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Bardelys The Magnificent, Monte Cristo

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Today, more than 80% of silent cinema is considered lost forever. Some films were claimed by the flammable and unstable film stock of the day. Others were, once upon a time, thought to be worth less than the cost of keeping them. Yet, miraculously, unique copies of celebrated films previously thought lost are occasionally found and restored to delight a new generation. Bardelys the Magnificent joins Monte Cristo as two resurrected classics, both top-of-the-line productions starring John Gilbert, one of the most handsome, passionate and popular stars of the 1920s. Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) is based upon the novel by Rafael Sabatini and directed by King Vidor, who just one year before had directed Gilbert in the smash hit The Big Parade. In France in an age of light loves and lively scandals, the Marquis de Bardelys (Gilbert), casual womanizer and accomplished swashbuckler, is entranced by Roxalanne de Lavedan (Eleanor Boardman); and against a background of knavery and intrigue, he sets out to woo and win her. Lavishly mounted and superbly directed with spectacular action scenes, Bardelys is a hugely entertaining action romance given an A-plus MGM production. The sole surviving print was found in France in 2006; the English titles are restored according to the original script. A gap in the recovered footage is bridged with stills, titles, and footage from the original trailer so the story is complete. The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra provides a lovely score of period photoplay music; Antonio Coppola provides an alternate musical score on piano. This release is possible through the graciousness of Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures. In Monte Cristo (1922), adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and directed by Emmett J. Flynn, Gilbert is Edmond Dantes, a sailor unjustly imprisoned for twenty years, time he spends acquiring education and finesse. Later the accidental heir to a vast fortune, Dantes reinvents himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, and wreaking revenge on those symbols of the decadent monarchy that wronged him. Fox Film spared no expense on this prestige film with lavish sets and a distinguished supporting cast. The sole surviving copy of Monte Cristo is a worn and choppy print found in the Czech Republic, but nearly complete. English titles have been restored with the help of the original script. Pianist Neal Kurz arranged and performs a score of obscure yet beautiful French music of the period. This DVD, produced by Serge Bromberg, Eric Lange, Jeffery Masino and David Shepard, includes a number of DVD special features; Film historians Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta draw from their own extensive historical research into the life of John Gilbert to provide a full-length audio essay on Bardelys the Magnificent as well as an enclosed booklet and a brand-new thirty-minute documentary supplement, Rediscovering John Gilbert, featuring an on-camera interview with John Gilbert s daughter and biographer, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain.

Special Features

On the Disc - Includes a full-length audio essay on Bardelys the Magnificent by Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta, who also produced the documentary supplement, Rediscovering John Gilbert, featuring an on-camera interview with John Gilbert’s daughter and biographer, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain 20 Page Booklet - Booklet includes the essay Rediscovering John Gilbert by Jeffrey Vance and Tony Maietta along with rare cast photos of Bardelys the Magnificent.

Product Details

  • Actors: John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Estelle Taylor, Roy D Arcy, Maude George
  • Directors: King Vidor, Emmett J. Flynn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    G
    General Audience
  • Studio: Flicker Alley LLC
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BVN3BO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,393 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bardelys The Magnificent, Monte Cristo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Once again Flicker Alley has done silent film fans a huge favor by compiling and releasing this DVD of two John Gilbert movies from different stages of his career. BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT dates from 1926 and reunites Gilbert with his THE BIG PARADE director, King Vidor. It's a typical MGM picture of the day with lavish sets, smooth camerawork, and colorful supporting players. Gilbert, in an attempt to outdo Douglas Fairbanks, swashbuckles his way through this Rafael Sabatini story in grand style but Sabatini was no Dumas which is why I prefer MONTE CRISTO out of this set. I have always loved this story of the unjustly accused Edmond Dantes getting his revenge on those who wronged him even if takes 20 years. It's also great to see another "lost" Fox film turn up. While it lacks the polish of the later MGM effort (it was shot in 1922 when Gilbert was 25), the film contains an emotional resonance the other doesn't have and Gilbert gives more of a performance here.

Both films were reconstructed from incomplete prints which some may find a distraction but we're lucky to have these titles at all so a big round of thanks to everyone involved for making it possible. The Mount Alto Orchestra provides a fine score for BARDELYS (there's an alternate piano score by Antonio Coppola) while Neal Kurz's piano score for MONTE CRISTO is an absolute delight as well. Rounding out the set are lots of supplements that include an audio essay for BARDELYS and a featurette REDISCOVERING JOHN GILBERT with Gilbert's biographer (and daughter) Leatrice Gilbert Fountain who is now in her 80s. Like other Flicker Alley releases, this one is a must for silent film aficionados. Don't let the price put you off. Remember, you get what you pay for (especially with silent film releases).
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Format: DVD
This beautiful 2-disc set by Flicker Alley is one of the year's most exciting silent film releases, bringing us two outstanding films previously believed to be lost. Such a rediscovery is always exciting, but when it concerns a neglected silent screen legend and two of his best early films, then this set simply cannot be missed. Until now, John Gilbert has been remembered mostly as Greta Garbo's co-star in several sultry and unforgettable silent films of the late 1920s such as "Flesh and the Devil" and "A Woman of Affairs", at which time it was John Gilbert who received first billing in the credits. Rivaling Rudolph Valentino in popularity, it was after Valentino's premature death that Gilbert attained the status Valentino held as the screen's great romantic lover and hero.

It is therefore significant to see these two earlier films of another genre and style by this silent star whose brightness shone only briefly yet brilliantly, and I found his performance in both films surprisingly and delightfully refreshing and different. In the King Vidor production of "Bardelys the Magnificent" he rivals Douglas Fairbanks in his famous swashbuckling action-adventure, "The Three Musketeers", with a similar setting and many exciting action scenes. It is a good story told beautifully with light humour which blends perfectly with the romance, suspense and adventure of the whole film. Although one reel is missing from this exciting rediscovery, the use of stills and extra intertitles fills the gaps nicely and does not detract from the overall smooth, stylish and sophisticated feeling of the film. An outstanding and perfectly-suited orchestral musical score by Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra enhances the quality of this already very satisfying Hollywood-style escape.
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Format: DVD
John Gilbert is finally getting some attention in a deluxe DVD release. Flicker Alley's DVD sets have been superb so far, and I am looking forward to this one too. It not only features two of Gilbert's films, it has some documentary material on Gilbert as well. Gilbert's story was one of the saddest of the silent to talkie transition in film. He was a sensation from his appearance in 1925's "The Big Parade" until the end of silent films in 1929. Sadly, his first talking film, "His Glorious Night", was full of the problems that were parodied in "Singin in the Rain". Gilbert actually did kiss the leading lady while repeating over and over "I Love You". That and the fact that the recording of his voice went awry making it sound unrealistically squeaky dealt his career a blow from which he never could recover. "His Glorious Night" was made by MGM, but is now owned by Paramount who bought the rights hoping to do a remake, which is why you've never seen it on Turner Classic Movies.

At any rate, the following is the press release for this set:

Bardelys the Magnificent (1926, 85 min.)
Based upon the novel by Rafael Sabatini and directed by King Vidor, who just one year before had directed Gilbert in the smash hit The Big Parade. In France "in an age of light loves and lively scandals," the Marquis de Bardelys (Gilbert), casual womanizer and accomplished swashbuckler, is entranced by Roxalanne de Lavedan (Eleanor Boardman); and against a background of knavery and intrigue, he sets out to woo and win her. Lavishly mounted and superbly directed with spectacular action scenes, Bardelys is a hugely entertaining action romance given an A-plus MGM production.
Read more ›
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