Down 3,523 this week

The Son of Monte Cristo (1940)

Passed  |   |  Adventure  |  10 January 1941 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 421 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 1 critic

In 1865, General Gurko Lanen is dictator of "Lichtenburg" in the Balkans. Rightful ruler Zona hopes to get aid from Napoleon III of France. The visiting Count of Monte Cristo falls for Zona... See full summary »



0Check in

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive


IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 985 titles
created 09 Jan 2012
a list of 574 titles
created 17 Sep 2012
a list of 49 titles
created 20 Feb 2013
a list of 8112 titles
created 19 Jun 2014
a list of 29 titles
created 4 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Son of Monte Cristo (1940)

The Son of Monte Cristo (1940) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Son of Monte Cristo.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

After greedy men have Edmound Dantes unjustly imprisoned for 20 years for innocently delivering a letter entrusted to him, he escapes to get his revenge on them.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Robert Donat, Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Edmond Dantes is falsely accused by those jealous of his good fortune, and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the notorious island prison, Chateau d'If. While imprisoned, he ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Vernay
Stars: Pierre Richard-Willm, Michèle Alfa, Aimé Clariond
Captain Kidd (1945)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The unhistorical adventures of pirate Captain Kidd revolve around treasure and treachery.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Barbara Britton
Certificate: Passed Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Despotic King Louis XIV discovers he has a twin brother who has grown up under the tutelage of his foster father, the patriotic musketeer D'Artagnan.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, Warren William
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An aircraft designer falls for the wife of an imprisoned gangster. All goes well until the gangster gets out of prison...

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: George Raft, Joan Bennett, Lloyd Nolan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Nicole has no job and is several weeks behind with her rent. Her solution to her problem is to try and snare a rich husband. Enlisting the help of her friend Gloria and the maitre'd at a ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Mischa Auer
The Texans (1938)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After the Civil War, an ex-Confederate soldier faces new battles, including the elements and a carpetbagger intent on destroying him.

Director: James P. Hogan
Stars: Joan Bennett, Randolph Scott, May Robson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

College sweethearts Julie and Ives have planned to marry as soon as school is over. Their plans go amiss when Julie meets a weak writer and runs off to marry him. After her husband dies, ... See full summary »

Directors: Joshua Logan, Arthur Ripley, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Joan Bennett, Henry Fonda, Louise Platt
Trade Winds (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Kay Kerrigan commits a murder and then changes her hair color, assumes a new identity and flees the country by ship. She's unaware that she's being followed by Sam Wye, a skirt chasing ... See full summary »

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Fredric March, Joan Bennett, Ralph Bellamy
Monte Cristo (1922)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A film adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas novel. Edmond Dantes is falsely accused by those jealous of his good fortune, and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the ... See full summary »

Director: Emmett J. Flynn
Stars: John Gilbert, Estelle Taylor, Robert McKim
Drama | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Remake of "To Have and Have Not" based on Hemingway short story. Plot reset to early days of Cuban revolution. A charter boat skipper gets entangled in gunrunning scheme to get money to pay... See full summary »

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Audie Murphy, Eddie Albert, Patricia Owens
Green Hell (1940)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A group of adventurers head deep into a South American jungle in search of ancient Incan treasure. A beautiful woman, brought to their camp by hired bearers, has come to join her husband, a... See full summary »

Director: James Whale
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Bennett, John Howard


Cast overview, first billed only:
Grand Duchess Zona of Lichtenburg
Gen. Gurko Lanen
Florence Bates ...
Countess Mathilde Von Braun
Lionel Royce ...
Col. Zimmerman
Montagu Love ...
Prime Minister Baron Von Neuhoff
Conrad Stadt (as Ian Mac Wolfe)
Lt. Fritz Dorner
Ralph Byrd ...
William Gluck
Georges Renavent ...
Marquis de Chatante
Michael Visaroff ...
Hans Mirbach
Theodore von Eltz ...
James Seay ...
Lt. Stone
Lt. Schultz


In 1865, General Gurko Lanen is dictator of "Lichtenburg" in the Balkans. Rightful ruler Zona hopes to get aid from Napoleon III of France. The visiting Count of Monte Cristo falls for Zona and undertakes to help her, masquerading as a foppish banker and a masked freedom fighter. The rest is rapid-fire intrigue and derring-do. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 January 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hijo de Montecristo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Thirteen years after making this film, in which he played the villainous ruler of a fictitious country called "Lichtenburg" (an obvious combination of the real-life small countries Lichtenstein and Luxemburg), George Sanders played a sympathetic role in the musical "Call Me Madam," also set in "Lichtenburg." See more »


[first lines]
Colonel Zimmerman: Turnkey! Bring out the prisoner William Gluck.
Turnkey: Yes, Colonel.
[opens cell]
Turnkey: Come out!
William Gluck: I thought you were in a hurry to get me in.
See more »


Followed by The Return of Monte Cristo (1946) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Louis Hayward steals all hearts
11 July 2002 | by (England) – See all my reviews

It is almost invariably a bad sign when the villain of the piece utterly steals the show in the first ten minutes - even when said villain is played by the inimitable George Sanders. I was seriously tempted to give up on this film before the eponymous Count had made his (delayed) appearance; indeed, memory suggested that on a previous occasion I had actually done so. To have missed the remainder of this charming film, however, must now rank as one of my most serious misjudgements so far!

George Sanders is superb as the ruthless Gurko Lanen, but a performance of this calibre in the role of the villain holds the danger of overbalancing the film in the absence of a totally outstanding performance on the part of his opponent. But the introduction of Louis Hayward's slender, charming Monte Cristo as an outsider into the cliche'd Ruritanian mix proves to be the vital spark that not only saves the film but catapults it to rank as a joyous classic of its genre. As Gurko Lanen sardonically observes, it is an adversary with a sense of humour who is dangerous.

No-one could claim originality for the plot. There are strong echoes of 'The Mask of Zorro' to be found, as our well-born young hero alternates the pose of a fop - suffering the scorn of his ladylove - with the role of masked defender of the downtrodden masses. But expectations are constantly subverted; like its title character, the film has the endearing knack of not taking itself too seriously.

This is one hero, for all his skill, who has been known to lose when launching himself gaily into battle against overwhelming numbers of his rival's henchmen; who takes his nom de guerre at the whim of a moment from the banner heading of an underground news-sheet; who shrugs off his enemy's imprecations and his lady's upbraiding both alike, with a merry grin; who clearly takes enormous enjoyment in sending himself up by playing the part of a foppish banker to deflect General Lanen's suspicions. In a nod to the Dumas original, the tool that gains him access to the General's plans and confidence is the prospect of a banking loan from the fabled Monte Cristo fortune, and despite his title the young Count is able to point out that, like Gurko Lanen, Edmond Dantes the elder was a self-made man.

For, if the hero is not entirely infallible - and all the more likeable for it - neither is the villain entirely without our sympathy. As we see in the opening scenes, Lanen is neither a fool nor a coward, and despite his cultured suavity he is the son of a stonemason, and proud of it; a gifted peasant who has dared to aspire, first to the rulership of his tiny country, then to the hand of the greatest lady in the land, the Grand Duchess herself. It is not a romance that the audience can possibly favour - the would-be suitor is too old, too brutal, too jaded to be a suitable match for young Zona - but it is hard not to wince at the haughty manner in which his courtship is dismissed. To this viewer at least, the proposal sounded genuine, evoking the old proverb that 'if she would not take him, still the lady might make him' - but any possibility for redemption is lost by the all-too-evident contempt of the Grand Duchess for the low-born upstart General.

(And I never could see why Baron von Neuhof's arrest for plotting to bring in Louis Napoleon's troops in order to return his own faction to power gets dismissed as "trumped-up charges", when Lanen's last-ditch resort to a similar bargain with the Tsar is trumpeted as a vile betrayal of his country....)

It's obvious from the start that this is one villain who is going to give the hero and his allies a run for their money; and so he does. Monte Cristo's flattery doesn't fool the General for an instant, though he is prepared to tolerate the fop as long as he remains useful, and the identity of the spy who ultimately betrays 'The Torch' has been skilfully established from the very first scenes. As soon as Lanen's suspicions are aroused he contrives, with only a little manipulation of those most loyal to his audacious guest, to discover both his secret identity and his concealed escape route in time to have him arrested and thrown in jail.

Ruthless and resourceful to the very last, Gurko Lanen keeps us gasping as he gambles everything to achieve his aims. Yet above all, it is Louis Hayward, in the irrepressible part of Edmond Dantes the younger (surely a kindred spirit of Simon Templar?) who really brings the picture to life. It will take all the wit and daring of an opponent as ingenious and endearing as the Son of Monte Cristo to stop the General... with a little help from Zona, who at the crucial moment yet again subverts the genre by saving herself!

Bloopers are few, although the Grand Duchess' achievement in adhering side-saddle behind her rescuer on the rump of a galloping horse is little short of miraculous, as is the apparent availability of sticky tape in 1865 for silencing the mouth of the Russian ambassador! During Lanen's balcony speech, a distant off-stage voice can faintly be heard prompting him line by line; while it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that the character would have had a prepared speech 'cued' to him in that situation, I somehow doubt that this was intentional :-)

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Great Movie! PACman66
Discuss The Son of Monte Cristo (1940) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: