HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fantomas Strikes Back Fiend with a thousand faces
Year: 1965
Director: André Hunebelle
Stars: Jean Marais, Louis de Funès, Myléne Demongeot, Jacques Dynam, Robert Dalban, Albert Dagnant, Christian Toma, Michel Duplaix, Olivier de Funès, Florence Blot, Robert Le Béal, Pietro Tordi, Henri Attal
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Having foiled the evil schemes of masked super-criminal Fantomas (Jean Marais), accident-prone Police Commissioner Juve (Louis de Funès) receives the Legion of Honour in a ceremony attended by his allies, tough guy journalist Fandor (Jean Marais again) and plucky photographer Hélène (achingly lovely Myléne Demongeot). Afterwards he receives a letter of congratulations from none other than Fantomas! Sure enough the green faced goon announces his latest evil plan on national television: to build a secret weapon that will make him master of the world. Realizing Fantomas is out to kidnap the brilliant Professor Lefebvre (Jean Marais yet again), Fandor disguises himself as the scientist and attends a conference in Rome with the aim of trapping the criminal mastermind.

Although the first Fantomas (1964) was not the runaway hit the producers had hoped for it made enough money to sire this sequel which was an even more elaborate comic book caper. Superior to its progenitor in most regards, Fantomas Strikes Back overflows with breakneck action, charming comedic set-pieces, wacky sci-fi gadgets (Juve's exploding cigars, peg-leg machinegun and raincoat with malfunctioning artificial arms figure in several hilarious gags) and outstanding pop art futuristic sets. Critics at the time carped that plot took a back seat to style and slapstick silliness but viewed today as a relic of a colourful and carefree era in Sixties French cinema the film packs charm in abundance.

Veteran director André Hunebelle (who had an interesting parallel career as a master glassmaker) was pushing seventy when he made the film but while his direction occasionally lacks focus the cast compensate with their unflagging energetic performances. For while it may seem as if French film icon Jean Marais monopolizes the screen essaying multiple roles, punching bad guys like a one-man army or exuding menace and hints of humanity under a sinister green mask as the titular villain, this movie is really an ensemble piece. Indeed the cartoon credits featuring an animated Inspector Juve, reminiscent of Friz Freleng and David DePatie's seminal titles for The Pink Panther (1964) (there is a touch of Inspector Clouseau about the self-deluding buffoonery of Juve), all but admit comedian Louis de Funès was as much the male lead as Marais. Jacques Dynam also adds to the fun as Juve's comically flustered sidekick.

This time around Funès got to shoot as many bad guys as Marais and don an array of disguises too. In fact identity confusion appears to be the film's central theme as disguises are taken to knowingly ludicrous extremes. The heroes come up with such clever counter-schemes they end up confusing each other long before Fantomas arrives on the scene. By now Juve is so paranoid he sees Fantomas everywhere and ends up sabotaging his own traps. At one point, perhaps inevitably, Juve ends up in a psychiatric hospital where he struggles to convince doctors he really is a policeman pursuing a maniacal masked super-villain.

Happily Myléne Demongeot also has more screen time this time around. More than Jean Marais in fact. With her tight outfits and delightful pout she is an undeniably captivating presence but also shoulders her own suspense sub-plot. When Hélène's prank-loving kid brother (Olivier de Funès, Louis' real-life son) ends up abducted by Fantomas, she has no choice but to sneak into a costume party as his plus one donning a very fetching Arabian Nights inspired dress in a sequence indebted to Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (1955). Whereupon it turns out Fantomas has designs on the delectable Hélène. Frankly, who can blame him? Hunebelle serves up a delirious third act wherein our heroes escape from an undersea base near an active volcano after which Fandor and Juve's car chase after Fantomas proves a trifle repetitive, save for a remarkable sky diving stunt that predates Moonraker (1979). Hunebelle reunited his cast for one final sequel with Fantomas vs. Scotland Yard (1967).

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1673 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: