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The young Gascon D'Artagnan arrives in Paris, his heart set on joining the king's Musketeers. He is taken under the wings of three of the most respected and feared Musketeers, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. Together they fight to save France and the honor of a lady from the machinations of the powerful Cardinal Richelieu. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Of all the major American and British sound versions of the Dumas classic made up to 1999, this is easily the worst. The trouble is in the casting and the direction. Walter Abel was "introduced" in this film, although he had actually been in films since as far back as 1930, and because this was his first swashbuckling role, the producers didn't know what to make of him. He has none of the dash of Douglas Fairbanks,Don Ameche, Warren William, Cornel Wilde, or even Gene Kelly, and none of the charming awkwardness of Michael York, all of whom have played D'Artagnan in other films.
In fact, Abel gives, in plain English, a bad performance, partly because he is so totally miscast. Film fans will recognize him as one of those actors whom you see often,but never know what their name is. He would give better performances later in his career as worried, nervous managers (in "Holiday Inn") or business executives( i.e. Gregory Peck's boss, who falls memorably out the window to his death in "Mirage"). The other roles are indifferently cast and performed--this could be any one of a hundred B-movies--even the villains,and that's the real problem. A swashbuckler is supposed to be exciting and thrilling,and this one is neither--it's as if director Lee just didn't care.
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