Finished Louis Feuillade's Judex last night and it was lovely; much of it--the multicharactered, multistoried narrative--seems at the very least inspired by Victor Hugo. It's old-fashioned, but not in the embarrassing way Griffith can be old-fashioned--it's more evenly told.
Interesting to note that Judex, a masculine, capable and undoubtedly virile man, is hemmed in at all sides by women--Jacqueline, with whom he falls in love; Diana Monti (dark-eyed Musidora--Irma Vep in Feuillade's Les Vampires), his antagonist; and his own mother, with whom he pleads to be released from his sworn oath. He's helped by the men--his brother, Cocantin, that delightful Licorice Kid (a gamin if ever I saw one).
There was one moment that threw me off: a girl (Cocantin's fiance) dives off the ship to try recover Diana Monti, and when the ship docks, Cocantin asks about her, and Judex shrugs him off! Tad callous, I thought, even if it was the punchline of a quick joke; she had helped him at one point. He could at least wonder where she went.
Kerjean and Cocantin seem like variations on Judex's theme--one's fate veers towards total tragedy, the other towards total happiness. Judex is relieved (or should be) to get what he does get, a measure of both.
The power structure too is interesting: Favreaux lords it over lesser (and poorer) beings until he's kidnapped; Judex wields power over Favreaux until he falls for Jacqueline, Favreaux's daughter; Jacqueline, who is forever being assaulted, bound, and kidnapped at one point or another, wields the ultimate power, of love, over both Favreux and Judex.