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a5c7b9f00b An intrepid reporter and his loyal friend battle a bizarre secret society of criminals known as The Vampires.
Serials are a low point in film history, and the period around the Great War was bad for the French film industry, as well. Commemorating both is &quot;Les Vampires,&quot; probably one of the best-remembered serials and the most accessible French motion picture of any kind from its era.<br/><br/>Serials are banal sensationalism aimed at lowbrow tastes. They always have been, from their inception in magazines, newspapers and other cheap literature, which has continued to this day with television. It&#39;s always been economical--promising return customers looking for a satisfying wrapping up of previous installments&#39; cliffhangers and loose ends. Usually, the budgets for them are quite thrifty. Additionally, it doesn&#39;t require much imagination if one repackages the same devices for each episode--and even less if one repackages the same devices from previous serials--all of which Louis Feuillade, more or less, did here. In many ways, TV series are today&#39;s serials.<br/><br/>Feuillade further popularized serials in France, which was probably inescapable anyhow with the flood of American films (and serials) into the cinemas. For some reason, he seems to have garnered more respect than any other maker of chapter plays has--even to this day. I don&#39;t know of any other director mostly known for serials offhand. His pictures have had widespread popularity in their day, but also &quot;Les Vampires&quot; seems to remain one of the most praised representations of 1910s cinema. It&#39;s not evident that it has anything to do with a mastery of film-making, though; to the contrary, I think that&#39;s absent. The long takes from fixed camera positions get very boring, especially the scenes of extended length--those of the characters&#39; every action: scaling buildings, driving off in automobiles, how exactly they go about their crimes and such, as fellow commenter tedg and others have described. This is similar to the practice in early cinema that film historians have called the &quot;operational aesthetic,&quot; but which was dated even by 1915.<br/><br/>As other filmmakers did, Feuillade alters tinting to suggest changes of light within the story. Other filmmakers, especially those in Denmark, actually changed the lighting of the scene for the change in light within the scene, which usually required a well-positioned splice. Otherwise, like Feuillade, Danish filmmakers from around this time tended to avoid editing and camera movement, too, but they replaced it with innovations in mise-en-scène, which aid the camera in creating brilliant images, as can editing and movement of the camera. Such innovation, staging, composition, or mastery is lacking in &quot;Les Vampires.&quot; The actors do all the work, and the camera just sits there.<br/><br/>You might, but I don&#39;t like this serial&#39;s content, either. It&#39;s a series of convoluted story lines involving a reporter detective and his sidekick Mazamette (played by an awful mugger of an actor) trying to rid Paris of Irma Vep and the underworld criminal gang known as the &quot;vampires.&quot; To me it seems to be nearly seven hours of each side ineptly attempting to capture, imprison or kill the other.<br/><br/>In episode eight: Why did they give Mazamette&#39;s child a gun, and why did they originate such an elaborate scheme to arrest the b

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