The Count of Monte Cristo

1956 | United Kingdom

ITC series based on Alexander Dumas' masterpiece of mystery and intrigue, Le Comte de Monte Cristo, first published in 1845. Dumas' original story told of the elaborate vengeance of Edmond Dantes, who was falsely accused of being a Bonapartiste conspirator in 1815 and consequently imprisoned for many years in the Chateau d'If. There, a dying prisoner told him of treasure to be found on the island of Monte Cristo, and after breaking free, Dantes took it for his own, setting himself up as a nobleman on the proceeds. 

The TV series expanded and took Dantes beyond the original story, turning him into a Gallic version of Robin Hood as a righter of all wrongs. Cristo was played by George Dolenz. An American citizen by naturalisation, George was born in Trieste, and emigrated to South America before settling down in California where his handsome features got him into the movie business. His son, Mickey, went on to find television fame at the youthful age of 10 under the stagename Mickey Braddock, then years later as Mickey Dolenz one member of 'made for TV' pop group The Monkees

The Count of Monte Cristo, which was aired in the USA first, began with a three part story directed by veteran Hollywood director Budd Boeticher and Cristo was accompanied by a faithful mute companion, Jacopo, actor Nick Cravat, who had starred opposite Burt Lancaster in another medieval jaunt, namely the 1950 movie The Flame and the Arrow.

Published on December 5th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.