The Count Of Monte Cristo (1956/Network U.K./PAL Region 2 DVD Import)
C Sound: C Extras: D Episodes: B-
NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back
DVDs that can handle Region Two/2 PAL format software and can be ordered from
our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the
Alexandre Dumas’ The Count Of Monte
Cristo a Superhero? An
Adventurer? He has a secret identity in
the auspices of Edmond Dantes and does fight evil and helps out women in
distress and worse. With that, he is
less known these days than The Three Musketeers, the property has been the
subject of silent films, old movie serials, radio dramas, TV mini-series and
even a hit Anime show. It has also been
made into several TV series worldwide, but the lone English-language production
remains a 1956 British TV series with George Dolenz.
is Micky Dolenz’s father, best known as the co-star on the even bigger hit TV
series The Monkees ten years later.
Tough it only lasted one season and 39 half-hour episodes, this version
was made by ATV/ITC, the production powerhouse lead by the late Lord Lew
Grade. As a result, you get smart, tight
teleplays in what is one of the best uses of the characters I have seen to date,
taking place after the book and assuming you have read it or know the story. Sure, they take some liberties, but this
holds up really well for being almost 55 years old.
Dolenz definitely could handle the lead and fine supporting actors like Patrick
Troughton (an original Doctor Who),
Robert Brown, Walter Gotell, Adrienne Corri, Ian Wolfe and Faith Domergue are
among the more familiar faces, but everyone seems to be having a good time and
the show is aimed at younger males, yet offers more. The show is still fun all these years later.
X 1 black and white image was shot in 35mm film and you can see that this is a
better-looking show than anyone seeing it at the time would have imagined. However, we get more softness and
strained-looking detail more often than I would have liked, though the prints
seem brand new. The Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono also shows its age with flaws and distortion you would expect for its age,
though it is better at times than other shows from the era. Just not enough. There are no extras, unfortunately, though
interviews and a commentary would have been nice. Maybe for the Blu-ray…
above, you can order this DVD import set exclusively from Network U.K.
- Nicholas Sheffo