Judex is a 1916 silent French movie serial and a pulp hero, similar to The Shadow, created by Louis Feuillade and Arthur Bernède. 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 was a mysterious avenger who dressed in black and wore a slouch hat and cloak like Aristid Bruant. This costume is strikingly similar to the costume of the American pulp hero the Shadow.The origins of The Shadow,the same man or his brother for (J.M Lofficier)…L’Ombre(in The Phantom of the Opera,by Gaston Leroux) and the father of Arsène Lupin were their parents.
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.
Judex was played by French matinee idol René Cresté and Diana was played by Musidora, who had previously played the villainess Irma Vep in Les Vampires.
Louis Feuillade was an important and extremely prolific director of early silent films. Born in Lunel, France, Feuillade attended a Catholic seminary as a boy and then served four years in the cavalry before moving to Paris in 1898. By 1902, he had become a writer for the Right Wing royalist press and four years later began working in French film as a screenwriter. A short time after that, he began directing films. In 1907, Feuillade was appointed chief of production in charge of supervising all of Gaumont films, a job he did in addition to directing. During his less-than 20-year career, the hard-working Feuillade directed over 800 films of different lengths and a wide variety of genres; he also wrote at least 100 film scripts for other directors. In 1915, he served in the French army but was seriously wounded and discharged. Feuillade is best remembered for directing the Fantomas and the Vampire series of fantasies and for being the first to utilize the camera techniques that would… read more