The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)


This is V’s favorite movie of all time, therefore I must watch it, V being our hero from V for Vendetta.  I did enjoy the 2002 film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, and the novel is one of my absolute favorites, so there was a good chance that I’d like this a lot.  I was, in addition, a bit surprised by its relatively high rating on IMDB.  So tonight, I finally decided to indulge in the tale of Edmond Dantes again.

In contrast with the 2002 version, this film tried to stay much more faithful to the book.  In a way that pleased me, but because it was only a 2 hour movie which was adapted from a far too lengthy book, there was bound to be a fair share of disappointment.  I feel like many needless boring scenes were drawn out, such as his escape where he was sewing up the bag again which I think was meant to be dramatic, but just made me wish they had devoted more of this time to other parts of the story.  But then many crucial scenes were compressed or completely lost altogether.  I think the most troubling loss/change for me was the fact that he pieced together the truth behind his betrayers so quickly in this adaptation; this caused the entire story to lose much of its dramatic effect for me.  By eliminating his need to be illuminated to the truth, they reduced the prison scene quite substantially also foregoing the lessons that the old Abbe taught Edmond.  The only allusion to his education was that Faria stated in his dying breath that he had passed his mind on to Edmond.

It was still very enjoyable for me, but I don’t think I would’ve liked it so much had I not read the book.  The way the movie moved so quickly from scene to scene and moment to moment was so quick that one would have to connect many dots on their own using very minute details to comprehend the plot even vaguely.  The speed also reduced the sweetness of Edmond’s revenge when he finally did achieve it.  In comparison, I still prefer the 2002 recreation of the story.  Though it is much more loosely based on the original tale by Alexander Dumas, it was rewritten in a way that is more befitting for a 2 hour adventure.  Some parts do stray quite a bit though in the 2002 big screen version, so in my mind there are really two different versions of the entire story.

My real conclusion is that the invention of the movie montage was something amazing.  Apparently no one had thought of it in 1934 yet.  I don’t really know when it did first appear in the film industry, but I know Stallone really mastered it with his films in the 70’s and 80’s.  This film really could’ve been tied together much better if they only had montage technology  77 years ago.  Still, the movie was great for its time, but unfortunately times have changed.  It will still always be considered a classic.


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