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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Louis Feuillade series and the best version available...
This is the second Louis Feuillade series I've watched, the first being Fantomas. Well, I enjoyed Fantomas very much and, in my opinion, Les Vampires is equally as good.
It's presented in a similiar format, 10 episodes of varying length, each very inventive and entertaining.
Les Vampires are a gang of criminals and the stories invlove them being pursued by...
Published on 26 Oct 2008 by fishtail

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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Strange Lapse
While it is true that the print quality is good,this edition was restored by Gaumont in a tinted version (as was done with "Fantomas"). For some reason, Artificial Eye has released a monochrome print, even though the box states "tinted" and there are even tinted frame enlargements on the Artificial Eye website! Caveat emptor!
Published on 30 April 2008 by Michael Freeman


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Louis Feuillade series and the best version available..., 26 Oct 2008
This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
This is the second Louis Feuillade series I've watched, the first being Fantomas. Well, I enjoyed Fantomas very much and, in my opinion, Les Vampires is equally as good.
It's presented in a similiar format, 10 episodes of varying length, each very inventive and entertaining.
Les Vampires are a gang of criminals and the stories invlove them being pursued by journalist Philippe Guerande, while holding Paris in their grip of terror. Irma Vep is particularly strong and seductive as their female leader.
The episodes are visually very impressive often having a surreal, dream-like quality to them. There is a strong musical score to compliment this.
One of the main reasons I've written this review is previous comments have referred to the lack of tinting in this edition. This is true but having researched this, I've found this this version to be the best available. The tinting is effective but this monochrome version has far better picture clarity, without losing detail which can happen with tinting.
Overall, this is an excellent, entertaining series and I'd highly recommend it.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and substantial, 11 April 2008
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DH Dixon "whitespeck" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
Three DVDS, three slim cases, all in a card sleeve. Ten episodes, from 30 to 50 minutes long (though one is only 13 minutes). Three obvious stars in the cast, notably the actor who plays the humourous side-kick to the film's hero. The style anticipates Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse type of film, but this works much better, with characterization much more convincing and there is lots of charm here. I must say it is a great privilege to watch Paris in 1915 in such beautiful prints. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, strange stories, 19 Feb 2012
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Gabor Lux (Pécs, Hungary) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
The titular Vampires in Feuillade's 1915 film serial (ten episodes of variable length, ranging from 12 to 58 minutes) are a gang of master criminals plaguing Paris, and it is up to Philippe Guerande, reporter at Le Mondial, and later his sidekick, the stereotypically French Mazamette to stop them. What follow are plots full of criminal heists, car and bicycle chases, vengeance, counter-vengeance, thrilling escapes and detective work. The world of Les Vampires is oddly empty of normal life (the episodes were produced at the height of the Great War, in fact after Feuillade has returned wounded from the front), but completely full of thieves and other criminals. The Vampires have several grandiose schemes going on, using multiple identities, aliases and hideouts, and the authorities are helpless to stop them.

Guerande is an alert and upstanding, if straight-laced character with Mazamette as comic relief (and often deus ex machina), but the real stars are the Vampires, and particularly Irma Vep, bar singer and master thief. Irma Vep, played by the actress Musidora, might be the first movie example of the cat burglar character - beautiful, deadly and fiendishly clever, as effective creeping across a rooftop in a skintight black suit as inflitrating a household as a maid or posing as a bank clerk in pursuit of valuable information. She steals the show so thoroughly that it feels almost like cheating when she is thwarted. The fascination with her has continued well into modern cinema, recreated in loving homages by Georges Franju (in the 1963 remake of Judex, a nostalgic look back at this early age in the movies), Olivier Assayas (in Irma Vep, an 1996 art movie) and of course many others who may not even know the original character.

From the descriptions above, Les Vampires may feel like an action movie, and that's right. It is full of non-stop, breakneck action, stunts and improbable devices (like an apartment which hides a long-distance cannon, or a trap door at the entrance of a middle-class home). One can see traces of all kinds of later genres here - spy movies, crime, urban thrillers - in a very clean, very archetypal form that still works without a hitch. But what makes it so enthralling is that there is a darker undercurrent beneath all this. Unlike films which stylise crime until it is removed from reality and (therefore) doesn't feel effective, the criminals in this serial are merciless and murder anyone who gets in their way without regret, or even making long speeches about it. Characters who appear to be shaping up to major figures in the plotline are dispatched in a summary manner; the turns of the story are unpredictable and reflect the semi-improvisative character of the production. There is a sense of fear about how effective crime can become when combined with the anonymity of modern cities and the conveniances of technology, a sort of mechanised and invisible menace. And there are always the character's eyes, darting around and surveying the dangerous environment and if they are being followed - the lines between thieves and Guerande are blurred as he starts using the Vampires' methods against them, and, much like Dr. Mabuse seven years later, the air is thick with paranoia.

In this release (Gaumont's restoration, UK release by The Mechanical Eye), the masterful musical score underlines this feeling of "wrongness" by tense and haunting themes as characters stalk along walls, peer through windows or hide behind curtains. As it has been remarked by others, some DVD extras would have been welcome on this three-DVD set. Here, we only get a few more short movies from Feuillade, showing the breadth of an amazingly prolific man's artistic output. Of course, Les Vampires stands well enough on its own: more than simple historical artefact, it sticks in one's mind to return again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great quality, original inter titles, 12 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
Beautifully restored, crisp image, looks nicer than the blu ray even.
not tinted, its black and white, it's a matter of taste whether you want the tint, would have liked the option to switch that on or off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 29 July 2014
This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
Classic, was a great present for an expert in the field who was delighted to get it - everybody happy!
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Strange Lapse, 30 April 2008
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This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
While it is true that the print quality is good,this edition was restored by Gaumont in a tinted version (as was done with "Fantomas"). For some reason, Artificial Eye has released a monochrome print, even though the box states "tinted" and there are even tinted frame enlargements on the Artificial Eye website! Caveat emptor!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Own, 25 Feb 2010
This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD isn't new, and the other reviewers have covered many of the points I wanted to make. The loss of tinting is a very poor decision, and an excuse of the image having more clarity seems to be a rather poor one. These are not the days of 8mm reduction prints for home viewing, we've moved on.

However, there was one additional concern I had. I was/am very disappointed that this set includes no extras specific to the feature. Meaning, yes we get 5 short films, and I appreciate that, but why no extras about Les Vampires itself? Surely there is scope on giving us some background about the Director, the actors, the locations where it was filmed, how it was originally shown, audience and critical reactions etc.

Instead we get nothing. Not even a small booklet.

It wasn't so long ago that we simply couldn't dream of owning something like this - so I really do appreciate what Artificial Eye have done here. However, with that little bit extra it could really have been a definitive set. As it is, if a tinted copy was released, along with some background information (either on DVD, or preferably a booklet) I'd buy again.

Having said that, I do hope more people buy this package, because it deserves to be seen. It's great fun and easily rates a 4-star review.

ps: I really like the music. Someone else commented they didn't like it, but while at times its avant garde, you'll notice characters have their own themes. For example, listen every time the hilarious Montmarte comes on screen. It really worked for me.
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1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as "Fantomas", 5 Jun 2008
This review is from: Les Vampires [DVD] (DVD)
Dear Michael Freeman, I read your review and I must say: I own the french Gaumont editions of "Les vampires" and "Fantomas". The first is B&W, the second is tinted. ¿Is this the reason I think "Fantomas" is a better film? In any case, "Fantomas" 8/10, "Les vampires" 6/10.
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Les Vampires [DVD]
Les Vampires [DVD] by Louis Feuillade (DVD - 2008)
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