Serial film  

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"The silent film pioneer Louis Feuillade directed five Fantômas serials starring René Navarre as Fantômas, Bréon as Juve, Georges Melchior as Fandor, and Renée Carl as Lady Beltham. They are regarded as masterpieces of silent film. His later serial Les Vampires, which concerns the eponymous crime syndicate (and not actual vampires) is also reminiscent of the Fantômas series.

There was a 1920 20-episode American Fantômas serial directed by Edward Sedgwick starring Edward Roseman as Fantômas, which bore little resemblance to the French series. In it, Fantômas's nemesis is detective Fred Dixon, played by John Willard. It was partially released in France (12 episodes only) under the title Les Exploits de Diabolos (The Exploits of Diabolos). A novelization of this serial was written by David Lee White for Black Coat Press under the title Fantômas in America in 2007."--Sholem Stein

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Serials, more specifically known as Movie serials, Film serials or Chapter plays, are short subjects originally shown in theaters in conjunction with a feature film. They were related to pulp magazine serialized fiction. Also known as "chapter plays", they were extended motion pictures broken into a number of segments called "chapters" or "episodes". Each chapter was screened at the same theater for one week, and ended with a cliffhanger, in which the hero and heroine found themselves in a perilous situation with little apparent chance of escape. Viewers had to return each week to see the cliffhangers resolved and to follow the continuing story. Serials were especially popular with children, and for many youths in the first half of the 20th century a typical Saturday at the movies included a chapter of at least one serial, along with animated cartoons, newsreels, and two feature films.


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Public domain

Several serials are now in the public domain. These can often be downloaded legally over the internet or purchased as cheap DVDs. The list of public domain serials include:

Selected film serials

Selected serials of the Silent Era

Serials of the golden age of serials

The "golden age" of serials is generally from 1936 to 1945.

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Other notable serials





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