One of the great masterpieces of the silent era. This fascinating tale about a group of petty thieves who revolt against the banality of their time by feeding on the anxiety of the Parisian upper class is a machiavellian reflection of a complacent bourgeois order on the brink of collapse; a subtle allegory for World War 1.
It gets off to a very shaky start, but on the whole, this is a terrific series built, very beguilingly, from the simplest of tools. It's the way crime-fighting is made to look so fun, while crime is made so sexy. It's the way Irma Vep is both the villain and the most interesting character. And its the way, in the outdoor scenes, that the real world becomes a playground for filmmakers. 4 out of 5 stars.
Found the UK 3-disc release, almost brand new, for £4.99 in a British Heart Foundation charity store in my town. Its up there with finding Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu brand on an out-of-print DVD, for £2.00 in an Oxfam Book Store in terms of finds.