FANTOMAS STRIKES BACK (1965)
aka Fantomas se dechaine
Viewing Date: 9-1-2011
Posting Date: 9-16-2011
Directed by Andre Hunebelle
Featuring Jean Marais, Louis de Funes, Mylene Demongeot
Country: France / Italy
What it is: Supervillain parody
Fantomas hatches a scheme to kidnap scientists who are on the verge of creating a method of long-distance hypnosis which could be used for world conquest. Can policeman Juve and reporter Fandor prevent him from accomplishing his evil scheme?
I was blindsided by the first movie in this series in that I didn't expect a comedy; it was the first Fantomas movie I'd been able to see with English subtitles, and all of the others were played more or less straight. I felt a bit of resentment then (especially at the reduction of Juve to a buffoon), but I've gotten over it enough to enjoy this sequel for what it is, which is really more of the same. There are some fun moments here; my favorite has Fantomas and Fandor disguising themselves as the same scientist, and the confusion that results when all three of them end up in the same place. Of course, the humor is enhanced by the fact that Fantomas, Fandor and the scientist are all played by Jean Marais, who seems to be enjoying himself here. I still think Louis de Funes plays Juve a little too broadly, but at least the movie makes good use of his excitable over-the-top character in scenes where he is mistaken for a lunatic and one in which he exhorts other policemen to keep relaxed. There's a fair amount of gadgetry in this one, including a car that converts to an airplane, a cigar gun, and a coat with a fake arm whereby the wearer can get the drop on an opponent by having a third hand. All in all, this was pretty amusing.