Claude Autant-Lara's 1961 Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most faithful screen versions of the evergreen Alexandre Dumas story -- and one of the most compelling, thanks to the director's ability to squeeze the last drop of romanticism out of the original. While Louis Jourdan seems ill at ease as the younger Edmond Dantes, he is ideally suited for the film's later scenes, when the older, sadder, and wiser Dantes begins exacting revenge upon those who had him condemned to prison. Honoring the spirit of the original, Autant-Lara avoids inserting the leftist proselytizing which weighed down many of his later films. To perk up the pace and ensure double-bill bookings, the American distributor of Count of Monte Cristo removed 90 minutes from the film's 3-hour length. This was the seventh movie adaptation of the Dumas classic, which was first filmed by Hobart Bosworth in 1912.
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