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The Wife of Monte Cristo

The Wife of Monte Cristo(1946)


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In Paris in 1832, three men--De Villefort, the prefect of police, Maillard, and Danglars--conspire to bilk the people by supplying unsafe medicine against a plague that is raging through the city. They are often thwarted in their efforts by The Avenger, the masked leader of an underground movement. De Villefort suspects that The Avenger is actually the Count of Monte Cristo but cannot prove it. One night, however, when The Avenger steals a supply of the bad medicine, he is wounded on his left hand. Believing that he can now trap the count, De Villefort invites him and his wife Haydee to dinner. The count realizes that the invitation is a trap and leaves secretly for his hunting lodge, while Haydee plans to attend the dinner alone. When several of the Count's loyal men demand to know the truth about the count, Haydee swears them to secrecy and explains: Long ago, the count, whose real name is Edmond Dantes, is wrongly imprisoned. He makes contact with another prisoner, the Abbe Faria, and together they tunnel to the outer wall of the prison. Realizing that he is too sick to live, the abbe then discloses to Edmond the location of his hidden treasure in return for Edmond's vow that he will spend his life fighting for justice. Edmond then escapes while sewed up in a bag and later takes the identity of the Count of Monte Cristo. Haydee ends her story by revealing that three men were responsible for the count's imprisonment--Danglars, De Villefort's father and Maillard's partner. At dinner, Haydee learns that Jacques Antoine, one of The Avenger's men, has been captured and will be guillotined. Haydee understands that De Villefort is trying to trap the count, and rather than send for him, dresses as the Avenger and rescues Antoine. While he is imprisoned, the police discover a jeweled pendant on Antoine and steal it from him. Because the pendant has a secret compartment that would reveal The Avenger's true identity, Haydee vows to retrieve it. On a visit to De Villefort, Haydee notices that Lucile, Maillard's wife, is wearing the necklace. Haydee steals it from Lucile's bedroom, unaware that Lucile has accidentally discovered the secret compartment. Later, Haydee learns that Maillard is producing the bad medicine and worms the names of his partners out of him. The Avenger's men then take Maillard to a Montmartre café and try him for crimes against the people. He is found guilty and banished from France on pain of death. Maillard does not leave, however, but tells the story to his partners, who do not believe him. When Maillard does not leave Paris, Haydee arranges for the partners to have dinner together in the same café where he was put on trial. Maillard's response to the ploy makes him appear mad, and he tries to escape over the roofs, but is followed by Haydee, disguised as The Avenger. Maillard falls to his death, and near his body, De Villefort finds a handkerchief, on which he recognizes Haydee's distinctive perfume. De Villefort arrests her, then kills the frightened Danglars, who has learned that the count is really Edmond Dantes, to prevent him from revealing their illegal activities. When Antoine tells the count that Haydee is in prison, he overcomes many obstacles to rescue her. After killing De Villefort, the count joins Haydee outside the city, and they vow to return to Paris and continue their fight against injustice.