In the film, Richelieu is depicted doting on his cat, Mistigris (the 'Joker' in a pack of cards). By the 18C, his fondness for cats had become an established part of his legend. It has been claimed that he had at least 14 cats at the time of his death in 1642: Gazette, Rubis sur l'Ongle, Pyramus and Thisbe (inseparable), Serpolet (Wild Thyme), Felimare, Soumise, Lucifer, Ludovic le Cruel, Lodoïska, Mimi-Paillon (possibly previously Mademoiselle de Gournay's cat), Mounard le Fougueux, Perruque and Racan (twins, allegedly born in the academician Racan's wig), and Gavroche. The cat which figures in the posters for this film is black, and does not resemble the screen Mistigris, who appears to be a fluffy calico. See more »
Armand Du Plessis, the Duke Of Richelieu and also a Cardinal of the
Church of Rome remains to this day a fascinating historical figure. He
was in addition to being a Prince of the Church was the first minister
to King Louis XIII of France. He was legendary for his cunning and his
power grabbing. Richelieu has come down to us as a villain as a result
of Alexandre Dumas's classic novel The Three Musketeers. In point of
fact anyone who was looking to rise in France at the time buddied up
with Richelieu. He said himself he had no enemies, but the enemies of
Cardinal Richelieu the film is adapted from an old 19th century play by
British author Edward Bulwer-Lytton and in America the great actor and
first real American stage matinée idol Edwin Forrest originated the
role. A man like George Arliss whose style of acting stemmed from two
centuries ago was the perfect choice to play Richelieu as realized by
The play covers the period before and during an incident known as the
Day Of Dupes when Richelieu managed to bag all his court rivals in a
treasonous plot against him and his master Louis XIII played here by
Edward Arnold. It may not have happened that way on film, but history
records he was unchallenged at court until almost his death.
Leading the plot is Douglass Dumbrille and it involved the Dowager
Queen Violet Kemble-Cooper, the current Queen Katharine Alexander and
the idiot second son Gaston who is unforgettably played by Francis
Lister. Gaston was every bit the idiot that Lister plays him as.
Handling the romantic interest is Richelieu's ward Maureen O'Sullivan
and young noble Cesar Romero in one of his earliest roles. Romero is
dashing and brave, but a bit of a fat head who gets in turn manipulated
by Dumbrille and then Arliss.
The Three Musketeers has done dirt to Cardinal Richelieu's reputation.
Though this film comes from a play out of the romantic era that also
produced The Three Musketeers it shows Richelieu in a better and more
true light. Arliss might be old fashioned for today's taste, but I
think his performance is grand.
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