The Count of Monte Cristo (1975 film)
|The Count of Monte Cristo|
|Written by||Alexandre Dumas, père (book)
|Directed by||David Greene|
Isabelle de Valvert
|Theme music composer||Allyn Ferguson|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Production location(s)||Cinecittà Studios, Cinecittà, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Portovenere, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy
Rome, Lazio, Italy
|Running time||119 minutes (European version)/ 105 minutes (American version)|
|Production company(s)||Incorporated Television Company
Norman Rosemont Productions
|Original release||January 10, 1975|
The Count of Monte Cristo is a 1975 television film produced by ITC Entertainment and based upon the book The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père. It was directed by David Greene and starred Richard Chamberlain as Edmond Dantès, Kate Nelligan as Mercedes, Tony Curtis as Fernand Mondego, Louis Jourdan (who played Edmond Dantès in the 1961 film adaptation of the novel) as De Villefort, Donald Pleasence as Danglars, Trevor Howard as Abbé Faria, and Isabelle de Valvert as Haydee. ITC had previously produced a 39-part TV series based on the same source material, in 1956. Later it was remade in Telugu as Veta.
The film emphasizes the theme of revenge and manipulation of characters by Dantès until the final swordfight with Mondego. The courtroom scene in which Dantès brings down crown prosecutor De Villefort is a highlight of the film, as is the scene between Dantès and Mercedes when he reveals Mondego’s treachery to her (which occurs almost precisely as in the novel). However, important characters are omitted and several scenes differ from the novel. Villefort’s wife for instance, never appears, and there is no mention of her ever having poisoned anyone. In the novel, it is Mondego rather than Danglars who commits suicide, and Dantès and Mondego do not engage in a swordfight. As in the novel, Dantès loses Mercedes because of his vengeful bitterness. Haydee has only a minor role in the film, and there is no indication that she and Monte Cristo become lovers as in the book.
- Richard Chamberlain as Edmond Dantès
- Donald Pleasence as Danglars
- Louis Jourdan as Gérard de Villefort
- Tony Curtis as Fernand Mondego
- Kate Nelligan as Mercédès
- Trevor Howard as Abbé Faria
- Dominic Guard as Albert Mondego
- Taryn Power as Valentine De Villefort
- Dominic Barto as Bertuccio
- Alessio Orano as Caderousse
- Angelo Infanti as Jacopo
- Isabelle De Valvert as Haydee
- Anthony Dawson as Noirtier De Villefort
- Harold Bromley as M. Morrell
- George Willing as Andre Morrell
- Ralph Michael as M. Dantès
- Harry Baird as Ali
The following participants in major sub-plots of the Dumas novel are not portrayed in the film:
- Luigi Vampa
- Maximilian Morrel
- Hermine Danglars
- Eugenie Danglars
- Lucien Debray
- Heloise Villefort
- Edouard Villefort
- Marquis Saint-Méran
- Marquise of Saint-Méran
The film was produced by Norman Rosemont, who originally tried to do it as a mini series but could not sell it. Instead he signed a deal with NBC to make it as a TV movie, although the film would be released theatrically in Europe. The budget was one and a half million dollars.
Bell Telephone Company sponsored and Richard Chamberlain agreed to star. It was part of the Bell System Family Theatre.
Rosemont remembered “grave doubts were expressed by the networks about whether there was a mass audience for period pieces. They were in costume, there was the worry about accents and inevitably they would cost more than a period drama.”
Filming took place in Rome starting in August 1974. There was location filming outside Marseilles.
“We tried to stick as closely as possible to the novel,” said Rosemont. “And with Chamberlain in the lead I’ve got to say the show worked out better than anyone could want.”
Chamberlain called it “a great story” and said he chose not to see the previous movie versions because “I didn’t want to copy even unconsciously.”
The show received good ratings. Market research showed the program had good “commercial recall” and reflected well on sponsor Bell, so they wanted more. Rosemont went on to make adaptations of The Man in the Iron Mask, Captain’s Courageous and The Four Feathers.
The film was nominated for two Emmys: Richard Chamberlain for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Special Program – Drama or Comedy, and Trevor Howard for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Special. Later it was remade in Telugu Movie as Veta
- Is that Richard Chamberlain?: ‘Three Musketeers’ Adventure story Henry James series Treading water By Arthur Unger. The Christian Science Monitor 8 Jan 1975: 9.
- Eight Specials to Mark Bell Theater’s 5th Year Los Angeles Times 9 July 1974: e14.
- Why Norman Rosemont Likes to Film the Classics: Norman Rosemont’s TV Films By DAVID LEWIN. New York Times 23 Nov 1980: D35.
- CHAMBERLAIN TO STAR IN NBC MONTE CRISTO’Los Angeles Times 5 June 1974: e16.
- ‘Maltese Falcon’ just gave birth to a ‘Black Bird’ Servi, Vera. Chicago Tribune 19 June 1974: b6.
- A House Call ON A Former Dr. Kildare Kaufman, Bill. Los Angeles Times 6 Jan 1975: g15.
- TV VIEW: Ma Bell Connects With ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ O’Connor, John J. New York Times 16 Jan 1977: 85.
- Richard Chamberlain: Awards at IMDb
- Trevor Howard: Awards at IMDb
- Character relations in the Dumas novel at Wikimedia Commons