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Les Vampires (Silent) (1915)
Rating:
Starring: Musidora, Edouard Mathe, Marcel Levesque, Jean Ayme, Fernand Herrmann
Director: Louis Feuillade
Category: Foreign, Suspense / Thriller
Studio: Image Ent.
Subtitles:
English
Length:
399 mins

 
 

 

A legendary seven-hour silent crime serial in ten episodes, Les Vampires follows the exploits of a brazen and resourceful band of arch-criminals who rob the rich, transfix the elite of France, and almost elude the obsessive pursuit of crusading journalist Phillipe Guerande and his sidekick Mazamette.A series of Grand Vampires with names such as Satanas and Venomous share the irresistible Irma Vep (an anagram of Vampire) as strategist and mistress.Sometimes seductively garbed in a black body stocking and a black hood, sometimes disguised as a boy or hidden in plain view as a maid, stenographer or bourgeois spinster, feared and desired by both her cohorts and her stalkers, Irma Vep (Musidora, who achieved cinema immortality in this part) is perhaps the first liberated screen woman.

Shot off-the-cuff by writer-director Louis Feuillade in the streets and interiors of 1915 Paris, Les Vampires is "full of disappearances and disguises, sudden deaths and uncanny resurrections, hidden trapdoors and secret tunnels, car chases and rooftop escapes."Banned by the Paris police for glorifying crime, a smash hit when finally released, and for fifty years celebrated as a masterpiece of French cinema, Les Vampires is available for the first time in the the United States, complete and restored, with English titles and inserts, tints and an evocative orchestral score.