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France, 1648: Richelieu and Louis XIII are dead, the new king is a minor, and the Duc de Lavalle is in virtually open rebellion, scheming to seize power. As a last resort, Queen Anne summons the heirs of the original Musketeers to her aid...including Claire, daughter of Athos, who when she chooses can miraculously pass as a boy, and wields as fine a sword as any. All their skills will be needed for a battle against increasing odds. One for all and all for one! Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As Cornel Wilde chops wood in his first scene, there is a "THWACK" sound effect for each chop. Then, when he throws down the ax onto the grassy ground, the "THWACK" effect is used again. However, there is another fallen tree just beyond the one he is chopping on, and the ax could very easily have landed on it, creating a similar blade/wood impact for which the same sound effect would be appropriate. See more »
The year 1648 was a grim one for France. With the death of the great Cardinal Richelieu, the strong hand holding the country together was gone. Terror and violence ruled as the power-hungry nobles plotted to gain control.
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"At Sword's Point" contains homages to "The Three Musketeers" and some common conventions for such films. Placed in 1648, it starts with Queen Anne of France (Gladys Cooper) worried about threats to her throne and her son's succession to the throne. The Duc de Lavalle (Robert Douglas) is stirring up the nobles, who are circling like sharks. The queen has hidden her young son in a monastery to keep him safe from Lavalle. Since Lavalle is unable to find the prince, he resorts to plan B: he will marry Princess Henriette (Nancy Gates). But Henriette despises him and the queen resists all threats. She attempts to contact Spain for assistance, but all her messengers are killed en route by Lavalle. Time is of the essence, because the queen is sick.
She decides to reach out to her trustworthy four musketeers from the past: Athos, Aramis, Porthos and D'Artagnan. If you have not seen "The Three Musketeers" (1935), you should probably watch that film first. By now the musketeers are older men. Each sends his son in his place, except Athos who sends his daughter Claire (Maureen O'Hara), a fine swordswoman.
This story is full of intrigue, swordplay and clever twists, even if it departs from history. Nods to "The Three Musketeers" include the passing of the father's sword to the son. Also, when the musketeers meet, there is swordplay among them to establish their abilities. (It should be noted that the swordplay and stuntwork in this film is quite good. Maureen O'Hara displays an athleticism that few actresses could match.) Moroni Olsen plays the aged Porthos--the same role he played in the 1935 film.
The film uses the common convention of a woman passing as a man--something that just has to be accepted because there is no way anyone would mistake Maureen O'Hara for a man simply because her hair is under a hat and she is wearing men's breeches.
Shot in Technicolor, this film is a colorful addition to the "Three Musketeers" canon. The acting is solid and the action scenes are worth seeing.
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