Claire Lesco (Georgette Leblanc) t is a famous singer. Suitors come from all over to try to woo the wealthy performer. Claire gives a party at her palatial home and invites her many suitors. Among them are the handsome Maharajah Djorah de Nopur (Philippe Heriat) and a young Swedish scientist, Einar Norsen (Jaque Catelain). Einar, however, is late to the party. Claire is beautiful but emotional aloof. She is basically a prima donna. When Einar finally professes his love for her she cuts him down. He then announces that if he can’t have her love, he will kill himself.
Einar leaves the party and races away in his sports car. A young woman (Marcelle Pradot) driving a donkey cart comes upon an accident. Einar’s car went over the edge of a cliff and into the ocean. His body is not found. When Claire hears about Einar she has little reaction. She decides to continue with her singing performances. She is met with ridicule and booing from many members of the audience at her coldness. She manages to overcome their hatred with her singing. Afterwards she begins to reevaluate her feelings about Einar.
Claire is told that Einar’s body has been found and that they need two people to identify him. She is taken to Einar’s lab where, what appears to be a shroud covered body, is displayed. Claire breaks down and admits her love for the scientist. Suddenly Einar appears. He admits to faking his death to get Claire to admit her love for him. Einar shows her around his laboratory and explains some of his inventions. The two are happy and in love, but Djorah de Nopur is jealous and decides that if he can’t have Claire, no one can.
“The Inhuman Woman” AKA “L'Inhumaine” was released in 1924 and was directed by Marcel L’Herbier. It is a French silent romance and science fiction fantasy film.
It is an artistic film with lots of visual styles. It combines art deco and cubism with touches of surrealism and expressionism with a very interesting music score. It didn’t do very well at the box office. It took quite some time for the artistic sweep of the film to be appreciated.
The science fiction aspect of the movie doesn’t come into play until well into the film. When it does it is a bit like “Frankenstein” in the overall theme but without any horror aspects. Before then you are subject to, what would normally be, a typical love story, (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl). I found it interesting despite the fact that it took a long time to get to any science fiction elements.
To me the biggest drawback of the film was Georgette Leblanc as the love interest of dozens of men. She’s not exactly beautiful. Leblanc put up half the money for the film so I can understand why she decided she would be the best person to play Claire. Leblanc was an actual opera singer, but this is a silent film.
It’s not a great film, but it is an interesting one. If you like avant garde films, this has a lot for you to look at. The film may not be great plot wise or acting wise, but it is visually stunning.