Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Son of Monte Cristo|
Actors: Louis Hayward, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, Florence Bates, Lionel Royce
Director: Rowland V. Lee
Genres: Action & Adventure
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Member Movie Reviews
Jax M. (Destructa) from SAN JOSE, CA
Reviewed on 11/9/2008...
We enjoyed this movie a lot, with its swashbuckling swordfights, secret passages, and the tirelessly upbeat hero who goes undercover as a myopic city fop.
An Old Fashioned Swashbuckler, And Not Bad
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 10/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Menaced by more powerful nations, the country of Lichtenburg - tiny but proud - is known as the Jewel of the Balkans. Steeped in the ancient tradition of romance and chivalry, her people hold unswerving loyalty to the throne - on which now sits the young Grand Duchess Zona, who rules under the sinister shadow of one man - General Gurko Lanen."
And with this opening crawl, we're off on one of Hollywood's better swashbucklers. Gurko Lanen (George Sanders) is a cruel, smart tyrant. He's the son of a stone mason, determined to win legitimacy for his rule by marrying the lovely Zona (Joan Bennett). A nascent group of freedom fighters, sworn to overthrow Lanen and free Zona, is on the verge of being crushed. Zona is fleeing to France with a secret message imploring the French to come to her aid. Her loyal premier has been accused of treason by Lanen and imprisoned. Then just as Zona's racing carriage is forced to stop with a troop of Lanen's cavalry in pursuit, to her aid comes a handsome stranger (Louis Hayward), apparently out hunting. She's not to worry, he tells her, because his father was the best swordsman in France. Only later, when he secretly determines to help her by playing the fop with Lanen, does she realize that he is the son of the Count of Monte Cristo. The movie reaches a climax when Monte Cristo, who has also become the leader of the rebels as The Torch, unleashes a plot upon Lanen that will destroy him, free Zona and bring happiness once again to Lichtenburg.
The Son of Monte Cristo, as a rip-roaring adventure, is a darn good movie, but it was cursed with having "public domain" painted across its forehead. It has great sets filled with dank dungeons, weeping stone walls, hidden passages, a crypt full of moldering skeletons, sumptuous halls of state, and massive oak doors with iron hinges. It also has some clever dialogue. "General von Lanen," Zona orders, "I command you to set Baron von Neuhof free at once!" "Ordinarily, your wish would be my command," Lanen replies with a smirk, "but von Neuhof must die. I understand your grief. You're thinking of his services to you. But I must consider his danger to me." "I consider that you're having him murdered," Zona says. Lanen smiles at her. "When the same thing happened to Caesar and Louis XVI," he says, "they called it patriotism."
George Sanders nearly walks off with the movie. He looks the part, big shouldered, standing erect and with a buzz cut. Gurko Lanen is no fool, he doesn't believe in luck, and he doesn't take unnecessary chances. And in a nice touch, as much as he intends to force Zona to marry him, it appears he really loves her. Joan Bennett is gorgeous. As an actress she always seemed more intelligent than many. Here. she's more than the standard maiden in distress. Louis Hayward plays Edmund Dantes, the rich son of Monte Cristo, with great panache. He can use a sword with ease, leap over walls and down from balconies. He's a hero with a sense of humor. "I'm worn out climbing in and out of windows and up and down chimneys," he says. "It'll be such a relief to go through an ordinary door again." He makes an engaging fop and a believable action figure.
Incidentally, the director, Rowland V. Lee, also directed 1934's The Count of Monte Cristo with Robert Donant. It's a genuine classic and deserves to be on DVD in a sumptuous transfer.
The DVD I have is from Alpha Video. The picture is clear enough, but faded. Scratches and specks are visible but not too distracting. There are no extras and only four chapter stops."
A wonderful piece of nostalgia
C. Ward | Sunderland, UK | 11/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
This brings back many wonderful memories of Saturday nights at the pictures. (movies to our American friends) Louis Hayward swashbuckles his way through a ruritanian tale of treachery and betrayal whilst George Sanders presents a truly menacing adversary. In black and white and no doubt tame by the present day offerings of violence and bad language, nevertheless people of my generation would enjoy this."
BRING BACK THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Professor Emeritus P. Bagnolo | DOWNTOWN NYC/Chic. NM USA | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this film because I missed the good old days when I was athletic and young. I fenced as a kid and was always happily surprised when a new SwashBuckler (SB) came out. In this typical "B" film the old Louis Hayward sword and cloak genre, of many Monte Cristo and other SB's, Monte Cristo saves a nation from evil in the usual manner, by the clanging of sharp steel and innocent and childlike planning, which strategies would not win a checkers game, let alone a game of life and death chess. But in the end, the fun of watching a film from one's days of innocence, trumps it's lack of intellectual stimulation. If you are in a nostalgic mood, or buying for a boy under age 10, you can't go wrong here, despite the black and white film. I give it 3.5 stars, the last star and a half for nostalgic reasons"