The Count of Monte Cristo (1908)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Costume Adventure  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This is very likely the earliest screen adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel, and one of a small handful of Francis W. Boggs films to still exist. Director Boggs was a film pioneer, who urged his boss, William Selig, to relocate from Chicago to Los Angeles. In fact, this film contains the first known dramatic footage to be shot in California (the scene is when Dantes emerges from the sea after escaping from prison). Like all the dramas of its day, Monte Cristo is shot exactly like a play (with the exception of the ocean scene), with the camera set up in one spot, filming the actors on a stage-like set. In fact, it is divided up into acts, just like a play. Unless one knows the story of The Count of Monte Cristo, the film is pretty hard to follow, since title cards are minimal and the actors are seen gesticulating incoherently from a distance. Over the course of four years, Boggs made 200 films. In 1911, he was murdered by a deranged studio janitor, and so his place in film history has become largely forgotten.