Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Judex - Criterion Collection - Mania.com



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Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Judex - Criterion Collection

A Pulp Fiction from 1963

By Robert T. Trate     July 15, 2014
Source: Mania.com


Judex: Criterion Collection #710
© Criterion Collection
I have long said that a Criterion Collection release is like a fine bottle of wine, a vintage piece of cinema that should be cherished and savored. With all the remakes, sequels, re-boots, and prequels out there, it is tough to watch an original piece of cinema anymore. When my pallet gets dry with the same old fare, I know I can always turn to Criterion for a film to that will quench my thirst for something original and unique. This particular film comes from France, 1963 and is titled, Judex (Spine #710). 

This film is the tale of corrupt banker, Favraux (Michel Vitold), who is being blackmailed by Judex. Judex wants nothing except for Favraux to acknowledge his wrong doings and renounce his wealth. Instantly, Favraux has no idea what this Judex is talking about, but as the film begins, we see that he is as dirty as they come. 

There are a lot of intricate characters and story lines all spinning to a head. Favraux’s daughter, Jacqueline (Edith Scob,) is about to be married. Favraux, in the mean time, is all about marrying his granddaughter’s governess, Diana (Francine Berge), who has plans of her own for the rich banker.  One of the threats in Judex’s letters is that Favraux will drop dead at midnight if he doesn’t comply. He does, and when the shadow looking figure emerges with similar looking minions to robbing Favraux’s grave, the story really takes hold. 

I know that I said I was looking for something original and I thought that Judex was the solution. The film is, in fact, an homage/ tribute to a silent film of the same name from 1916.  No matter, as I had never seen the original, nor had I heard about it. What I was treated to was a strange mixture of Pulp Fiction and The Shadow. Judex emerges as a cloaked hero with his Batcave full of tricks. What was so refreshing was that the majority of this story is told from the villain’s point of view. At first, Favraux is our protagonist, but the evil of his ways is quickly revealed. There are also side stories involving a detective as well as an ex-con that lead to interesting twists. The film is riddled with multiple names for each character, thus keeping the adventure a mystery up until the final act. 

Judex takes the audience on a strange ride of intrigue and double crosses where only the truly innocent remain unscathed. The film is subtitled, but one quickly sees past all that when Judex (real life American Magician, Channing Pollock) unveils his bag of tricks. Judex is a hero for a different time, but just as clever as the caped crusader or a man who makes the mark of a Z. The heroes and villains here are just as black and white as what we are accustomed to. It is how they are revealed that made the film worth watching. 

 
Thank you, Criterion. Again, you deliver all that you promise when you release a film. 

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2. Open Grave [Blu-ray]
3. Armored Attack / North Star [Blu-ray]
4. Black Dynamite: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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Rio [Blu-ray]

Rio 2

Rio 2 (3D Blu-ray)

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
hanso 7/15/2014 4:12:22 PM

 Not really big on Criterions, though I order the one for Y Tu Mama Tambien.  Anyway, Barnes & Noble has a 50% off sale on Criterions hat runs until next week I believe.

I picked up Rio 2 as a blind buy today.

1 

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