It's 1649: Cardinal Mazarin (Philippe Noiret) hires the impoverished D'Artagnan (Michael York) to find the other Musketeers: Oliver Cromwell (Alan Howard) has overthrown the English King, so Cardinal Mazarin fears revolt, particularly from the popular Duke of Beaufort (Eusebio Lázaro). Porthos (Frank Finlay), bored with riches and wanting a title, signs on, but Aramis (Richard Chamberlain), an abbé, and Athos (Oliver Reed), a brawler raising an intellectual son, assist the Duke of Beaufort in secret. When they fail to halt the Duke's escape from prison, the Musketeers are expendable, and Cardinal Mazarin sends them to London to rescue Charles I (Bill Paterson). They are also pursued by Justine de Winter (Kim Cattrall), the avenging daughter of Milady de Winter, their enemy twenty years ago. They must escape England, avoid Justine, serve Queen Anne (Geraldine Chaplin), and secure Beauford's political reforms.Written by
Charlton Heston wanted to appear in this movie, but his character of Cardinal Richelieu was deceased in the movie's setting of 1648. Fortunately, Richard Lester had a painting of Richelieu created, with Heston as the model. This painting is seen in the movie's beginning, and was given to Heston after filming. See more »
When the Musketeers sit under the scaffold, Porthos fills his glass with wine and puts down the bottle. In the next shot, the glass contains more wine than Porthos had filled into it. See more »
The people of England will permit anything - except cruelty to horses and a rise in the price of beer.
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The (2009) French DVD edition differs from the earlier UK VHS (and cinema) version. Both Philip Noiret and Jean Pierre Cassel had their voices re-dubbed in the VHS version, but here - on the English language option - their own voices are heard in English. Also several scenes are cut including the scene where D'Artangan gets his assignment from Mazarin to look up his old friends The Three Musketeers and the later scene where King Charles I is playing golf while being arrested by Oliver Cromwell's forces (likewise Michael York's narration of these scenes have been omitted). See more »
The Return of the Muketeers marks the reunion of the cast of the best adaptation of Dumas' novel. Here, they take up the story of the sequel, The Twenty Years After. Unfortunately, it would mark the untimely end of the life and wonderful career of actor Roy Kinnear. Ironically, the tragedy is in keeping with the darker tone of the novel.
Spoliers-D'Artagnan is still a lieutenant in the King's Musketeers, his companions having retired to estates and abbeys. D'Artagnan finds himself tasked by Cardinal Mazarin to undermine the rebellion of Beufort and the Frondists. He also finds himself the target of Milady's legacy; her evil daughter.
The film starts out a bit slow, seemingly having trouble finding its footing. It picks up when the other Musketeers enter the picture and as the film progresses. Unfortunately, the tragic accident suffered by Roy Kinnear casts a palor over the ending.
The original cast is as good now as in the original films. Philippe Noiret was a fine addition as Mazarin. Jean-Pierre Cassel returns, this time as Cyrano De Bergerac. Kim Cattrall is a mixed bag; she has some good moments, but her overall performance is lacking. C. Thomas Howell is completely forgettable as Athos' son, Raoul.
Part of the problem with this film is that Mazarin never seems as formidable as Richelieu and Cattrall is a poor caricature of Faye Dunaway. The scheming nature of Aramis is nicely illustrated by Richard Chamberlain, and Frank Finlay provides a wonderful turn as Porthos. Oliver Reed was sliding quickly into the depths of his career at this point, but he has many fine moments.
One wonders if the film would have been better without the tragedy that befell it? Certainly, it affected the actors' performances. Still, the script was a bit lacking and budgetary restraints did hurt as well. It would have been interesting to see the group tackle the final Musketeer installment, The Man in the Iron Mask. They certainly could have improved upon the Randall Wallace version. All-in-all, the film is fine entertainment for a quiet evening or a rainy weekend.
One note of trivia: Philippe Noiret would later play D'Artagnan in Bertrand Tavernier's Revenge of the Musketeers.
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