While Juliette Gréco passed away in September 2020, INA’s Madelen platform puts Belphégor or the Phantom of the Louvre online, one of the biggest boxes on French television. Focus on THE series that unleashed passions in 1967.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Summer 1964, Paris: the department of Egyptology of the Louvre Museum is haunted by a frozen ghost dressed in a long black dress, Belphégor. A human or supernatural figure that triggers a series of mysterious deaths, assaults, attempted assassinations and other disappearances …
As the police give up in the face of the situation, young student André Bellegarde is determined to solve this riddle. A distressing investigation that he leads alongside the generous commissioner Ménardier whose daughter Colette he loves …
Discover the Belphégor series on madelen.
WHY IS IT WORSHIP?
Broadcast for the very first time in March 1967 on the first channel of the ORTF, at the rate of one 70-minute episode per week for 4 weeks, Belphégor immediately attracted the public. The mini-series brings together nearly 15 million viewers, a remarkable figure when we know that at the time, less than half of the French owned a television!
The success is such that the very many fans persecute the Belphégor team to know the identity of the enigmatic ghost throughout the month of broadcast. And that’s not all, since a journalist was even locked in the Louvre all night to try to see her.
One of the reasons for this craze is the perfect alliance between the supernatural and the strange, without forgetting notes of humor well placed to energize the dreamlike scenes often shot at night. And it is the director and screenwriter Claude Barma, pioneer of television to whom we owe the series Les Trois Mousquetaires, Cyrano de Bergerac, Les Enquêtes du commissioner Maigret, D’Artagnan or even Les Rois maudits, who signs this adaptation. from Arthur Bernède’s novel.
Another essential ingredient of this success, the cast which counts on a star at the top of the bill: Juliette Gréco. Having already marked the public in song and in the cinema, the muse of Saint-Germain-des-Prés then tipped the country into fear with her magnetic game. At his side, we find Yves Rénier, René Dary, Christine Delaroche or even the mime Isaac Alvarez.
Finally, the many unusual decorations, the music of Antoine Duhamel and the famous mask of Belphégor have not failed to hold everyone’s attention, and still haunt the memories of some spectators. No surprise if the series was sold in 16 countries, then rebroadcast several times in France, as in 1978 where it was this time divided into 13 episodes.
Although the Louvre is a central feature of the series, very few scenes have been filmed in the famous museum. The corridors and rooms have indeed been recreated in the Val-de-Marne, at the Saint-Maurice studios. Yet the myth is still so present in people’s minds that visitors still ask the keepers where the ghost is!
WHAT MAY APPEAR TODAY’S PUBLIC
With its black and white which reinforces the mystery, Belphégor has not aged a bit and still manages to grab us from the first minutes. Panting, the mini-series goes from revelations to twists while enveloping us in its special universe.
Apart from its unresolved plot and the impeccable acting of its actors, Belphégor is a witness to the daily life of the French in the 1960s. Make way for the milkman delivering the houses in the early morning aboard his truck, at the Louvre before the construction of the Pyramid, at the Saint-Ouen flea market, with the hairstyles and fashionable clothing of the time, or even driving without a seat belt!
A captivating journey that will satisfy the nostalgic and pique the curiosity of the youngest. Or as Juliette Gréco said so well at the time “It’s a bomb this thing!”