on 29 December 2002
Ever since reading the novel many years ago I've been searching for an accurate adaptation to either TV or Film. Many years ago the BBC mini-series captured it beautifully with the unique English actor Alan Badel in the lead role as the enigmatic 'Monte Cristo' Since then everything has disappointed and some have shown only cursory respect for the original novel. Then along comes this version which is simply wonderful! Following the original storyline as closely as possible, within the time frame, and featuring superb casting, great camera, sound etc., Depardieu et. al. bring this story truly to life with its complexity of plot, suspenseful romance, fascinating characters - and all backed by a great music track which carries us magically from one scene to another!
on 24 November 2001
When I saw this, I thought "hmm, another French film with Gérard Dépardieu, is there a French production that DOESN'T involve him in some way?" But I have to say that he is perfect for this part. After 18 years in jail, the innocent Edmond Dantès styles himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, in order to seek revenge against the so-called friends who betrayed him years before, using his vast wealth, a number of disguises and remarkable ingenuity to mastermind their spectacular downfalls. Brooding, vengeful and frightening with his enemies, loyal and gentle to his friends, Dépardieu as the Count is central to this production. But this is by no means a one man show.
There is a whole kaleidoscope of characters as the story unfolds, some comic, like the scrounging Caderousse, others scheming and suave, such as the dastardly Villefort, and a host of others. If you like costume drama, this will not disappoint, as the women flounce in beautiful dresses around huge and ornate houses, the men strut in their impeccable waistcoats and top hats, and in the background, horse-drawn carriages ferry the rich and privileged past the hungry, dirty peasants. There is mystery, betrayal, suffering, trickery, clandestine romance, scheming, exotic locations, murder, kidnapping, regret, love, execution, financial skulduggery, redemption - you name it, it appears in Dumas's classic tale. Even the subtitles are good, in the unenviable task of conveying the complexity of the story, and it is certainly more atmospheric to hear the words in French - I can't imagine Dépardieu or any of this production dubbed into English!
I can't recommend this video highly enough if you feel like a few hours of Napoleonic intrigue and escapism, all set to a beautifully haunting and dramatic score.
on 5 February 2003
I first saw this mini-series living in France when it was on national TV. Everyone was talking about it, its was on all the chat shows and in the newspapers, and when I saw it I knew why - it was completely gripping! Great acting, great camera work, great production quality, beautiful scenery and location, great editing, directing and most imporantly amazingly convincing acting by a huge cast.
It's Gerard Dep's best performance by absolute miles, its as if he's lived all his life just for this role.
If you're a fan of the book or Dumas' other books you will love this, if you're a fan of a gripping and fascinating story you'll love it, and if you like period pieces or drama, you will love it. If you're bored of the same repeats on TV you could do no better in buying an entertaingin DVD than to get this.
Far far FAR better than the 2002 Guy Pierce remake. Its in a whole other league.
Not to be confused with the many films of the same name, this Gerard Depardieu Count of Monte Cristo was originally a mini-series for French television. This is a substantially authentic presentation of Dumas' ever-popular romance.
The authenticity is underlined by the inclusion of the full English translation of the original novel in the same case. This is something you simply could not have got away with in any of the film versions.
The series does take a couple of liberties with the plot, but in general they are nuanced alterations required to make it fit the format of television. It also has the very significant advantage of being in French with English subtitles, so most of the dialogue is the original.
What then, of the series itself? Hugely enjoyable. Depardieu is absolutely right for the part, and well supported by Ornella Muti, Jean Rochefort, Pierre Arditi, Sergio Rubini and Florence Darel. Prior to watching this, I had seen two of the films but not read the book. I was left gasping in my chair. With Dumas, plot is everything, and this is probably his best. The production and cast make up for what is probably the author's greatest weakness - he is better at describing passion than he is at showing it, and better at telling us that the situation is tense than actually making us feel the tension.
What about the book, then? It's a little disappointing that we get the English text rather than the French. Even so, the series will lead you naturally into reading. If that itself leads you to finding and reading the French text, so much the better.
on 7 November 2005
This mini-series succeeds in doing what various films failed by creating a highly enjoyable and wonderfully intricate adaption. The films were just over-simplified and really lost in that, as well as dramatically changing the story in areas. What makes this so good is the wonderful performances, not only by the always excellent Gerard Depardieu, but by the entire cast and the twisting story that always keeps you on the edge of your seat. I didn't hesitat in buying this edition after seeing it on TV some years ago and if you haven't read the book it comes with the DVD! An extra bonus!
I whole-heartedly recommend this!
on 14 June 2004
I imagined this film would have to work hard to deliver the same impact as the book (the book being one of my favourites). Never have I been so gripped for a solid non-stop six hours. This film is amazing. The emotion conveyed through all the characters is very hard-hitting and you can not help but become enraptured by all of their experiences and life stories. Very easy to follow and understand. Hard not to become too involved and believe you are 'in the moment'. My only criticism of this film is that the very last paragraph of the book, the letter penned by Edmond Dantes, and one which I deem to be one of the most poignant in literature,is not spoken. This is a must-see film for all....as the book is a must-read.
on 4 February 2004
Almost from the first you can forget the subtitles. The acting is superb and the adaptation one of the best seen on television. Although there are differences from the book, in the light of the series as a whole, they are forgivable. This is a series that has an enthusiastic audience who would like to see more of this quality. The recent film remake is tasteless and boring by comparision.