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The young D'Artagnan arrives in Paris with dreams of becoming a king's musketeer. He meets and quarrels with three men, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, each of whom challenges him to a duel. D'Artagnan finds out they are musketeers and is invited to join them in their efforts to oppose Cardinal Richelieu, who wishes to increase his already considerable power over the king. D'Artagnan must also juggle affairs with the charming Constance Bonancieux and the passionate Lady De Winter, a secret agent for the cardinal. Written by
Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>
During the first duel with the cardinal's guards that takes place in the convent, Porthos (Frank Finlay) goes behind a piece of laundry to hide from and surprise his opponent. From off-screen we hear a crew member yell "FRANK!" Then Finlay comes out from behind the laundry to hit his mark and finish the scene. See more »
[d'Artagnan has tried to pull a large carpet from under a group of guards]
He's torn our carpet!
See more »
Genius Lester brings out the book's true comedic nature.
Director Richard Lester hit it right on the nose! Dumas's book THE THREE MUSKETEERS is generally regarded as a kind of classic adventure, but it's more than that. Throughout all the romance and swordplay, it is humor, not adventure, that prevails. D'artagnan is even introduced as "Don Quixote at eighteen", which is clear indication of humorous intent. Lester's pop-comedies like THE KNACK and A HARD DAY'S NIGHT made him perfect for directing this film. George MacDonald Fraser's screenplay for THE THREE MUSKETEERS preserves the original dialogue with all its humor and adventure to the letter (even though this is only half the book). This gave Lester free reign to fill the picture with physical comedy and sight gags, particularly in the swordfights. The heights of such humor show in a scene where the musketeers fake a duel in order it steal food. Michael York excels in the role of D'artagnan using sword skills picked up while making ROMEO AND JULIET. The late/great Oliver Reed is a suitably drunken, overpowering Athos. Another highpoint is the film's villain. Charlton Heston's restrained performance brings the puppet-master Cardinal Richelieu to life (and far better than Tim Curry did in 1993). He can break a man with a word and we believe it. Raquel Welch brings her usual talents to the role of Constance. Perhaps the most important of all is Bonnie herself, Faye Dunaway, as the Countess DeWinter. Dunaway brings to life all the character's cold allure that appeared as good on the screen as it did on the page. The action is well choreographed and satisfies, and the humor is good. This combines with "sequel" THE FOUR MUSKETEERS, with the same cast and director, to form the perfect film version of a wonderful novel. If nothing else, it at least beats the Disney version into the morgue. Not To Be Missed!
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