INTRODUCTION. Trivia: Director Richard Lester recorded The Three Musketeers as a single production but released it as two separate ones- unbeknownst to the actors, who later protested. Worry not! They eventually received the appropriate fees. As a fan of Dumas’ novel, I’ve decided to evaluate both movies as a whole.
CHARACTERS. It all balances on this! If you assemble a film about the three musketeers and your cast lacks chemistry… instant failure. These men in arms are more than the King’s personal guard: they are brothers to each other, drawn together by wondrous measures of folly as well as courage! York is a hapless, likeable D’Artagnan; he gets along so well with just about everyone, to the story’s benefit. There isn’t much depth to these archetype heroes but at the very least they are perfect archetypes. Charming, cheeky- and yes, chivalrous to the point of fault. The banter and slapstick humour maintains an endearing kind of chemistry. Greatest compliments go to Dunaway and Heston, who play villains after my own heart.
STORY. Lester can’t take credit for this marvel of Royalist and Cardinalist intrigue- but he can certainly be applauded for expertly trimming the plot without dumbing it down in the way that recent incarnations have. I am always in favour of a storyteller who does not underestimate his audience; there is some substance beyond the pail of hammy humour. To readers of The Three Musketeers, I say: you will be hard-pressed to find a more accurate film; especially one so fond of its material source. And to strangers: it’s a good laugh that won’t make you feel like an imbecile.
CONCLUSION. Not everyone enjoys old films. This isn’t a groundbreaking ride but do give it a shot if you want an old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure with the famous trio! Nothing quite beats hearing British actors playing Frenchman at war with the English.
CHARACTERS: 6/10 STORY: 6.5/10 REWATCH FACTOR: 4/10 OVERALL: 6/10