Film / Fantômas
No, that's not the Blue Man Group.

"Humanity. What a wonderful puppet show! How could I get bored of it?"

Fantômas is a French 1960s' film very loosely based on the novels of the same name. It turned the title character (a criminal and anarchist in the books) into a Blofeld-esque supervillain and spawned two sequels, Fantômas Unleashed and Fantômas Against Scotland Yard.

Fantômas (played by Jean Marais and voiced by Raymond Pellegrin) is very angry with Fandor (also played by Jean Marais), a journalist who has written a fictive (and ridiculous) interview of him. After bombing the editorial offices, he kidnaps Fandor, threatens to kill him, but first goes about ruining the journalist's reputation by committing a sensational theft in Fandor's guise. He also kidnaps Fandor's fiancée Hélène (Mylène Demongeot). Hot on the trail is buffoonish police commissioner Juve (Louis de Funès). Fantômas then starts committing robberies with a mask imitating Juve's face to get rid of him.

The Fantômas movies provides examples of:

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  • Antagonist Title
  • Bald of Evil: Fantômas, with his mask on.
  • Bumbling Sidekick:
    • Commissioner Juve for Fandor, most of the time.
    • Inspector Bertrand, for Commissioner Juve.
  • Catch-Phrase:
    Juve: I'll catch you, Fantômas, I'll catch you!
  • The Chessmaster: Fantômas.
  • Da Chief: Commissioner Juve.
  • Creepy Monotone: Fantômas
  • Determinator: Commissioner Juve. It doesn't matter how many obstacles Fantômas throws at him; he stays in hot pursuit whatever the cost, sometimes at great risk to himself, and comes very close to catching the evil mastermind several times.
    Juve: I'll catch you, Fantômas, I'll catch you!
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Fantômas
  • Da Editor: Fandor's boss, played by Robert Dalban.
  • Evil Genius: Fantômas
  • Evil Laugh: Fantômas does at least one per film, at the end usually. Not really hammy but still sinister.
  • Evil Plan
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Fantômas was voiced by Raymond Pellegrin, whose voice was notably deeper than Jean Marais'.
  • Expressive Mask
  • The Faceless: Fantômas is always seen wearing an intimidating bluish latex mask.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Fantômas is always very polite even when he explains you that he plans to remove your brain from your body to create a new kind of slave.
  • Gentleman Thief: Fantômas
  • The Hero: Fandor
  • Intrepid Reporter: Fandor
  • Joker Immunity: Fantômas
  • Latex Perfection:
    • Fantômas' masks when he wants to impersonate someone. This also includes gloves reproducing exactly the fingerprints. In the first film, both Jean Marais's and Louis de Funés's facial features are slightly exaggerated (larger eyebrows or ears) when Fantômas impersonates them. Played straight in later movies.
    • In Fantômas Unleashed, Fandor also uses a perfect disguise.
  • Leitmotif: Both Fantômas and Juve have their own. Fantômas uses the ominous main theme of the movies. Juve has a much more comedic one. Used to great effect during chase scenes by alternating the two.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the books and Silent Films.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Just look at the page's picture.
  • Master of Disguise: Fantômas
  • Phantom Thief: Fantômas, naturally.
  • Say My Name: Many a character will dramatically exclaim "Fantômas!" when confronted with the villain. Commissioner Juve's yells have reached memetic status.
  • Setting Update: The story of the books and silent films takes place in the Belle Epoque (pre-World War I France). This version adjusts to its decade, The '60s.
  • Soft Glass: Fantômas or Fandor have no trouble jumping through windows.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The series is fondly remembered partly because Louis de Funès starred in. And his role got increasingly important screentime as the series went on.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Commissioner Juve. More like "sympathetic inspector protagonist", actually.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left!: Fantômas always manages to escape.
  • Wicked Cultured: Fantômas

  • Berserk Button: Fantômas hates to be ridiculed in the public eye. Fandor will learn it the hard way.
  • Calling Card: Fantômas regularly leaves one behind. The first theft in the first movie has him buying priceless jewelry with a check under a fake name. The writings on the check erase themselves soon after he leaves the jeweler and all is left is Fantômas' actual signature.
  • Car Skiing: It happens when Fandor tries to control the car sabotaged by Lady Beltham.
  • Chase Scene: In the last part of the film, Fantômas is chased by Juve, Fandor and the police.
  • Clear My Name:
    • Inverted: Fantômas wants to be feared, not to be mocked/considered as a myth by the medias, so he commits thefts, drive-by shootings and bombing attacks.
    • Played straight by Fandor and Juve after Fantômas has impersonated them.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    Fantômas: I'm a very organized man.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Fantômas plans to use Fandor's brain (and later Juve's) to create a new kind of slave.
  • Dark Mistress: Lady Beltham.
  • Engineered Public Confession: When Fantômas explains that he will charm Hélène, Fandor discreetly makes a phone call to Lady Beltham, who can hear everything about Fantômas's plan to cheat on her. Consequently, Lady Beltham decides to release Fandor and Hélène.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Subverted. After Fantômas' consort learns that he's planning to replace her with Helene, she breaks her and Fandor out of captivity and provides them with a get-away car. Without breaks.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of the first film, when The End appears, Juve says: "This is not the end! We will meet again!"
  • Magic Brakes: Happens in the car given to Fandor and Hélène by Lady Beltham. Partly Justified, because Fandor says that the brakes and the gear box are sabotaged and because the car is in a mountain road.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Fantômas has a fully automatic organ in his lair in the first movie. As Fandor wakes up from his kidnapping in Fantômas' lair, it starts to play an ominous piece to announce Fantômas' arrival.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: At first, when Fandor wakes up in his flat, he thinks his vision of Fantômas was a dream. Then Hélène notices that he has a bump on his head, and he notices the "F" that Fantômas tattooed on his chest, so he realizes that it was not a dream.
  • Perp Sweating: Juve's method for making perps sweat is to eat before one while denying him food. Fandor stays rather unfazed.
  • Pet the Dog: When Fantômas interacts with Hélène, he behaves like a gentleman.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: As Fandor wakes up in Fantômas' lair, he gives a good beating to some mooks. When he punches Fantômas in the face and the torso, nothing happens.
  • The Scapegoat: Fandor and Juve in the first movie.
  • Scare Chord: Plays when Fandor is kidnapped in the first movie.
  • Slave Brand: On their first encounter, Fantômas brands Fandor with an "F" on the chest to remind him that "From now on, you belongs to me."
  • Supervillain Lair: A French castle.
  • Train Escape: During the final Chase Scene, Fantômas jumps on a moving train, followed by Fandor and Juve. Fantômas then unhooks the wagons to escape from them.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Lady Beltham sabotages the brakes and the gear box of the car that she gives to Fandor and Hélène to escape.
  • Villainous Crush: Fantômas has one on Hélène.

    Fantômas Unleashed 

    Fantômas Against Scotland Yard 
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Fantômas kills Lord Rashley and manages to escape once more in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Commissioner Juve is disguised like this in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard
  • Blackmail: In Fantômas Against Scotland Yard (the third and final film of the trilogy), Fantômas imposes a head tax on the richest men in the world, threatening to kill those who do not comply.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: Fantômas adores doing this to Juve, especially in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard.
  • Man in a Kilt: The third and last film is set in Scotland. Louis de Funès obliged.
  • Super Window Jump: At the end of the third movie, Fandor jumps through a stained-glass ceiling for no particular reason.
  • Unexplained Recovery: A mook killed by one of Juve's cigars in Fantômas Unleashed is then seen alive in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard (same actor in the same role) without explanation.