La regina di Francia è angosciata : ha consegnato la collana dei puntali di diamanti al duca di Buckingham ed ora ha chiesto ai quattro Moschettieri di rientrare in possesso dei monili. Quattro simpatici lestofanti, venuti a conoscenza degli avvenimenti, si travestono da D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos e Aramis e li precedono a Londra per farsi consegnare dal duca i preziosi che intendono rivendere. I quattro riescono a prendere possesso della collana, ma, arrivati per caso alla camera della Regina, la sentono piangere di disperazione per la mancata consegna del gioiello. Commossi, decidono di restituire la collana alla donna. Travestiti da suore lasciano la reggia, dopo aver rubato i preziosi anelli del Cardinale Richelieu. Written by
THE FOUR MUSKETEERS (Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, 1963) **
This Italian comic rendition of the Alexandre Dumas perennial "The Three Musketeers" seemed like an even less enthusing commodity than the disappointing 1953 French version that preceded it; however, while the results proved similarly middling (or, if you like, redundant), this generally displayed more invention throughout since the plot involved impersonation of the protagonists (as had previously been the case with the 1939 Hollywood version)!
In fact, the swordsmen are played by popular comedians (though the only one known abroad was burly and flustered Aldo Fabrizi from Roberto Rossellini's ROME, OPEN CITY  and THE FLOWERS OF ST. FRANCIS ). On the other hand, Toto''s frequent sparring partner Peppino De Filippo delivers a scene-stealing turn as a wily yet put-upon Cardinal Richelieu; among the other famous characters, the most notable are Georges Riviere's D'Artagnan and Lisa Gastoni's Milady De Winter (again, somewhat under-used but undeniably stunning especially when receiving "His Eminence" in her bath-robe!). Incidentally, during the latter scene, De Filippo had dyed his hair and worn a Musketeer's outfit so as not to arouse suspicion but he does not fool anyone as everybody he meets recognizes him instantly (and, even when discovered hiding in the closet by Milady's husband, his true rank manages to excuse the man's compromising presence there)!
The script eliminates much of the other versions' exposition, so that D'Artagnan is already one of the Musketeers and in love with Constance Bonacieux. In fact, the film starts off amusingly with the King and Richelieu engaged in a game of chess where the jargon usually allotted to the overtaking of individual pieces are actually a subtle discourse on the former's marital tribulations! When Constance charges her lover (she too is unfaithful to her husband, the Cardinal's spy!) with recuperating the Queen's incriminating diamonds from the Duke Of Buckingham in London, they are overheard by tavern-keeper Fabrizi (whose business has dropped alarmingly ever since an undertaker's opened shop in front of his!). So, he rallies his equally disreputable friends a would-be magician, a fake cripple/beggar and the thieving cook of a monastery to ambush the Musketeers and distribute the proceeds from an eventual black-market sale of the necklace amongst themselves! By the end, even if our anti-heroes are able to stay one step ahead of the real Musketeers (two of them even risk being burned at the stake when disguised as heretics so as to escape pursuit by the Cardinal's men!), Fabrizi has a change of heart and the foursome turn up in the nick-of-time at the ball (dressed-up as nuns!) to present the despairing Queen with her all-important jewellery! Thus, Richelieu loses the wager he had made with the King about this matter and now finds himself summarily replaced!
For the record, this was genre exponent Bragaglia's swan-song even if he only died 35 years later! Coincidentally, while I was watching this, yet another version 2001's THE MUSKETEER was airing on Italian TV!; one I have missed out on a couple of times was a French made-for-TV adaptation from 2005, last broadcast during the Christmas season...
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?