|Index||3 reviews in total|
This early example of "Famous Players in Famous Plays" -- the best
known is Bernhardt in QUEEN ELIZABETH -- is interesting on several
counts, and fails on other counts. James O'Neill, now barely remembered
for being Eugene O'Neill's father, was a well-known actor, famous for
playing the Count on stage for many years. He comes off as a fairly
florid young man, within the realm of believability. However, other
actors are clearly playing for the balcony. Another problem is the
short length of the movie: an hour in 1912 was an enormously long
production, but it leaves out so much of Dumas' book that it can only
hit the highlights if it is to maintain continuity.
Fortunately, by and large, it does, thanks in large part to Edison veterans Edwin S. Porter and Joseph A. Golden.
Doubtless this must have been an exciting production in 1913 and an important step towards legitimizing films as an artistic medium. Today it largely is of historic interest.
Matinée idol James O'Neill is said to have played "The Count of Monte
Cristo" over 4,000 times on stage, beginning in 1875. And, so, Mr.
O'Neill was a natural choice to preserve his "own" interpretation of
Dumas' classic on film, as a "Famous Players" film production.
Unfortunately, apart from Dantes' voyage, this isn't much of a film;
most often, Edwin S. Porter's camera acts like a bored audience member.
It's too bad, because Mr. O'Neill, even in his mature years, appears
The star's playwright son Eugene O'Neill based the character "James Tyrone" from "Long Day's Journey Into Night" on his father. And, the character in that play seems like he could be the actor here playing "The Count of Monte Cristo". This is one to see if you're a film historian.
**** The Count of Monte Cristo (11/1/13) Edwin S. Porter ~ James O'Neill, Nance O'Neil, Murdock MacQuarrie
In Kenneth Macgowen's book"Behind the Screen" he mentions some interesting facts about this movie.According to Macgowen, James O'Neill was the author of the dramatization which he acted on stage and was used in the film.O'Neill received 20% of the profits from this movie for his services and use of his dramatization.Although the original novel was, of course, in the public domain, the Selig version of the year before apparently infringed on O'Neill's dramatization.O'Neill took Selig to court and won a favorable decision.Macgowan's book also illustrates a financial document from Famous Players,then recently discovered, giving an exact breakdown of costs and profits.This was a statement of 1916 indicating final payment to O'Neill from the last run of the movie.Macgowan also mentions that in some old movie histories the release of the O'Neill version had to be delayed because of the rival movie, but according to the statement, this was not true.
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