Fantômas is a 1946 French crime film directed by Jean Sacha and starring Marcel Herrand
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, Simone Signoret and Alexandre Rignault.
The film features the fictional master criminal Fantômas, created in 1911 by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. The tremendous popular success of the Fantômas novels led to the production of many films based on the series.
A first series of 5 silent films was directed by Louis Feuillade from April 1913 to May 1914. An American version of the brilliant serial was produced in the early 1920s. Shortly after the advent of sound, Paul Fejos directed a feature-length Fantômas film which combined elements from the novels and several of Feuillade’s films, together with „modernized“ plot twists. Two remakes/updates of the Fantômas films were produced in France shortly after the end of World War II (Fantomas 1946 directed by Jean Sacha and Fantômas contre Fantômas, 1949, Directed by Robert Vernay. In the mid-1960s three films were made in rapid succession starring Jean Marais (of Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête) in the double role of Fantômas and Fandor.
Fantomas, once thought dead
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, has just prevent the marriage of his daughter Helena with Fandor journalist killing the mayor who was to unite them. Then he posed an ultimatum to the Minister of the Interior: it requires a billion in gold, if not a million Parisians die. Inspector Juve decides to hide Helen and Fandor with Arthur, a former villain in whom he has confidence. Meanwhile, lady Bentham, anxious to prevent Fantômas to commit new crimes phone to Juve the whereabouts of the criminal. Fandor overhearing the conversation follows Juve to the hideout and finds himself trapped by the villain. Juve is soon to find him while investigating at Lord Grimsay’s, where Fantômas had settled. Both men, however, managed to escape while Helene in turn falls into the clutches of the criminal
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Fantômas destroys his secret laboratory before disappearing, then continues to assassinate passersby at random through his death ray. Following Burette,one of Fantômas’ accomplices, Juve and Fandor locate the new criminal lair in the catacombs. But after killing lady Beltham, Fantômas fled once more, takingHelen hostage. Fandor managed to free the girl while the truck which Fantômas hadboarded exploded on a mined bridge.
Fandor and Helen finally get married but Juve, their witness, doubts the death of the Prince of Terror.