In their response, Dumas’ heirs add that the adaptation “competes with the theatrical presentation of a dramatic work and not with the distribution of published versions of the work (Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 245). In terms of economic compensation at least, cinema thus finds itself in this case on the side of theatre. This proximity of the two forms of entertainment – and even their interchangeable nature, despite our limited awareness of their difference – is also implicitly seen in the following comments:
writers have given us librettos that could be played on stage. They have not taken advantage of the resources offered to them by the kinematograph. The tableaux stagings of the “Assassinat du duc de Guise” could take place on the stage of the Comédie-Française. . . . It is a routine play rather than a kinematographic fantasy (Gil Blas de Nozière, quoted by Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 106).
Others, however, while they acknowledge a kind of equivalence between film and theatre, lean more heavily to the side of singularity, as the following quotation demonstrates:
The cinema depicts scenes that could be played in a theatre. . . . Yes, this we observe with pleasure; but to present these plays to the public it is quick, cheap and goes everywhere . . . without a stage, without actors. This is an essential difference between the two modes of representation (Edmond Benoît-Lévy, quoted by Alain Carou, op. cit., p. 107).
In short, the debate is vast and appears to repeat itself throughout film history.