Saturday, November 15, 2014
Temple Tower (1929) was the sixth Bulldog Drummond novel and marked a departure from the series formula. Having killed Carl Peterson off at the conclusion of the fourth book and dealt with his embittered mistress Irma’s revenge scheme as the plot of the fifth book, Sapper took the series in an unexpected direction by turning to French pulp fiction for inspiration. Sapper also placed Hugh Drummond in a supporting role and elevated his loyal friend Peter Darrell to the role of narrator. The subsequent success of the venerable movie series and the future controversies generated by Sapper’s reactionary politics and bigotry obscured the versatility of his narratives and led to his being under-appreciated when considered with his peers. French pulp literature from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century was particularly rich. While Jules Verne and Alexandre Dumas remain the best known French pulp authors of the era, Paul Feval’s highly influential swashbuckler, Le Bossu [“The Hunchback’] (1857) and his expansive criminal mastermind saga, Les Habits Noirs [“The Black Coats”] (1844 -1875) did much to set the stage for Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain’s long-running absurdist thriller series, Fantomas (1911 – 1963) as well as Arthur Bernede’s seminal masked avenger Judex (1916 – 1919). Pioneering French filmmaker, Louis Feuillade adapted both Fantomas and Judex to the silent screen as well as creating his own epic Apaches crime serial, Les Vampires (1915 - 1916). TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE.