Real Name: Simone Desroches
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Jacques Bellegarde (lover)
Enemies: Jacques Bellegarde, Chantecoq
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Le Fantôme du Louvre (The Ghost of the Louvre)
Base of Operations: Paris, France
First Appearance: Belphegor (film serial - Société des Cinéromans, 1927 / novelisation Tallandier, 1927)
History: Simone Desroches was the mistress of French journalist Jacques Bellegarde, who learned from a manuscript written by Catherine de Medici's astrologer, Ruggieri, that the Treasure of the Kings of France was hidden somewhere in the Louvre. Simone adopted the costumed identity of Belphegor, and created the impression that the museum was haunted, while she searched for the loot, but was eventually unmasked by her own lover and the detective Chantecoq.
Comments: Created by Arthur Bernède.
After the success of Judex, in 1919 writer Arthur Bernède joined forces with actor René Navarre (who had played Fantômas in the Feuillade serials) and writer Gaston Leroux (the creator of Rouletabille) to launch the Société des Cinéromans, a production company that would produce films and novels simultaneously. Belphegor (the name is a variation on the demon Baal-Phagor) was an attempt by Bernède to create a character to rival Fantômas, Judex, and the Phantom of the Opera. Released in 1927, both as a novel (published by Tallandier) and four part film serial with Elmire Vautier playing Belphagor. In 1966 a new film, La Malédiction de Belphegor (The Curse of Belphegor), was made, and in 2001 yet another version, Belphégor - Le Fantôme du Louvre (Belphegor - The Ghost of the Louvre) was released, starring Sophie Marceau in the role (though this time Belphegor's true identity was named Lisa, who was seemingly possessed by the spirit of the evil Egyptian spirit Belphegor after it was released from a mummy brought to the museum).
Belphegor also appeared on the small screen, in Belphegor, ou Le Fantôme du Louvre (Belphegor, or The Ghost of the Louvre), a 13 part half hour serial first aired from 6th March 1965. This time Belphegor was the medium Laurence Borel (played by Juliette Gréco), who was being manipulated by a secret society led by Boris Williams. They are looking for an ancient alchemical treasure hidden inside the statue of the god Belphegor in the museum. The villains are unmasked by André Bellegarde, an enterprising student, and his girlfriend Colette, the daughter of Police Commissioner Ménardier. This was followed in 1965 by a serialised 24 part comic book sequelin the daily newspaper France-Soir: Belphegor se venge (Belphegor's Revenge), in which the beautiful Daphné Villarosa continues Belphegor's "mission" and, with the help of a new "ghost", arranges Boris Williams' escape.
In 2001 Belphegor was also released as an animated series, which ran for 26 episodes.
Chantecoq, the detective who unmasked Belphegor in the original version, is Bernede's Chantecoq, the "King of Detectives", who first appeared in 1912 in Bernede's Coeur de Française as a French secret service agent, then in L'Espionne de Guillaume (1915), and Chantecoq (1916), and became a detective after World War I.
Much of the information on this page comes verbatim from Cool French Comics, used with permission. Likewise the images.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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