Judex (1963 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Judex is a 1963 French-language crime film remake of the 1916 French film serial of the same name. Directed by French filmmaker Georges Franju, the film stars Channing Pollock as Judex/Vallieres , Francine Bergé as Jacqueline, Edith Scob as Diana and Michel Vitold as Favraux . The plot revolves the banker Favraux, receiving a threatening note from Judex demanding that he pay back people he has swindled. He is later drugged by Judex and locked away. Meanwhile the former governess Diana, kidnaps Jacqueline to try to get the banker's money. A memorable scene is the masked ball with bird-men.


The production of Judex happened by chance. French writer Francis Lacassin was writing an article on French film, and while doing research he was approached by a production manager with an idea for a film, when he suggested to do a film on Judex. The story came to Jacques Champreux who was the grandson of the original creator of Judex, Louis Feuillade. Champreux has been a fan of director Georges Franju and asked him to make the film, who accepted despite having a larger desire to remake Fantômas. Franju was not very interested in the character or original story of Judex, stating that "Judex is the only film of Feuillade that isn't good Feuillade," but he wanted to recreate the film in the style of early French cinema that he remembered from his childhood. Jacques Champreux's idea for the film was to combine Franju's film style with the elements of the story in the original Judex and started writing the screenplay with that in mind. Champreux and Franju had the film open with a costume ball where everyone is wearing animal masks. This scene is influenced by French cartoonist J.J. Grandville, who depicted people with the heads of animals and birds.

Release and reception

Judex was released in December 4, 1963 in France. The general reception for the French critics of Judex was fairly positive. Most critics applauded the homage to the original silent film serial while noting the problems that arose when with the over-conscientious approach to style and atmosphere.

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