A rare, faithful adaptation of Dumas's original novel
A nice change to see a series which keeps to the book, preserving the dark and sombre tone of the overall story as well as the comedy of the opening chapters. Given that this is a BBC series dating from the mid-sixties the quality (B & W) is surprisingly good, certainly comparable to the early Dr Who's, though the camera clearly had difficulty with the lighting in some of the outside scenes (and this is very early in the history of British TV drama to have any scenes at all shot in the open air). The fight scenes seem pedestrian until one realises that there are no special effects and the actors are performing all the action in person (no stunt men) and live (no cutting and editing; each scene had to be shot as a whole, as if on a theatre stage). D'Artagnan is fiery and emotional, 'the typical Gascon' that Dumas describes; the three musketeers themselves are exactly as I have always imagined them to be - the ascetic Aramis, the extrovert Porthos (a very young Brian Blessed) and the immensely tragic Athos; Milady is evil incarnate; and Richelieu is power-hungry, manipulative and supremely ambivalent. If you want a faithful adaptation with excellent acting and the focus on the characters then this is the one for you; if you're more interested in good visuals and special effects, CGI and Errol Flynn-type fight scenes, give it a miss.
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