The Count of Monte Cristo

1934

Action / Adventure / Drama / History / Romance / Thriller

9
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 77%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 2079

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
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August 10, 2018 at 12:10 AM

Director

Cast

Paul Fix as Angry Citizen
Leon Ames as Beauchamp
Louis Calhern as De Villefort Jr.
Sidney Blackmer as Mondego
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
933.76 MB
968*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
P/S 18 / 67
1.78 GB
1440*1072
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 53 min
P/S 28 / 82

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lugonian 9 / 10

Dantes' Revenge

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (United Artists/Reliance, 1934), directed by Rowland V. Lee, from the immortal novel by Alexandre Dumas, and personally supervised by Edward Small, capitalized on the current trend of literary works adapted to the motion picture screen. It stars British import Robert Donat, making his Hollywood debut, in fact, his only one as a leading performer on U.S. soil. He would spend the duration of his career in British-made productions, thus, later winning an Academy Award as best actor in another memorable performance in GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (MGM, 1939) opposite Greer Garson.

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with either the book or the motion picture(s), here is a brief summary: The story, which begins in 1815, finds Edmund Dantes (Robert Donat) a young sailor on a French ship who has honored the dying request of his captain, LeClere (William Farnum), to carry a private letter to Napoleon on Elba. While ashore, he meets with Mercedes De Rosas (Elissa Landi), the woman he loves. Because Fernand (Sidney Blackner) loves Mercedes, he, along with others in his scheme, succeed to have Dantes arrested for carrying a secret letter and for this reason, unjustly imprisoned in the Château d'If. While in prison, Dantes is treated harshly and cruely by the guards, and Mercedes, although still in love with Dantes, finds herself marrying Fernand, later to bear him a son. Later, Dantes encounters Abbe Faria (O.P. Heggie), an old man imprisoned there for many years who spends his free time cutting his way through prison walls and digging a tunnel that would someday get him through to freedom. Over the years, Abbe Faria educates his friend Dantes by showing him a chart of the location of fabulous treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. While digging through the tunnel, there is a cave-in that crushes Abbe Faria's ribs, later the cause of his death. As the guards prepare to take the old man's body away, Dante switches places with the deceased, and hides himself in the burial sack. After being thrown into the ocean, Dantes breaks himself free.He is then rescued and picked up by Captain Camp (Mitchell Lewis), who makes him part of his crew. After shaving off his long beard, Dante locates the island of Monte Cristo and he goes ashore to possess the treasure, making him a very rich man. He then returns to France in the guise of The Count of Monte Cristo to then avenge his three enemies, Fernand, Raymond DeVillefort (Louis Calhern) and Danglars (Raymond Walburn), the men who had him unjustly sent to prison where he stayed for twenty years. How Dantes achieves his vengeance adds to the suspense and pleasure of the avid "revenge is sweet" viewer.

Also seen in the supporting cast are Georgia Caine as Madame De Rosas; Luis ALberni as Jacopo; Clarence Muse as the muted Ali; Douglas Walton as Albert De Mondego; Juliette Compton and Lionel Bellmore, among others. The memorable musical score by Alfred Newman would be repeated in latter films, notably the "Ave Maria" underscoring portion used for LES MISERABLES (20th Century, 1935) starring Fredric March.

Hailed by many as the very best and most memorable screen adaptation to the Dumas novel, this obviously goes without question. Aside from it being faithful to the book, the movie itself holds interest throughout, and Robert Donat's performance, ranks one of his best in his long but occasional screen career. Had this movie been produced a few years later, chances are that the Dantes character would have been played by the likes of future swashbuckling kings as Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power, or even Douglas Fairbanks Jr., for example, but although Donat's Edmund Dantes is one of the best ever to be recaptured on film, asthma and ill heath would prevent him from performing similar duties in future Hollywood swashbuckling adventures.

Unfortunately, film prints to THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO that have circulated on television and video since the early 1980s was the abridged 97 minute version, eliminating about 20 minutes worth of footage. If one were to locate a rare video copy either at a local library or a video store, chances are they would acquire a 1990s VHS format from Video Treasures, also being a shorter and "colorized" copy. While it's hard indicate what's been actually edited, the cuts are obvious, particularly through sudden blackouts during the plot followed by fade-ins to the middle of scenes that play like reading a middle of a chapter of a book without a new beginning. Also missing from those VHS copies is the cast of actors and their roles, something that existed on TV prints prior to 1980. Restoration to the film's original length (114 minutes) and crisp black and white photography finally turned up on Turner Classic Movies on July 6, 2008.

The success of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO spawned sequels "in name only" in later years, including THE SON OF MONTE CRISTO (United Artists, 1940); THE RETURN OF MONTE CRISTO (Columbia, 1946), both featuring Louis Hayward as a descendant of Edmund Dantes; among others, as well as countless remakes and imitations, but this 1934 version still should hold interest today. Rarely seen in recent years, it did have a "colorized" television presentation on the Disney Channel in the early 1990s as part of its "Best of Hollywood" program, but like the Video Treasures copy, was not the complete version.

Regardless of print availability, the 1934 first sound version to THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO remains an adventure classic from the "golden age of Hollywood" that has stood the test of time. (***1/2)

Reviewed by palinurus2 10 / 10

Never surpassed

I was lucky enough to obtain a video copy of an excellent black & white print of this movie, as I believe the colourisation of current copies falsifies the viewing experience. The photography and lighting are so exquisite, only the 1930's movie-making artists - it was an art form then - could accomplish it and it has to be appreciated like an antique: old, but immensely valuable for that.

They truly don't make them like this any more, and after having seen some of the subsequent screen versions, I still don't believe this one has ever been surpassed. I have also read Dumas' novel and would say that except for some minor alterations to the plot, the movie is largely true to the book.

Robert Donat is a dashing Dantes, whose ageing in body and spirit during the course of the movie is utterly believable (but he even improved on his ability to portray a physical and mental journey a few years later, when he made "Goodbye Mr. Chips"). Elissa Landi is a sweet and witty heroine, and the villains are so beautifully characterised (notably Sidney Blackmer's Mondego) that it becomes all the more satisfying when Dantes deals with them according to their own villainous traits.

I particularly enjoyed the intelligent flashes of irony with which the grim story is suffused, such as Dantes' double-speak as he flatters his enemies, at the same time telling them truth which they choose to misunderstand. The script is fantastic, the acting luminous. I feel sorry for those who hesitate to watch black & white classics like this one - they miss out on the very essence of what the art of movie-making and acting really used to be about.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 9 / 10

The Best Known Version

I like Robert Donat. He had marvelous stage presence, and a fine speaking voice (ironically, as he suffered from asthma). He was a terrific actor, who did get an Oscar for his portrayal of MR. CHIPS, but due to poor health made far too few movies. And we are the poorer for it.

His performance as Edmond Dantes, in THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, is the one most people recall seeing. It is the best known performance in that role on film. But is it the best performance? I think it is one of the two best performances. The other one was by Gerald Depardieu in a film version for television that was shown on two nights a few years back as a mini-series. It told far more of the details of the thousand page plot than this film version with Donat did. But that might be a serious defect.

It sometimes helps to plow through a long classic work to see what all the shouting is about. Alexander Dumas Sr.'s novel was an adventure tale set in the years 1815 to 1830/35. It was more than an adventure novel. The son of a French Revolutionary War General, Dumas recognized that the Bourbon restoration of 1814, and 1815 - 1830 was a step backward for French liberties - that despite Napoleon's egomania he had straightened out France's constitutional rights and had restored it's glories. So the novel, looking at the careers of it's three (or four) villains notes who is considered favorably by the new regime: the business swindler Danglars (who becomes a banker), the questionable military hero De Mondego, and the ruthless, hypocritical legal master De Villefort. The fourth villain, Caderrouse, is a born criminal, who is in and out of jail. He is really a human parasite in the story. He doesn't even appear in this version with Donat.

The idea of the novel is that circumstances twist the fate of Edmond Dantes into the hands of these swine. Danglars is jealous that his employers by-passed him, and made Dantes (a younger man) the captain of the merchant ship they work on. De Mondego is in love with Mercedes, and she is to marry Dantes, so he hates his shipmate as well. De Villefort finds that Dantes unwittingly knows information about the return of Napoleon from Elba that could blast his career with the Bourbons (the information implicates De Villefort's father, a longtime supporter of the Emperor). So it is that these three act together to put Dantes out of the way - in the infamous Château D'If prison.

The novel shows how Dantes tunnels into the cell of the Abbe Faria, how the latter teaches him the sciences, history, culture, and bequeaths to him a buried treasure he was protecting. After a remarkable escape, Dantes gets to the isle of Monte Cristo off Italy and finds the treasure. And he uses it to destroy his enemies.

Because the three have Achilles heels it is not too difficult, but if the film was shown as the novel reads a film director would have a serious problem: After four hundred pages of plot, one begins to resent Dantes - now the Count of Monte Cristo. He is so determined to destroy these three (and Caderrouse, who helped starve Dantes' dependent father to death), that innocent third parties are hurt all over the place. Also some of the plots make the villains less villainous because their personal lives are involved. De Villefort finds members of his family being poisoned, and suspicion falling on his beloved daughter. This plot line was jettisoned in the 1934 film version. Probably just as well, as Louis Calhern's characterization of De Villefort was quite sharp and business-like, but not loving as the actual character is to his legitimate children in the novel (however, he does try to dispose of an illegitimate baby at one point - an act that eventually helps destroy him).

For a good, "classic comics" style version of Dumas' novel, Donat's film will do well. But try to catch Depardieu's version, and (better yet) try to read the complete novel.

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