Les Vampires (1915)
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Critic Reviews for Les Vampires
Louis Feuillade's extraordinary ten-part silent serial of 1916, running just under eight hours, is one of the supreme delights of film.
It's possible to overstate the extent to which all this is a bunch of fun: if shown, as it often is, in one great unnatural marathon, it can be sheer torture.
There's an excitement to the action, the suspense, the gothic look and the performances that makes it far more gripping than you'd expect a 100-year-old, seven-hour film to be.
A cracking good story...in those wonderful moments where Musidora's kohl-marked face stares right out of the screen and into your soul, it's terribly perfect.
The elaborate production, written and directed by Louis Feuillade, is an epic modern crime thriller, the precursor to many of today's multi-million dollar action films.
Audience Reviews for Les Vampires
this isn't a horror movie; it's a crime thriller. produced by gaumont to compete with the popular perils of pauline serial, it's divided into 10 parts, average 30-45 minutes. these were shown in theaters before the main feature. the story follows reporter philippe guérande's investigation of the mysterious exploits of a gang of master criminals known as les vampires. it's full of nefarious plots, disguises and daring escapes, with stunning stuntwork. musidora, a former acrobat, plays irma vep, cinema's first femme fatale, slinking around in a body stocking like catwoman. comic relief is provided by guérande's friend mazamette, who often appears to address the camera. yes it took awhile to get through, but for the most part it was highly entertaining :)
Mercifully broken into 10 parts, Les Vampires would have been better if, instead of "Irma Vep", "Vampire" had been rearranged to spell "Ima Perv". That notwithstanding, I was slightly disappointed to realize there were no real vampires involved (oh, spoiler alert maybe), rather just a gang of people committing crimes calling themselves "The Vampires." For 6 hours and 39 minutes. It took me over a week to get through all 10 parts, it was like a chore. But it gets bonus points for being from 1915, before any of the otherwise familiar elements seen in the movie technically ever existed. This doesn't mean it holds up that well in my book, but I do give it marks for originality.
an enormously entertaining 10 part french crime serial (silent), staring Musidora as Imra Vep, perhaps the sexiest femme fatale in cinema to date.
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