The best of the numerous adaptations of Alexandre Dumas' larger-than-life tale, 1934's The Count of Monte Cristo faithfully retells the story of the betrayed and wrongfully imprisoned Edmond Dantes. Though the film's tacked-on happy ending may seem a little weak by today's standards, Count provides ample reasons why Dumas and his timeless themes of faith, love and vengeance continue to spawn popular adaptations, such as 1998's Man in the Iron Mask. Directors Rowland V. Lee and Wilfred Lucas do an excellent job of visualizing Dumas' imaginative settings; no expenses were spared on the lavish sets. In the title role, Robert Donat heads up a perfect cast; the role made the Englishman a Hollywood star, and he was offered several other high-profile, swashbuckling roles before his debilitating asthma forced him back home.
by Matthew Doberman review