Edmond Dantes is imprisoned in the Chateau d'If without trial, for carrying a message from Napoleon in exile on Elba. After being told that he died in prison, his fiancé Mercedes is forced to marry his rival Count Mondego. Twenty years later, Dantes escapes with the help of the Abbe Faria, who leaves him the treasure of Monte Cristo. Dantes, now called the Count of Monte Cristo, plans his revenge on the three who framed him.Written by
Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies. See more »
During the fencing duel between Dantes and Mondego, in one brief shot near the end Sidney Blackmer holds his sword in his left hand instead of his right, which he does in the rest of the scene. This was obviously a shown in reverse as is often done to add footage. See more »
As a story The Count of Monte Cristo still has great power. Case in point, the movie Sleepers where four young men from Hell's Kitchen were sexually abused in a reform school they were sentenced to. They found in the Alexandre Dumas novel a man they could understand very easily given their street code. Edmund Dantes code of street justice translates very easily to just about every culture in the world, be it the mean streets of New York or the post Napoleonic Era in France.
Robert Donat is Edmund Dantes an ordinary seaman who carries a letter from Elba about Napoleon Bonaparte's imminent return to France in 1815. Now he doesn't know he's carrying the letter, it was given to him by his dying captain. Three men who have their own reasons not to see the truth come out imprison Donat without trial in an island prison off Marseilles.
After years there Donat effects his escape and plans to wreak vengeance on them, but not just to kill them, to expose them because all three have risen to importance in France. He's the Count of Monte Cristo now, having been bequeathed a hidden treasure by another inmate.
The kids from Sleepers as well millions of others have learned what Dumas tried to convey, that hot blooded revenge killing won't do. If you have to take vengeance make sure it is an extremely calculated series of moves.
Monte Cristo is the perfect kind of role for the cerebral Robert Donat. Donat makes us believe his transformation from the young and hopeful Edmund Dantes to the calculating Monte Cristo. If it were not for the Oscar Donat received for Goodbye Mr. Chips this one would have been the signature role of his career.
Also look for some good acting by Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern and especially Raymond Walburn in their parts. He's usually the jovial gladhanding type, often a knave, but never a villain as he is here. Not a Walburn you're used to.
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