Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974)

I remember seeing both of these movies in the theaters upon their original release. I would have been in my early teens and I thought they were quite exciting and very funny. Re-watching them again over 35 years later I'm happy to say that my original impression hasn't changed significantly. The cast is quite good, with Michael York, Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston (in a cameo) and Richard Chamberlain. Shot in Spain and directed by Richard Lester. Set designs and costumes are excellent.
Michael York (D'Artagnan) comforts Raquel Welch (Constance)

Originally shot as one movie, thee producers decided to break it into two movies when they saw how much film they had (resulting in a lawsuit). The first movie has more of a comic feel to it. Lots of pratfalls and silly goings-on. Can be rather tiresome, although when I was a much younger I thought it hilarious. It becomes more serious as the plot unfolds. The second movie has more weight to it and the funny business is less, making it the stronger of the two movies.

Note should also be made of the brawling swordplay, which is choreographed wonderfully. Faye Dunaway is also especially delicious as the evil Milady de Winter. Oliver Reed is at his most likeable. Altogether a superior movie version of the Dumas novel (which I confess I've never read and only have other movie versions to compare this to), I found it quite enjoyable and rewarding to watch again.

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