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The Count of Monte Cristo (2 disc)
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Memories of past adaptations of the Alexandre Dumas novel inevitably hover over this four-part French miniseries, originally broadcast on American cable television in 1999. It's hard, for instance, to top the 1934 feature starring Robert Donat as Edmond Dantès, the sea captain who is framed and unjustifiably imprisoned in 1815 for nearly two decades. Similarly, anyone who saw Richard Chamberlain essay the same role in a memorable 1975 TV movie may remember just how exciting that program was. Yet this lengthy costume adventure starring Gérard Depardieu as the vengeful Dantès, despite a rocky beginning, is absolutely mesmerizing in its own way. Rich in detail and overlapping subplots, strikingly handsome in art direction without getting ostentatious, this particular Count comes to life after Dantès escapes his lengthy incarceration in solitary confinement. Fans of the story know what comes next: Dantès makes his way to an uninhabited island off Italy, where he locates a vast treasure he has heard about. His sudden, phenomenal wealth gives him the means to reward allies, punish enemies, and become an architect of events without anyone knowing who's behind them. While Dantès's mind is bent on destroying those who betrayed him, his deeper nature causes him to perform a vast amount of good as well. Depardieu's big, beefy, clean-shaven self is not exactly the right fit, initially, for a character supposedly subsisting on thin soup for 18 years. He quickly assumes the central role with one of his most knowing and subtle performances, ingeniously painting Dantès as a man who has exchanged one sort of prison for another, the latter his own hatred. The sharp, engaging screenplay is by Didier Decoin (The Chambermaid on the Titanic), and the production is directed with flashes of bold inventiveness by Josée Dayan, a prominent European television director. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Half the characters have been scraped, Depardieu is laughable at best as the revenge-driven Dantes (I mean, come on, we see a frail young guy go in the worst prison of the time, and 14 years later he reappears with Depardieu's face and after having gained 100 pounds? Give me a break here), and all this farce stinks of self-importance. For the definitive, ultimate film version of Dumas' book, see the TV adaptation of 1979, a gorgeous French/Italian/German co-production, with Jacques Weber, who IS the Count, forever in my opinion. All the dramatic tension, sadness and suspense, not to mention EVERY character from the book, are present in that version, whilst all this is completely absent here.
Avoid at all costs!! I wish I could give this piece of trash zero stars, really.
The Count of Monte Cristo movie is a masterpice, so beautifully set and depicted that it will catch all the romatic souls attention 'til the very last image. Something was not incremented properly though : the music. The musical theme is too much emphasized in the movie. The movie director, Josee Dayan, should have made more judicious choices as musical classical diversity. Besides this, I strongly recommend that you buy this movie for yourself or that you offer it as a gift to some knowledgeable literary personal friend or relative. My wife and I enjoyed every minute of this magnificent movie.
There was what I feel to be a significant amount of modification to the original story. Some of these things are justified for the sake of keeping the movie from being too long (such as leaving out a few minor characters). However, it only would have taken a few extra minutes to expand on Faria's role in educating Dantes at the beginning of the film, as well as Danglars' punishment at the end (more on this shortly).
What I didn't like were the additions that were made to the script. These were done to make the count a more "friendly," likeable character, when in fact his darkness was part of the appeal of the book. I didn't like how they changed his role in giving the poison to Heloise Villefort to make him less "evil," playing less of a role in Albert de Morcerf's abduction by Luigi Vampa, his lack of a role in the building up of Villefort/Hermine Danglars' son and using him to destroy Villefort's career, taking away his intention to actually see Villefort's daughter poisoned, and cutting the amount of time Danglars' suffered in Vampa's custody to nothing (did I miss anything?). Overall, I feel that off the 4 characters that were the subject of the Count's revenge, they only stayed true to Caderousse's and Fernand de Morcerf's. The fate of Danglars' was going along great until that last scene which I mentioned. I feel that they took out any part the Count played in Villefort's misfortune. This, as I said, was probably to make the Count a friendlier character.
Another thing that perturbed me was the addition of Madame de Richardais' character. As a caveat, I must say that I really liked her character and the actress who played her.Read more ›
Despite being a bit too beefy for the role, Depardieu (in his first television role) turns in a stalwart and stern performance in the title role. It's a mannered performance that contrasts to some of the more bombastic roles that he has done in American films like THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK. It might not be the definitive performance of the role, but Depardieu does justice to it.
Because of the length of the series, many of the plotlines of the original are left untouched. Of course, if you're not used to foreign films with their subtitles and the long mini-series format (this series runs almost 400 minutes), you might find yourself getting impatient with this production. However, this is a fine production that I heartily recommend.
Most recent customer reviews
One of the best renditions ever - changed the characters slightly but remained quite true to the book. Would recommend it to anyone who loves classics, even with the subtitles.Published 13 months ago by Godsgirl
Movie was all in french, hump around a lot from original story, very hard to understand.Published 15 months ago by Alan Ballett
I was under the impression that it had English subtitles. It doesn't.
If that doesn't bother you, than this movie version is wonderful. Read more
An amazing depiction of the book with incredible acting.
Gerard Depardieu does an amazing job playing the Count of Monte Cristo. Read more
Superb acting as can usually be expected from the great Gérard! The movie follows the book quite well, and therefore does not miss. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2013 by Judith Garih
Great Movie and great play by Gerard Depardieu. It follows the book closely. I was a little bit disappointed at the end. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2013 by Art
Une série qui ne respecte que sommairement le livre. On ne reconnaît même pas Dantes, interprété par Gérard Depardieu. Read morePublished on June 5 2009 by R. Thibault
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