A parodic remake of the story of the young Gascon D'Artagnan, who 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>
Silent film veteran Alan Dwan had helmed several of Douglas Fairbanks' best movies, and here turned out another swashbuckler, but with a difference: those zany Ritzes are on hand as a decidedly non-traditional trio of musketeers. Unlike the Marx Bros., whose movies were A-picture events, the now mostly forgotten Ritz Bros.' antics played in second features that failed to properly showcase their unique brand of knockabout comedy. Here they finally got a chance to perform in a good picture with a strong story and a good lead actor (Don Ameche as D'Artagnan) anchoring the proceedings, rather than just running about and being silly to no obvious purpose. The anarchic Ritzes here unleash their trademark catastrophic comedy to frustrate the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and Lady deWinter. The Ritzes, of course, are not actual cavaliers, but rather a trio of dolts forced to masquerade as such to protect the Queen's honor. Much hectic action abounds, plus a few comedy songs, great silly costumes and a few of the Ritzes stage numbers such as a beautifully choreographed dance with cymbals on their bodies that must have taken years to perfect. The complex story is efficiently handled - the fat original novel plays out in a mere 72 minutes - and the straight action, heroically played by Ameche, and elaborately staged silliness of the Ritzes mixes well. An action comedy- musical would seem a difficult thing to blend correctly, but everything here is deftly handled and the cheapish production elements (leftover sets and contract players in supporting roles) do not hinder the overall effect. Worth going out of one's way to catch.
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