The Judex Files: The Twilight Bark

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Judex, like Tarzan and Dr. Dolittle and other heroes, has a close rapport with the animal kingdom, so in episode 3 of Feuillade’s serial he responds to a distress signal carried by bird, but jumping into action with a kind of canine armada.

I was reminded of Buster Keaton’s rather disparate Huskies in THE FROZEN NORTH, as Judex apparently favours variety when selecting his dumb chums. The lead hound resembles a bear cub, possibly to strike terror into his enemies and cloud their minds. Criminals are a superstitious lot.

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Print damage: mysterious French writing flashes up the screen sideways, looking like it’s been stenciled on the wall.

This section of the serial does get rather, well, episodic, as the banker’s innocent daughter is repeatedly kidnapped by Musidora and her jailbird accomplice. Just for variety, they decide to kill her next time, then fall back on abduction with no apparent explanation for this change of approach. Still, if an outlaw can’t be whimsical, what is the good of being an outlaw?

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Louche-ness personified. All they need is an Aspidistra to chew and the effect would be complete. Musidora, we note, unlike Judex, is no friend to the animal kingdom.

In other news, the Liquorice Kid gets adopted into the foster home of the banker’s rather girlish grandson, so they can continue their childlike romance. It is really one of the more unusual relationships I can remember seeing, two little boys, one of them psychologically an adult, the other psychologically and physically a girl.

Also, Pierre Kerjean (Gaston Michel), the raddled old victim of the evil banker’s perfidy, who got fatally run over by a death-jalopy in the prologue, unexpectedly rises from his sickbed, not only not dead but positively alive. So that’s nice. I like looking at his elongated, broken face. According to the IMDb, Michel enjoyed similar recuperative powers in reality, expiring as he did in 1921 but making his last screen appearance in 1932.

 

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4 Responses to “The Judex Files: The Twilight Bark”

  1. In Franju, Francine Berge plays Musidora, and her accomplice is Theo Sarapo — Edith Piaf’s last husband

  2. There was a period when American films could only be copyrighted as a series of still photos, so some Keystones and such survived as paper positives in the Library of Congress. Wondering if there were a similar deal in France, as that one frame looks like the letters and the bars (a logo?) were embossed on a still image.

  3. It’s possible — the print is obviously sourced from different copies of varying quality, that bit might even be from a US paper copy. Of maybe it’s just a weirdly faded rubber stamp job.

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