill various characters. In the end, of course, right wins out and the hero gets the girl. Berge is really evil and there is good comic relief from a private detective and a young boy(Jacques Jouanneau and Benjamin Boda respectively).

Franju makes a movie that is a homage to a melodrama of the past, an early version of camped-up superheroes, a morality play and a surreal dream. Hard to accurately describe, "Judex" is the work of a master film maker.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites! Sept. 9 2014
By Ol' Jon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Stunning restoration and eerie / mystical tone make this one a winner. I'd rate it PG. One of a kind.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "DEADLY!"....AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY! Aug. 22 2014
By RANDEL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
As someone who has never forgotten the eerie fascination of Franju's LES YEUX SANS VISAGE, I leapt at the chance of seeing another of his films. But alas, this film (in many ways) is just as disappointing as LES YEUX is mesmerizing. I frankly don't understand why he made it at all. According to his own account, he wanted to do a modern remake not of JUDEX, but of FANTOMAS, but he couldn't get the rights. So he went ahead with a deadly cast of non-actors and made a film which he himself described as devoid of "humanity." And (as he added) "without humanity, there can be no drama." Watching the film is a genuine ordeal. It is very stylized, often looking amazingly like Alain Resnais' MARIENBAD, but without any of the ambiguities that make MARIENBAD intriguing. The leading lady (Edith Scob) spends most of the film (clearly under Franju's direction) looking like a stylishly-coiffed zombie, and the leading man is a stick. [Unfortunately, Edith Piaf's last young lover, Theo Sarapo is no better. Clearly his early death was no loss to the cinema.] I love French films, but I would nominate this film as THE PLAN-9 FROM OUTER SPACE of the French cinema.

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