When reading the novels by Alexandre Dumas as a twelve year old kid, the impression I got from The Three Musketeers was completely different from what I had seen on the movies. Where the books had been quite dark, the white screen presented comedies and "jolly old chap" sentiments, the only exception being the Richard Lester excellent versions of 1973/74 (although made with love and humor, it was not even close to being reduced to a "d'Artagnan and the Merry Olde Musketeers" level...). With this new French movies (two parts, just like Lester's) I can really recognize the Dumas spirit. I can not say that this version is superior in terms of corresponding better with the books from a word-by-word perspective, but the over all impression certainly is. Some people might disapprove with Emanuelle Béart's interpretation of Milady, but I think this is where the Dumas' feeling really shines through... Béart makes Milady not only evil, but diabolic.
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