HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Terror in Beverly Hills
Zoo Robbery, The
Anoop and the Elephant
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
Follow That Bird
I, Olga Hepnarová
Finders Keepers
   
 
Newest Articles
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
   
 
  Fantomas vs. Scotland Yard Green goon's highland flingBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: André Hunebelle
Stars: Jean Marais, Louis de Funès, Mylène Demongeot, Françoise Christophe, Jean-Roger Caussimon, Robert Dalban, André Dumas, Max Montavon, Rita Renoir, Jean Ozenne, Henri Serre
Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wealthy Scottish aristocrat Lord McRaschley (Jean-Roger Caussimon) is horrified to receive a visit from green-faced master criminal Fantomas (Jean Marais), disguised as his elderly lawyer. The evil genius tells him he has decided to levy a tax upon the world's wealthiest men, of which McRashley is one. Either he pays Fantomas a fortune in diamonds or else suffers a violent death. Hoping to set a trap for the supervillain, Lord McRaschley summons inept French policeman Comissioner Juve (Louis de Funès) who arrives at his castle with all-action journalist Fandor (Jean Marais again) and the latter's lovely and resourceful girlfriend, Hélène (Mylène Demongeot). Together the three try to protect the lord but Fantomas proves two steps ahead and can't resist messing with Juve's mind.

Fantomas vs. Scotland Yard was the third and final film in the series remaking Louis Feuillade's dark and devious silent serial for the campy and colourful sensibilities of the Sixties. Many French critics considered the remakes a missed opportunity. Given these films were released amidst the heyday of the French New Wave many had hoped for something more subversive, satirical or even political. Yet the French public and international audiences lapped up these unpretentious entertainments and what's more took Louis de Funès to their hearts as a comedy superstar. Make no mistake, even though iconic swashbuckling actor Jean Marais plays no less than four different characters here in a veritable tour de force, Fantomas vs. Scotland Yard remains de Funès' movie. He gets the most screen-time, proves the focus for all the big slapstick set-pieces and attacks his role with a sweaty energy that is almost exhausting to watch.

British viewers able to take their eyes off de Funès manic mugging may enjoy the added bonus of the film's eccentric depiction of Scotland as a mist-shrouded realm of strangeness, superstition and exotic occult lore. At times the film seems closer to an episode of Scooby Doo with a haunted castle, dead bodies that disappear, men in white sheets pretending to be ghosts and a spooky séance. With its fox hunting sequence (animal lovers need not worry, no fox actually appears on screen), conspiracy plot and fixation with rubber disguises the film also evokes John Huston's gimmicky murder mystery The List of Adrian Messenger (1963). Fantomas' determined desire to drive poor Juve crazy for no reason other than simple maliciousness grows a trifle tiresome but there are some funny gags involving an overreacting butler and a seemingly talking horse. The plot starts out as more promisingly complex than past entries as, unbeknownst to Fantomas, Lord McRaschley's wife (Françoise Christophe) and her lover are secretly plotting to kill him to collect an inheritance, but sadly reverts back to the predictable formula.

Nevertheless the film is pacy, well directed by André Hunebelle and has a certain Gallic panache that elevates it above the kitsch realm of say a Matt Helm movie with Dean Martin or the Batman TV show. Both heroes and villains exude dry wit that counterbalances de Funès broad clowning while Marais also imbues the sneering, self-amused villainy of Fantomas with genuine menace and an intriguing sense of dignity. Though the heroes have surprisingly little interaction with Fantomas this time the action sequences are no less exciting including an exciting chase scene with Hélène on horseback trying to outrun Fantomas' thugs while Fandor rides to her rescue. As the dashing Fandor Marais remains an athletic, charismatic presence while it remains next to impossible to take your eyes off the charming Myléne Demongeot as she once again essays a pleasingly courageous and clever heroine. The pair's climactic confrontation with Fantomas proves worth the wait although those hoping to see the smug bastard get his comeuppance should not hold their breath.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 840 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
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: