So when I watched this movie this time, I tried to keep careful track of names that go with faces. And failed miserably. Grr. I have to keep checking imdb.com to straighten them out, even as I write this review.
But never mind, because I need to give you a quick synopsis of the story! Because it's a rip-snorter. Okay, it all starts when Edmund Dantes (Richard Chamberlain), respected French sailor, returns home after a long voyage.
|Edmund is the young one on the right in the smashing uniform.|
He's greeted by his dearest love, Mercedes (Kate Nelligan), whom he's about to marry.
|Edmund and Mercedes at their wedding rehearsal.|
But three men are envious of Edmund for various reasons, namely Danglars (Donald Pleasance), Caderousse (Alessio Orano), and Mondego (Tony Curtis). They cook up a little plot that gets him arrested on the day before his wedding.
|Mercedes screaming as Edmund is arrested.|
He's brought before a police official named de Villefort (Louis Jourdan) who, for reasons of his own, has Edmund thrown into the infamous French prison the Chateau d'If.
|The real Chateau d'If. So much shorter than I always imagine it.|
There, Edmund meets a fellow prisoner and eventually escapes. I first encountered this story as a little radio dramatization included in a lit textbook when I was 11 -- it dramatized the section in which Edmund meets the other prisoner, and I enjoyed it so much, I got the novel from the library and read it. And loved it. Anyway, once he's escaped, Edmund goes to the island of Monte Cristo and finds a treasure.
|Edmund and the treasure|
|The ultra-handsome Count.|
|Danglars is now a wealthy banker.|
|Mondego is a successful military officer and has married Mercedes.|
|Caderousse is a dandy ne'er-do-well.|
|De Villefort is an important police official.|
Only Mercedes recognizes Edmund after all these years -- everyone else just wonders who this guy is, with his astounding wealth.
|Mercedes, who hasn't aged as well as Edmund.|
Edmund sets out wreaking vengeance on his enemies, and I'm not going to go into all that because you really should either watch it (available on YouTube here) or read the book.
I find the costumes in this to range from adequate to awesome. I absolutely love the count's look, with his striking white hair and black goatee. He wears an amazing cape in several scenes, and lots of rich clothes. I especially love shirts with swooshy sleeves like these, and he wears lots of them.
Is this a family-friendly film? There's really no bad language, no objectionable scenes, no real violence. So yes, it is! Unless you're anti-revenge, as this is all about revenge. But it does show that vengeance as an end unto itself does not promote happiness, even for the vengeance-seeker.