2 October 2006 | dbdumonteil
Back to Feuillade
After several uneven productions -including a Zola adaptation : "la Faute de l'Abbé Mouret"- ,Georges Franju (whose best works remain his shorts and his two first feature-films "La Tete Contre les Murs" and "les Yeux sans Visage" plus maybe "Therese Desqueyroux" )said goodbye to cinema with a return to Feuillade .A first homage was released in 1963 with his remake of "Judex" which was not bad.
"Les Nuits Rouges" is more "Judex" ,but the problem lies in the fact that it's a digest of a TV miniseries.The far-fetched plot (and I mean far-fetched) is also handicapped by amateurish acting (an international cast including Gert "Goldfinger" Froebe as a Police Inspector and poor acting by Chaplin,Champreux and Préjean.Gayle Hunnicutt ,cast as a seventies Musidora,complete with mask and tights ,is pretty photogenic on the roofs but that's all we can say of her performance.The Shadowman is none other than Fantomas,Souvestre-Allain's hero whose adventures were also transferred to the screen by Feuillade.
Actually,those adventures could have succeeded well in Old Paris,the Paris from the beginning of the XX th century,in the Fortifications and in the Bas-Fonds .In Paris 1974,they seem obsolete,uninteresting and dull.Enough is enough.
NB:Jacques Champreux,who wrote the screenplay ,was Feuillade's grandson;he also wrote (and starred in) "Les Compagnons De Baal" ,the 1969 miniseries.