The Sword of Monte Cristo (1951)

80 mins | Swashbuckler | March 1951

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HISTORY

The film's opening credits read: "Edward L. Alperson Presents An Adaptation From Alexandre Dumas ' The Sword of Monte Cristo .'" Maurice Geraghty's onscreen credit is "Written and Directed by." The film was not based on any specific work, but was loosely inspired by Dumas' Le Comte de Monte-Cristo . According to information in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, producer Edward L. Alperson wrote the original story idea upon which Geraghty based his screenplay, but declined screen credit. A 13 Sep 1950 HR news item noted that the picture was partially shot on location at Lee's Ranch in Chatsworth, CA.
       The Sword of Monte Cristo was the first picture to be shot in SuperCinecolor, a three-color process similar to Technicolor but less expensive, according to a Mar 1951 NYT article. For information about the many films based on Alexandre Dumas' novel, see the entry for the 1934 Reliance Pictures production The Count of Monte Cristo in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ... More Less

The film's opening credits read: "Edward L. Alperson Presents An Adaptation From Alexandre Dumas ' The Sword of Monte Cristo .'" Maurice Geraghty's onscreen credit is "Written and Directed by." The film was not based on any specific work, but was loosely inspired by Dumas' Le Comte de Monte-Cristo . According to information in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, producer Edward L. Alperson wrote the original story idea upon which Geraghty based his screenplay, but declined screen credit. A 13 Sep 1950 HR news item noted that the picture was partially shot on location at Lee's Ranch in Chatsworth, CA.
       The Sword of Monte Cristo was the first picture to be shot in SuperCinecolor, a three-color process similar to Technicolor but less expensive, according to a Mar 1951 NYT article. For information about the many films based on Alexandre Dumas' novel, see the entry for the 1934 Reliance Pictures production The Count of Monte Cristo in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 May 51
p. 206.
Box Office
17 Mar 1951.
---
Daily Variety
9 Mar 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Mar 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 50
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 50
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 51
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Mar 51
p. 758.
New York Times
11 Mar 1951.
---
New York Times
23 Apr 51
p. 21.
Variety
14 Mar 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Based on an idea by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
Mus comp and dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod asst
Exec asst
Set cont
Casting dir
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Loosely inspired by the book Le Comte de Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père (Paris, 1844-45).
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1951
Production Date:
11 September--6 October 1950 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 March 1951
Copyright Number:
LP888
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
SuperCinecolor
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in feet):
7,248
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14883
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1858, during the reign of Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III, the people of France are angered that Louis has abandoned the republic and become a dictator. Unknown to Louis, his prime minister and half brother, Charles La Roche, desires the throne for himself, and abuses his position to gain power and amass a fortune. Louis reluctantly signs a decree allowing La Roche to limit the civil liberties of any suspicious persons, as he is afraid of assassins. La Roche and Capt. Renault, the leader of the Dragoons, are then assigned to find the leaders of a conspiracy against Louis. Despite their antipathy toward each other, the womanizing Renault and ambitious La Roche begin their investigation, which includes discovering the identity of the mysterious Masked Cavalier, who has rallied the people against Louis. La Roche and the Dragoons travel to Varenne, the village from which the conspiracy emanates, and there, the blustering mayor, Henri Lubec, attends a meeting condemning Louis. The Cavalier, who is actually the refined and beautiful Lady Christiane, reveals to her cohorts that she owns the fabled sword of the Count of Monte Cristo, who was the best friend of her late father, and that encoded on the sword is the location of the count's enormous treasure. Christiane declares her desire to use the treasure to fund an army to defeat Louis, but the conspirators quickly disband their meeting when the Dragoons arrive in the tavern above their hiding place. Christiane then returns to the chateau where she lives with her uncle, the Marquis de Montableau, and later that evening, Lubec arrives and Christiane shows him the sword. ... +


In 1858, during the reign of Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte III, the people of France are angered that Louis has abandoned the republic and become a dictator. Unknown to Louis, his prime minister and half brother, Charles La Roche, desires the throne for himself, and abuses his position to gain power and amass a fortune. Louis reluctantly signs a decree allowing La Roche to limit the civil liberties of any suspicious persons, as he is afraid of assassins. La Roche and Capt. Renault, the leader of the Dragoons, are then assigned to find the leaders of a conspiracy against Louis. Despite their antipathy toward each other, the womanizing Renault and ambitious La Roche begin their investigation, which includes discovering the identity of the mysterious Masked Cavalier, who has rallied the people against Louis. La Roche and the Dragoons travel to Varenne, the village from which the conspiracy emanates, and there, the blustering mayor, Henri Lubec, attends a meeting condemning Louis. The Cavalier, who is actually the refined and beautiful Lady Christiane, reveals to her cohorts that she owns the fabled sword of the Count of Monte Cristo, who was the best friend of her late father, and that encoded on the sword is the location of the count's enormous treasure. Christiane declares her desire to use the treasure to fund an army to defeat Louis, but the conspirators quickly disband their meeting when the Dragoons arrive in the tavern above their hiding place. Christiane then returns to the chateau where she lives with her uncle, the Marquis de Montableau, and later that evening, Lubec arrives and Christiane shows him the sword. The marquis, who is the only one able to translate the symbols engraved on the sword, wants Christiane to use the treasure for her dowry, and disapproves of her involvement in politics. Just then, Renault arrests Lubec, for the tavern owner has revealed his part in the plot. When La Roche questions Lubec, the weak-willed politician discloses the location of the sword, and La Roche confiscates it. Infuriated, de Montableau calls La Roche a scoundrel, and La Roche arrests him and orders him thrown in the chateau's dungeon. Determined to help her uncle and retrieve the sword, Christiane dons her Cavalier disguise and succeeds in stealing back the weapon and eluding Renault. In the village, jealous tavern maid Felice, who realizes that Renault is attracted to Christiane, hints that Christiane knows more about the Cavalier than Renault might think. After racing back to the chateau, Renault discovers a secret passageway used by Christiane, and soon finds her Cavalier costume and the sword. When Renault insists on giving the sword to Louis, however, La Roche plots to imprison him and the Dragoons, and install his own guards, the Lancers. Meanwhile, de Montableau refuses to translate the symbols on the sword, and La Roche orders him placed upon the rack to be tortured. Renault attempts to intercede on the marquis' behalf, but soon is arrested, along with his men, when the Lancers arrive. Dressed as the Cavalier, Christiane escapes the chateau and travels to see Louis, who cannot believe that La Roche could act so vilely. Christiane does convince Louis to investigate the situation himself, and they travel to La Rheine. There, La Roche gives Louis an indecipherable copy of the sword and lies about his true intentions, and Louis dismisses Christiane's complaints. Later, de Montebleau helps Renault to escape from the dungeon, and Renault and Christiane finally convince Louis of La Roche's duplicity. The Lancers take Louis captive, however, and La Roche forces him to persuade the marquis to translate the sword's symbols. Believing that Louis has come to his senses, the marquis gladly reveals the location of the treasure, but after La Roche and his men dash off to the hiding place, a deserted monastery, Renault and the Dragoons free themselves and follow. Joined by Christiane, Renault and his men fight valiantly, until finally, the Lancers are vanquished and La Roche falls to his death from the monastery's tower. Later, after pledging that the Count of Monte Cristo's treasure will be used to help the people of France, Louis restores all civil liberties, and Christiane and Renault celebrate with a kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.