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. 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 wreaks 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.
Starring: John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Roy D'Arcy
Directed By: King Vidor, Emmett J. Flynn
Written By: Dorothy Farnum, Alexander Salvini
Score By: Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Neal Kurz
Language: Silent with English Intertitles
Video: 480i Standard Definition / 1.33:1 / Black and White / Tinted Color
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Theatrical Release: 1922-1926
Runtime: 198 Minutes
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Region Code: Region 0 (All Regions)
Special Features: 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.