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... more » 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« less
"This movie was recently shown for 4 nights on tv - it was so beautifully filmed, gorgeously costumed, and touchingly acted that we were riveted every night. For the French students in our house the language was a chance to practice what they were learning in school. For the parents it was an historically accurate trip to the early 19th century, as well as a philosophical journey guided by Victor Hugo. By all means, watch this production."
For fans of literature, horror, mystery, & indies - STELLAR
janebob | 03/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have never read the book "Count of Monte Cristo", so I can't say how closely the film follows it. But I caught this flipping through channels one night and got hooked. I'm stunned at how good this is: great cinematics, costuming, casting -- first rate production that takes its time developing like "I, Claudius" or other classic lit pieces. But what's fun about the story is that the Count(Depardieu)is like an early detective -- a cross between Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. He's a wonderfully enigmatic and complex character -- out for revenge yet unable to help being a decent guy. He dabbles in alchemy, swoops through the night, dons various disguises. The story contains several sub-plots that are like mini "cases" the Count resolves, all within a longer, continuing theme. The count's side-kick, Bertuccio, was a wonderful character as well, played by a charmingly original actor. All in all, this is one worth buying and playing over and over, whether you're into costume dramas, A&E Mysteries or romance. And if you're a Depardieu fan, you're *really* in for a treat. He's wonderful in this."
Le Compte De Monte Cristo - Bravo
Harold Siegler | Colorado Springs, Colorado United States | 10/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have long ago dispelled the notion that any movie production faithfully reproduces a book as written. For those zealots who desire this, see George C. Scott's rendition of Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Alexander Dumas did not write the Count of Monte Cristo as a single novel, but rather as a long series of chapters in a French periodical of the time, hence its almost 1500 page length which would require a movie in excess of 800 hours.I have always enjoyed Gerard Depardieu in whatever role he portrayed, either in English (Porthos, Columbus) or in his French films. It was said that Depardieu did not portray the stature of Edmund Dantes, but let's face it, Gerard is a big guy. Even Dumas does not describe Dantes as a sickly wretch, even though his food was described as "maggot ridden slop". To paraphrase this, no actor has ever portrayed a role as one invisions when reading a novel, least of all, any actor that ever portrayed Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables. Le Comte De Monte Cristo captures the essence of the book which concerns a man bent on revenge, yet not so totally consumed that he looses his sense of humanity. I have recently re-read many of the classics that were part of my father's literary collection and must say that the movie ended on a happier note than the book.The scenes and demeanor of the gentry were extremely faithful to the time frame of the novel, as were the portrayal of the suporting cast of character. Although the movie is presented in French with English subtitles, I feel that this should not dissuade one from seeing it. Since movies are to be entertaining, I feel that this one fits the bill. If one wants the purity of the original, read the book"
An Exceptional Tale
stupidparrot | 11/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Count of Monte Cristo story has always interested me and I had been curious about this version since I first heard about it. I sat down to begin watching it and spent the next almost seven hours drawn to the tale all over again in a new way. An old story told once again, this time with fuller and richer detail and more compelling than ever. The Bravo version is far superior to any version from Hollywood. At first I was disappointed by the English sub-titles but now I must say the movie was better for it - I enjoyed the French dialogue (it immersed one more in the setting) and the sub-titles forced me to focus much more on what was happening. Gerard Depardieu was a very believable Edmond Dantes and the writers did with wonders with the script. While this version is too long for someone looking for a quick movie fix it is worth every minute of it when you take the time to see it all."
The Best Adaptation To Date
Octavius | United States | 08/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This adaptation of Alexander Dumas' work by Didier Decoin and Josee Dayan is one of the best to come to the screen in a long time. The episodes follow the traditional tale of revenge by Edmond Dantes after his betrayal by auhtorities and so-called friends.
Although Gerard Depardieu's physique hardly fools anyone as to his true identity, his acting skills truly shine in this series. Depardieu plays every nuance of the complex character's emotions and inner thoughts with the same brilliance as his performance of Cyrano de Bergerac several years before. The cast includes a variety of European actors who bring their own talent to the series.
This is probably the best rendition of Dumas' famous story to reach the screen in a long time. Being originally a mini-series, Dumas' plots and themes are treated much better than adaptations made for a 2-hour film. Even though this film's ending significantly deviates from the original story, its French origin allows it to capture the minute details of the period's mannerisms, fashions, and culture as depicted by Dumas like no other production has done so far. I strongly recommend this mini-series to those who want to see a more detailed adaptation of the original story."