"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
and spawned two sequels, Fantômas Unleashed
and Fantômas Against Scotland Yard
. While the films were not critically praised (the sequels especially
) they achieved popular success
in France, and had a quite huge impact in Latin America and the Soviet Union
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
), so Fantômas commits robberies looking like him.
The Fantômas film trilogy provides examples of the following tropes:
- Acting for Two: Jean Marais plays both Fandor and Fantômas. In Fantômas Unleashed he's Acting for Three since he's also Pr. Lefèvre (whom both Fantômas and Fandor disguise at).
- Action Survivor: Fandor
- Animated Credits Opening: Fantômas Unleashed
- Antagonist Title
- The Bad Guy Wins: Fantômas kills Lord Rashley and manages to escape once more in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard.
- Bald of Evil: Fantômas, with his mask on.
- Bedsheet Ghost: Commissioner Juve is disguised like this in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard
- Berserk Button: Fantômas hates to be ridiculed in the public eye. Fandor will learn it the hard way.
- 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.
- Bumbling Sidekick
- Inspector Bertrand, for Commissioner Juve.
- Commissioner Juve for Fandor, most of the time.
- 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
- Catch Phrase:
Juve: I'll catch you, Fantômas, I'll catch you!
- Chase Scene
- The Chessmaster: Fantômas
- 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.
- Collapsing Lair: In Fantômas Unleashed.
Fantômas: I'm a very organized man.
- Creepy Monotone: Fantômas
- Da Chief: Commissioner Juve
- Da Editor: Fandor's boss, played by Robert Dalban.
- Dark Mistress: Lady Beltham
- Diabolical Mastermind: Fantômas
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: In Fantômas Unleashed, Fantômas takes over the TV transmission during an interview of Commissioner Juve. When it gets back to normal, Juve and his interviewer are Bound and Gagged.
- 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.
- Flying Car: A flying Citroën DS in Fantômas Unleashed.
- Gentleman Thief: Fantômas
- The Hero: Fandor
- Hero Stole My Car
- Hot Scoop: Hélène
- Instant Death Bullet: Juve's one-shot cigar-guns in the second movie.
- Intrepid Reporter: Fandor
- It Was Here, I Swear: Fantômas adores doing this to Juve, especially in Fantômas Against Scotland Yard.
- Joker Immunity: Fantômas
- Kidnapped Scientists: Fantômas does this in order to build a Mind-Control Device in Fantômas Unleashed.
- Knockout Gas / Instant Sedation
- Latex Perfection: Fantômas' masks when he wants to impersonate someone.
- 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!"
- Lighter and Softer: When compared to the books and Silent Films.
- Malevolent Masked Man: Just look at the page's picture.
- Man in a Kilt: The third and last film is set in Scotland. Louis de Funès obliged.
- Master of Disguise: Fantômas
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Commissioner Juve's coat in Fantômas Unleashed.
- 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.
- Pet the Dog: When Fantômas interacts with Hélène, he behaves like a gentleman.
- Phantom Thief: Fantômas, naturally.
- Previously On: The Animated Credits Opening of Fantômas Unleashed doubles as this, shortly retelling the first movie.
- 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.
- Say My Name: Many a character will dramatically exclaim "Fantômas!" when confronted with the villain. Commissioner Juve's yells have reached memetic status.
- The Scapegoats: Fandor and Juve in the first movie.
- Scare Chord: Plays when Fandor is kidnapped in the first movie.
- Sequel Escalation: The first film is mostly about Fantômas committing several important thefts and showing to the public eye that he can be a real threat (and avenging the journalistic insult in the process). He uses mostly believable means such as his Master of Disguise talents, drive-by shootings, grenade and bombing attacks. The first sequel has him planning to Take Over the World from his Volcano Lair using a Mind-Control Device, with a goofier-than-ever commissioner Juve trying to stop him using James Bond-esque gadgets. And there's a Flying Car.
- Setting Update: The story of the books and silent films takes place in the Belle Epoque (pre-World War One France). This version adjusts to its decade, The Sixties.
- 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.
- Spy Fiction: Fantômas Unleashed spoofs the use of gadgets, extravagant villain plans and lairs from Sean Connery's James Bond era (and even predates those of You Only Live Twice).
- Supervillain Lair: A French castle in the first movie, a Volcano Lair in Fantômas Unleashed.
- Super Window Jump: At the end of the third movie, Fandor jumps through a stained-glass ceiling for no particular reason.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Commissioner Juve. More like "sympathetic inspector protagonist", actually.
- Totem Pole Trench: In the second movie, Hélène's young brother and another kid disguise temselves as Fantômas this way.
- Train Escape
- Unexplained Recovery / You Look Familiar: 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.
- Vehicular Sabotage
- Villain Exit Stage Left / Escape Artist / Karma Houdini: Fantômas always manages to escape.
- The Villain Makes the Plot
- Villainous Crush: Fantômas has one on Hélène.
- Wicked Cultured: Fantômas
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Juve's Italian ticket inspector disguise in Fantômas Unleashed.