The Sunday Intertitle: The Judex Files
Suddenly realised I don’t want to write a weekly piece about JUDEX, because I don’t want to watch an episode a week, I want to DEVOUR it. So I think I’ll accelerate the pace.
Now read on.
In Episode 1, the characters we met in the Prologue continue their narratives, even the evil banker, who died. It turns out he’s now a prisoner of mysterious crime-fighter Judex, played by the glowering, hawk-faced René Casté. As Batman has his Robin, Judex has his brother Roger. A curious mismatch of names. What were their parents thinking? Does Roger envy his brother’s cool name?
The bros inhabit a ruined castle where they have constructed a high-tech HQ — it has a telephone and radiators and stuff. Their prisoner can be observed in his cell using a moving mirror. As the plot has it, Judex drugged the banker with a chemical whose effects imitate a fatal embolism, then stole him from his grave, revived him, and planned to kill him again, but because the banker’s daughter has given the family’s ill-gotten fortune to charity, he commutes the death sentence to life imprisonment. Judex’s brand of solitary confinement seems like a punishment worse than death.
This episode features an exciting phone call from the dead — a seemingly supernatural occurrence immediately explained away by flashback. Judex has the banker phone his daughter to apologise for his sins — of course, this terrifies the poor woman, having dead dad ring up in the middle of the night. Judex needs to work on his people skills.
Meanwhile, villainous Diana Monti – the sultry Musidora — and Morales, her jailbird associate, begin plans to abduct the banker’s daughter, ostensibly at the service of a smitten young man who’s been taking piano lessons from her, but really to serve some mysterious agenda of their own.
Also, in this week’s exciting episode: pigeons!
We still haven’t met the mysterious figure listed in the credits as The Liquorice Kid.