1913 · Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
The first of Feuillade's three film serial masterpieces, followed by "Les Vampires" (1915) and "Judex" (1916). Feuillade took the brave task of putting to film Fantomas, already wildly popular with European audiences. The character can be seen as an outgrowth of the "hero thief" character Arsene Lupin from turn-of-the-century French fiction. But unlike Lupin, Fantomas was completely comfortable killing those who got in his way, sadistically and with no small amount of enjoyment.
The scene pictured here shows Jaques Dollon (Andre Luguetat) at the police station (sitting at the center), having been framed by Fantomas. The journalist Fandor (Georges Melchior), standing in for Inspector Juve (who is on the lam, in disguise as a hobo), stands over Dollon as a police inspector sits at a corner desk. Dollon goes on to escape, then be captured by Fantomas, who murders him, cuts off his fingers, and throws his body into the river. Fantomas then sews the fingers into a glove and commits further crimes, continuing to implicate Dollon, who in addition to being innocent, is now dead.
11 x 9 inches. Mounted on brown card stock.
Hardy, The BFI Companion to Crime, p. 125-126. (Inventory #: 131914)