From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Feuillade had made two earlier serials, Fantômas and Les Vampires, about cunning criminals. Though popular with audiences, the serials both drew criticism for glorifying outlaws. Feuillade answered these concerns by creating the hero Judex, who had the sinister trappings of the flamboyant villains so popular at the time.
Judex anticipated later pulp heroes and superheroes in many respects. He was a masterful fighter, an expert at disguise, and boasted a secret headquarters. In the subterranean passages beneath a ruined castle Judex had a base outfitted with technological gadgets. He also had a secret identity, as Judex (the Latin word for judge) is a nom-de-guerre he has adopted in his quest for revenge.
The story is complex and is told in 12 chapters. The basic plot involves a corrupt banker named Favraux, who is the target of Judex's revenge. Complicating matters is Favraux's beautiful and innocent daughter Jacqueline, with whom the avenger has fallen in love. A final element comes in the form of Diana Monti and her criminal gang who are working at cross purposes with Judex.
Though Judex was made in 1914, the outbreak of World War I delayed its release. It was finally premiered in December 1916, and subsequently in wider release in 1916-1918.
A sequel serial was released in 1918 titled Judex's New Mission (La Nouvelle Mission de Judex).
Cast (in credits order)
- René Cresté - Jacques de Tremeuse aka Judex
- Musidora - Diana Monti aka Marie Verdier
- René Poyen - Le môme Réglisse
- Édouard Mathé - Roger de Tremeuse
- Gaston Michel - Pierre Kerjean
- Yvonne Dario - Comtesse de Tremeuse
- Yvette Andréyor - Jacqueline Aubry
- Juliette Clarens - Gisèle
- Jean Devalde - Robert Moralés
- Georges Flateau - Vicomte de la Rochefontaine
- Louis Leubas - Le banquier Favraux
- Marcel Lévesque - Cocantin
- Olinda Mano - Le petit Jean