Review: Fantômas se déchaîne (Fantômas unleashed) (1965)

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Fantomas se déchaine (1965)

Directed by: André Hunebelle | 94 minutes | adventure, comedy, crime, fantasy | Actors: Jean Marais, Louis de Funès, Mylène Demongeot, Jacques Dynam, Robert Dalban, Albert Dagnant, Christian Toma, Michel Duplaix, Olivier de Funès, Florence Blot, Robert Le Béal, Henri Attal

‘Fantômas se déchaîne’ (Fantômas unleashed) from 1965 is the sequel to ‘Fantômas’ from the previous year. In ‘Fantômas se déchaîne’ we meet again the villain Fantômas, master of disguise and lover of violence. We also renew our acquaintance with Inspector Juve, the journalist Fandor and his clever girlfriend Helene. In addition, we meet Professor Lefèvre, the man around whom everything revolves in this sequel.

Professor Lefèvre is a colleague of Professor Marchand, a brilliant scientist who has been kidnapped by Fantômas. Should this fate also befall Professor Lefèvre, Fantômas would rule the world. So it’s a matter for Inspector Juve to make Fantômas harmless. To do this, he travels to Rome with Fandor and Hélène, where the professor will speak at a conference.

This new story will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the predecessor. Yet the parts differ considerably. While the first Fantômas opted for a mix of adventure and humour, the second is all about fun. A bigger role for inspector Juve (Louis de Funès in top form) is the result. While the first part was an ensemble film, this second part is almost a one-man show by de Funès.

The humor itself also differs slightly from that in the predecessor. In addition to all the physical humor, silly faces and inevitable mistake of identity, we find here another kind of humor. It has everything to do with what Juve calls its kadshets. These gadgets are introduced with a nice meta joke, and will return for the rest of the movie. Those gadgets are kind of cast-offs from 007, such as a bizarre arm prosthesis, a cigar with a shooting mechanism and some other trinkets. Fantômas also has crazy gadgets, of which the flying car will always stay with us.

Fortunately, unlike the first part, there is little room for chases. Mylène Demongeot (Helène) has also changed from a sweet girlfriend into a sexy vamp. The only downside is inherent in the nature of a sequel: the fresh and new is gone. We are no longer shocked when we see Fantômas’s blue head. We now also know his disguises. Thus ‘Fantômas se déchaîne’ is funnier than its predecessor, but also a lot less original.

Fantomas Unleashed Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Fantasy | 98min | December 8, 1965 (France) 6.9
Director: André Hunebelle, Haroun TazieffWriter: Pierre Souvestre, Marcel Allain, Jean HalainStars: Jean Marais, Louis de Funès, Mylène DemongeotSummary: When Professor Marchand, a famous scientist, mysteriously disappears, the commissioner, Juve, immediately suspects Fantomas. Meanwhile, the journalist disguised as Fandor Lefevre, Marchand's assistant, is removed by Fantomas. Commissioner Juve falls into the trap as Fantomas, too, is transformed into Lefevre and they are all found in Rome at a scientific meeting. Fantomas will prevail and stakeholders will gather in his den, and prisoners, it seems, without any possibility of escaping their fate. Accompanied by the music of an organ played by Fantomas. —Anonymous

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