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Fantômas's Shifting Identities: From Books to Screen

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in French Cinema
Issue number1

King's Authors


In 1911 Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre published the first in what would become a series of 32 novels chronicling the sensational crimes of Fantômas, ‘le Maître de l'Épouvante’. The success of the novels led Léon Gaumont to acquire the film rights to the books the following year, and in 1913 the first Fantômas film appeared, directed by Louis Feuillade. Four sequels would follow, and collectively the Fantômas films became one of the masterpieces of early French cinema. This article will examine the representation of identity in both books and films in the context of contemporary developments in forensic identification. It will explore the differences in how books and films approach this subject, and consider to what extent this is determined by the specificities of the two different media.

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