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directed by Louis Feuillade
France 1916

Louis Feuillade's (pronounced "Foo-yaad") 1916 silent French 12-episode (and one Prologue) Serial entitled "Judex" represents another part of the 'primordial soup' from which all modern cinema evolved. Feuillade made over 350 films... before 1924! and is considered one of pioneers of the medium of cinema of which you can probably accredit using the fingers of one hand. Certainly he would be regarded as the patriarch of the 'serial' format. Short segments, usually around 25 minutes, linked through cliffhanging plot details to formulate full story. Often these involve chivalrous hero's battling underworld villains. Judex might be considered to be the most fantastical, bordering on what we would now consider to be comicbook-dom extravagance, also incorporating a kind of magical surrealism. True entertainment even almost 90 years later. As with Les Vampires we can see sexual gernderizing thrown for a loop with female characters often taking a fatale role with almost none of the respected stereotypes of the day.

 There can be no denying its relevance to everything cinematically that followed and I must give it out of .

Chapter Samples

Prologue (36:03): 8 Chapters
In the Episode 1 (26:20): 5 Chapters The Mysterious Shadow -
Episode 2 (39:06): 4 Chapters The Atonement
Ninth episode: (24:28) 6 Chapters When the Child Appeared -
Tenth episode: (8:44) Jacqueline's Heart - 2 Chapters
Eleventh Episode: (25:42) The Water Goddess - 5 Chapters

Theatrical Release: December 16th, 1916 - France

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Serials on disc reviewed by DVDBeaver

DVD Review: Flicker Alley -  Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Flicker Alley -  Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime approx.5 hours 15 minutes 
Video 1.30:1.00 Original aspect ratio
Average Bitrate: Disc#1- 6.50 mb/s Disc#2- 6.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes


Disc 1



Disc 2

Audio Musical accompaniment (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
Inter-titles (no other options)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Flicker Alley

Aspect Ratio:
Picture-Boxed - 1.29:1

Video: Occasional color tinting of black and white in NTSC

2 X DVD9 (One side - dual layer)

DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
Keep Case
Chapters: 78 subchapters

Edition Details:

• Complete five-hour 15 minute version in a newly tinted film transfer with a brand new English subtitle translation and orchestral score
• "The Music of Judex"
• Essay by film historian Jan-Christopher Horak

• 4 Page liner notes by Jan-Christopher Horak
• Number of discs: 2





Flicker Alley's DVD of Judex is stated as the very first reconstruction of the complete serial. It has some affiliation with the Turner Broadcasting Network where I believe it was first shown.

On Two DVD9 (Dual layered Discs), I found the image to show more damage spots, dust, scratches etc. than I was initially expecting. Distractingly so actually. Although it is difficult being overly critical I think that this transfer image is inferior to the Image Entertainment DVD18's (Dual Side, Dual layerd) of Feuillade's "Les Vampires". I can only assume that the film elements for Judex were in inferior shape to those of "Les Vampires". Judex has moments of great sharpness but is far less consistent in that area than fans might hope.

The intertitle cards, letters, signs etc. look wonderful and obvious work has been put into updated them (see below) for English only audiences. Honestly though, I think I would have preferred the originals in French with optional subtitles. They are so superior to the image that they distract from the 'feel' of watching a silent film. You go from scene with obvious damage to a perfect clean hand holding a card. It simply looks to have been modernized. Personally I think this was a mistake. Perhaps I am being over critical as they do look so exceptionally detailed and expertly done - attempting to maintain the truer attributes of the original intertitles. They look out of place to me.

There are obvious examples of ghosting (see last large capture below) and I strongly suspect that this was taken from a PAL source without conversion prior to digitizing to the DVD. Frames are obviously quite different on a silent film, but it can make the ghosting only that much more predominant.

The tinting seems much more minimal than in "Les Vampires" but is easy to distinguish lighting changes, as its usual intent. I think I prefer Judex with its less flamboyant color shifts (no strong purples or pinks).

The Extras involve 18 minutes of "The Music of Judex" involving discussion by Robert Israel and a 3 page essay (liner notes) from Jan-Christopher Horak. It's not hard to be overwhelmed by this DVD regardless of my stated complaints. It is wonderful to own for fans. I give it  out of .

                  Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading in French Cinema (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

The Films in My Life
by Francois Truffaut, Leonard Mayhew

French Cinema: A Student's Guide
by Philip Powrie, Keith Reader
Agnes Varda by Alison Smith Godard on Godard : Critical Writings by Jean-Luc Godard Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson French New Wave
by Jean Douchet, Robert Bonnono, Cedric Anger, Robert Bononno
French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present
by Remi Fournier Lanzoni
Truffaut: A Biography by Antoine do Baecque and Serge Toubiana

Check out more in "The Library"

DVD Menus



Inter-title and Text-Title Samples







 Heavy damage spots are prevalent throughout both DVDs.




Screen Captures







NOTE: ghosting from movement of character entering scene from the right.


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Flicker Alley -  Region 1 - NTSC
Serials on disc reviewed by DVDBeaver


Associated Reading  (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)




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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...