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Les Vampires

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque, Jean Aymé, Fernand Herrmann
  • Directors: Louis Feuillade
  • Writers: Louis Feuillade
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: eOne Films
  • Release Date: May 17 2005
  • Run Time: 399 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 6305837147
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #90,047 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

A legendary seven-hour silent crime serial in ten episodes. "Les Vampires" follows the exploits of a brazen and resourceful band of arch-criminals who rob the rich, transfix the elite of France, and almost elude the obsessive pursuit of crusading journalist Phillipe Guerande and his sidekick Mazamette. A series of Grand Vampires with names such as Satanas and Venomous share the irresistible Irma Vep (an anagram of "vampire") as strategist and mistress. Sometimes seductively garbed in a black body stocking and a black hood, sometimes disguised as a boy or hidden in plain view as a maid, stenographer or bourgeois spinster, feared and desired by both her cohorts and stalkers, Irma is perhaps the first liberated screen woman. Shot off-the-cuff by writer-director Louis Feuillade in the streets and interiors of 1915 Paris, "Les Vampires" was banned by the Paris police for glorifying crime. A smash hit when finally released, and for fifty years celebrated as a masterpiece of French cinema, "Les Vampires" is complete and restored, with English titles and inserts, tints and an evocative orchestral score.


This legendary seven-hour silent French serial, one of the earliest and most original gangster films, combines realism and fantasy. Written and directed by Louis Feuillade, Les Vampires concerns an intrepid reporter's pursuit of a strange gang of jewel thieves terrorizing Paris. The gang ambitiously seeks political, psychological, and sexual domination of the city's social elite, with the seductive Irma Vep (an anagram of "vampire") as its brazen leader. While slow going at first, the 10-part serial becomes more and more fascinating with each episode, thanks in large part to the alluring Musidora as Irma Vep. Because of her many guises and frightful charms, she truly becomes a vampire of sorts. Feuillade achieves a subversive, nightmarish atmosphere amid the everyday goings-on of the city. Filmed on the streets and back alleys of World War I Paris, the 1915 picture was a huge commercial success, though temporarily banned by Paris's chief of police for glamorizing crime. --Bill Desowitz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I took the two 1 star reviews to heart and bought a second hand copy instead. It came perfect. (I would give this movie a 3 1/2 stars rather then the full four stars)

As for the movie. To me any silent movie is pretty cool, but now having over 150 of them I could see this with a more critical eye.
There were some very cool shades of toning on the various scenes. I have seen old movies where the outside scenes are in blue tint and the interior shots are in sepia (Broken Blossems is and example) , but this movie had at least five tints! blue, sepia, dark sepia (interior dark) green, and red and seemingly endless varieties of shades.

The acting by the main charachter was above par for the period, but his friend (Mamzette) and many supporting male actors was often terrible...though the female actors didn't seem to fall into the trap the men fell into so often. Mamzette should have been in a comedy or something as he constantly kept looking at the camera as though we were there, but often he was simply peeking or looking for cues or who knows what, or just hamming it up. He got a little better near the end, but overall he was quite distracting. His looking at the camera seemed to be for a variety of reasons, some of it to include the viewer, but that was only part of it. He was constantly aware of the camera and kept playing to it...almost as if he wanted to be sure he was being filmed. It was often very silly or distracting. Other players in the movie also had this habbit for looking at the camera so it got a bit silly at times as it was pretty clear they were following coaching, often in mid "act".

One thing that really bothered me was the complete destruction of the original parts you read.
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Format: DVD
I know -- this is a classic of world cinema, and it's seven hours of heaven to people who love film. Which is what makes this review so frustrating. When I opened this, I noticed that all seven hours is contained on one disc. The DVD is two-sided, which is technically brilliant, and not something I'm that familiar with seeing. Unfortunately, someone should have told the distributor about it, because when you order from amazon, you will receive your DVD with a great big sensor tag smack in the middle of what someone obviously thought was the blank side of the DVD. Removing it ruins the film. Oh, and opening the box to see if your tag is on there violates amazon's returns policy. Amazon, I love you guys, you're the best game in town, but this is a bit of a hiccup. Maybe the sensor tag only went on a couple of these suckers -- I dunno. I'd like to get the film but ordering it again will be a gamble -- a sensor tag this time or not?
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Format: DVD
The first thing to note about this film is that it is not about vampires, at least not in the traditional (bloodsucking, garlic, crosses) sense of that word. Instead, we have a glorious series of tales about a criminal gang and the attempts of a reporter and his sidekick to catch up with them. The viewer may sympathise with these attempts, but it is hard not to chear on Irma Vep and her 'vampire' colleagues. She is one of the great silent characters and everyone in the film, as well as the viewer, may be said to be half in love with her, half afraid of her. This film, or series of films, is very long, but it draws the viewer in, especially if viewed over a few successive days. Eventually one feels almost a part of the film's world. This world it should be remembered is the world of 1915-16, the first world war is raging nearby. It is quite staggering to think that a film like this could be made under these circumstances. This DVD is very well produced. The picture is almost invariably clear and there is no jerkiness in the movements of the actors. The tinting is subtle and adds to the mood of the scenes. The music has a series of recurrent themes which one begins to recognize and welcome as they reappear. The added bonus of two short features, featuring actors from the film, serves mainly to emphasise the production's wartime origins. One is for the relief of war orphans, the other an exhortation to serve France at the front. This film is not at all well known. It is to be hoped that this fine DVD can give it some lasting fame all these years later.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I saw first Fantomas because my mom talked a lot about it. She saw it in the movies when premiered in France and never mentioned Les Vampires.
I enjoyed Les Vampires much more.
Of course, you have to set yourself in the period. Excellent product and restauration of the film (for now?? . The marketing business is alway keeping improving and removing minor scratches, contrast, etc. For sure sometime in the future there will be a better one.
But if you like old movies don't hesitate for this set.
This serial is much better than the bad (my opinion) Batman serial of the 40's...
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Format: DVD
I have to confess that I first saw "Les Vampires" for academic reasons; because of its influence on the Surrealist movement. But now, having seen the entire series (lovingly restored) on its own terms, I think "Les Vampires" is just what it was originally meant to be-- an exciting, humorous adventure story and sort of a precursor of James Bond. The basic idea is that an investigative reporter becomes privy to the secrets of a criminal gang called "The Vampires" and manages to foil many of their plans. At the same time, WE become privy to the plans and in-fighting that go on between the Vampires and other criminal gangs. The main continuing character on the Vampires' side is Irma Vep, a beautiful cross between Mata Hari, Houdini and John Dillinger. At some point she falls prey to a criminal hypnotist, but she is always an interesting character in her own right and often sympathetic.
Technically, the DVD is wonderful; it contains the entire series on one disk, as well as several promotional films starring members of the cast. The film itself is transfered very well and is appropriately tinted; the entire project was obviously a labor of love, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
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