Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nuits rouges (1974)

After watching Judex, which is also directed by Georges Franju, Nuits rouges seems uninteresting. The basic plot is very good, I think, for the topic is popular for the last few years: the search for Knight Templar's treasure. There are also some strange characters: the criminal who wear red mask, a lunatic doctor, sect members, and a man who wear one-black-and-one- transparent glasses.

Jacques Champreux, grandson of director Louis Feuillade, plays the main role (he also wrote the script): the man without a face. He is a master of disguise - like Fantômas and Dr Mabuse. He even can disguise as an old woman. Mostly he covers his face with a red mask. He is ruthless and without mercy.

The story starts with Maxime de Borrego's butler goes to see 'the man without a face' to tell him that his master know about The Knight Templar's treasure. The criminal visits Maxime de Borrego and kills him after failing to dig the secret. Maxime's nephew, Paul, helps the police to investigate the murder. The police is not very smart here. A witness is murdered inside their headquarters, and when they lay traps, they always fail. Luckily, the late Maxime de Borrego was a member of a sect (modern Knight Templar), that is eager to revenge their brother.

Gayle Hunnicutt plays the man without a face's right hand lady. Her scene on the roof is copied from the roof scene in Judex, but longer. Jacques Champreux mentioned in the DVD commentary that he deliberately wrote the scene to please Georges Franju, who thought the roof scene in Judex was excellent but too short. The mannequin scene in the museum reminds me of episode 1 in the new Doctor Who, but of course Nuits rouges made this first.

I would have liked this film more if the police were smarter and the roof scene was shorter.

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