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Fantômas
Fantomas 70

France/Italy 1964
produced by
Luciano Ercoli, Cyril Grize, Alberto Pugliese for P.A.C., Gaumont, PCM
directed by André Hunebelle
starring Jean Marais, Louis De Funès, Mylène Demongeot, Jacques Dynam, Robert Dalban, Marie-Hélène Arnaud, Anne-Marie Peysson, Christian Toma, Michel Duplaix, Andrée Tainsy, Hugues Wanner, Henri Attal, Jacques Berger, Pierre Collet, Henri Guégan, Rudy Lenoir, Jacques de Lanoye, Jean Minisini, Bernard Musson, Dominique Zardi
screenplay by Jean Halain, Pierre Foucaud, based on the novels by Pierre Souvestre, Marcel Allain, music by Michel Magne

Fantomas, Fantomas (Jean Marais)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Supercriminal/man of thousand faces Fantomas (Jean Marais) terrorizes Paris and leaves the police baffled. Only one man, reporter Fandor (Jean Marais again), doesn't believe in the existence of Fantomas, so he cooks up a fake interview with Fantomas for his newspaper, in which the real Fantomas comes off as a bit of an idiot. Needless to say, Fantomas is not amused, so he has Fandor kidnapped, and he "persuades" him to write another, more "pleasing" article within two days time. But as soon as he's released from Fantomas' clutches, Fandor is taken into custody by the police and questioned by chief of police Juve (Louis de Funès) for two days, while his newspaper writes another scathing Fantomas-article. Fantomas is of course not amused again, so he again kidnaps Fandor, plus his girlfriend Hélène (Mylène Demongeot), whom he plans to seduce before Fandor's eyes, just to have his revenge on him. Also to have his revenge on him, Fantomas commits crimes posing as Fandor, to crush his reputation. Then he commits crimes disguised as Juve, too ...

Fandor sees to it that Fantomas' girlfriend Lady Beltham (Marie-Hélène Arnaud) gets wind of him trying to seduce Hélène, so out of jealousy, Lady Beltham sets Fandor and Hélène free - but sabotages the brakes of their getaway car ... well, they survive, but Fandor is thrown into the slammer together with Juve, because they are both suspected to be Fantomas. And then Fantomas abducts them from the prison because ... well, because it's time for an action scene most probably.

Anyways, the finale is an extended chase scene by car, motorbike, train, helicopter, speedboat, submarine, and of cours rubber dinghy. And ultimately, our heroes manage to defeat Fantomas, but he manages to make a getaway ... to return for the sequel.

 

Fans of the classic Fantomas-novels and films will probably have come to hate this broad comedy based on their hero immediately upon release, as it makes a fool not only out of their hero but out of the entire cast of characters they have come to love - and the jokes are not even spot-on, as the Fantomas-lore seems to be re-invented to go in tune with the then blossoming Eurospy genre, which meant dumbed down plots in favour of action setpieces, special effects, extravagant sets and costumes and the like - and you know, within genre confines, this Fantomas is pretty decent, the action's well executed, the sets are nice, the hero's likeable and able to play it tongue-in-cheek, Louis de Funès gives able and quite hilarious support, and the thing's rather well-paced, too ... there's just one thing: The film isn't all that funny. Oh, and another thing: The story sucks - instead of relying on proper buildup and the like, it just seems like a hanger for action scenes, lacks any real premise, and seems to end not because all relevant plotpoints are resolved but because its 100 minutes of running time are used up.

Now don't get me wrong, this is not a terrible movie, some of the action's pretty good and there's at least the occasional cuckle - but it has just got too much room for improvement to come off as an at least decent supervillain comedy.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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