Jacqueline’s Heart (1917)
This episode of “Judex” serves as something of an interlude in the action of capture-and-release, but it does further the plot with an important discovery and confession. If you’re worried about “spoilers,” you’ll want to watch it before reading!
The entire episode takes place within the confines of the Mediterranean estate where the Countess de Tremeuse (Yvonne Dario) has brought Jacqueline (Yvette Andréyor) to recuperate after her most recent ordeals. Jacqueline is pouring her heart out to the Countess at the beginning of the episode, in distress because of her father’s fate. The audience, of course, knows that the Countess is the instigator of this tragedy, in her blind desire for revenge (see “The Woman in Black”). Her son Jacques de Tremeuse (René Cresté) listens in from a convenient balcony while Jacqueline wishes aloud that Vallieres were present to advise her. He immediately goes to his room and puts on his “Vallieres” disguise. Amost as soon as he arrives, Jacqueline gets a note from her father, tellng her he is alive and asking her to meet him at night in a secluded area with Le Petit Jean (Olinda Mano) After consoling her for a while, Vallieres/Jacques retires to his room and changes into his “Judex” outfit, presumably to meet the villains who have “liberated” her father.
It is now night, and Jacqueline peers out of her window to see a caped figure creeping through the garden. Immediately, she runs to Vallieres’s room to awaken him, but instead she finds the wig and beard that Jacques wears when he’s dressed as Vallieres! The Countess comes in and sees her turmoil. She takes the confused Jacqueline out to a veranda and says that it is time to tell her the whole truth. We see their conversation acted out without Intertitles, although the audience knows what she has to say: Jaqueline now must realize that Jacques and Vallieres are one and the same, and that both are actually Judex.
The running times of episodes in Feuillade’s serials often vary greatly, but this one stands out as unusually short. Most of the “Judex” episodes have run about two reels long, but this clocks in at less than ten minutes, presumably not even a full reel of film. It’s possible that there’s some missing footage, but I haven’t read anything to confirm that and the episode as it stands clearly moves the plot forward (more than some of the longer episodes have in fact), so I’m inclined to think that it was meant to be this way. It’s also possible that title cards have been dropped from the discussion at the climax of the movie, but as it is, it leaves the audience to fill in the details of the Countess’s revelations and Jacqueline’s reactions from our memories and imaginations. The two actresses do a remarkable job of carrying off this emotional scene.
Director: Louis Feuillade
Starring: René Cresté, Yvonne Dario, Yvette Andréyor, Olinda Mano, René Poyen
Run Time: 8 Min, 30 secs
You can watch it for free: here.