Georges Franju, director of the brilliant French horror film Eyes Without a Face, decided to remake Louis Feuillade’s classic 1916 serial Judex in 1963.
Judex is about a crooked banker who is threatened by a mysterious individual named Judex. He has until midnight to pay back the money he has stolen. The banker refuses and Judex captures him, leaving the world to suspect the banker’s death, but spares his life when the banker’s daughter refuses the inheritance. Soon the daughter is being attacked by the evil Diana, who is after the money and runs around in a skin tight black body suit and mask. It’s up to Judex to save the day.
Judex is a cloaked figure of justice. Well his costume is a just a cloak, no mask but he was the precursor to vigilante heroes like Zorro and the Shadow. Louis Feuillade originally created Judex as a response to his previous films Fantomas and Les Vampires which where about some pretty cool criminal organizations and were criticized because some felt at the time that the films glamorized crime. Judex was an attempt to glamorize justice. Georges Franju’s remake tries to capture the silent serial fun of Feuillade’s films while adding a touch of the surreal. The film is really good and Criterion has just released the 1963 film unto blu-ray and have done their usually excellent job of presenting a lost classic back to the world.