Pssst, want to check out Judex in our new look?
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Does Georges Franju have a thing for masks? Maybe it's just that I've only seen Eyes Without a Face and, now, Judex, but there's definitely a cinematic interest there. And indeed, his Judex never really takes off the metaphorical mask and remains a figure of mystery, a vigilante without an origin or a stated motivation. But we recognize the pulp tropes. He's kind of the French answer to the Shadow. Adapted from Feuillade's 1916 serial, the film never really escapes its origins (and as a loving tribute, is probably not meant to), so the plot is rather convoluted, with the hero's helpers coming out of nowhere deep into the movie, and reversals and twists coming hard and fast, some of them hardly believable. If Judex himself remains unapproachable, the villains are better backgrounded, and Francine Bergé is particularly cool as a ruthless, well, Catwoman. She's the one to watch. Judex is a slick and stylish retro-pulp adventure that's a lot of fun in part because you never really know where it's going, and at the very least, makes you want to discover the longer silent original.
that amazon link is to the 1919 version.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!
In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #80 in Eureka!'s The Masters of Cinema Series
This movie ranks #305 in BFI's 360 Classic Feature Films Project
This movie ranks #490 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #719 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
This movie ranks #857 in The Criterion Collection