The Three Musketeers 4K 1973 Ultra HD 2160p

The Three Musketeers 4K 1973 Ultra HD 2160p
BDRemux 4K 2160P
–°ountry: USA | Spain
Genre: Adventure
Language: English, French, German
Cast: Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Frank Finlay, Christopher Lee, Geraldine Chaplin, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Spike Milligan, Roy Kinnear, Georges Wilson, Simon Ward, Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston, Joss Ackland, Nicole Calfan, Michael Gothard, Sybil Danning.
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Rating
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Storyline
France, 17th century. A young man, d'Artagan, sets out for Paris with the aim of joining the elite Musketeers. There he first antagonises then befriends the three greatest Musketeers - Athos, Porthos and Aramis. He is also drawn into a plot by the scheming Cardinal Richelieu to undermine the Queen of France and the English Duke of Buckingham.

User Review
Alexandre Dumas Pere's "The Three Musketeers" has been filmed several times, but this is the version with which I am most familiar. This version only dramatises the first half of Dumas's novel; the producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and director Richard Lester had originally intended to turn the whole book into an epic lasting well over three hours, but this option was rejected as impractical and the filmed material was eventually turned into two separate films (much to the surprise and annoyance of many of the cast and crew, who had only been paid for one film). "The Three Musketeers" came out in 1973 and its sequel, "The Four Musketeers", the following year.

The story is set in the France of the 1620s during the reign of King Louis XIII, and the plot centres around an attempt by the King's Chief Minister Cardinal Richelieu to humiliate the Queen, Anne of Austria, by revealing her love affair with the Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham is referred to as the "Prime Minister of England", but this is not strictly correct. He was a favourite of both James I and Charles I and held various political offices, but not that of Prime Minister which did not exist in his lifetime. Endeavouring to thwart this scheme are the Three Musketeers of the title, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their friend and ally D'Artagnan. (At this stage D'Artagnan is not himself a musketeer). The McGuffin at the centre of the plot is a diamond necklace which the Queen has foolishly given to Buckingham.

Now this plot does not make a lot of sense. By carrying on an intrigue with Buckingham, an enemy of France, the Queen is betraying both her husband and her country, so it does not seem logical that the Musketeers, all royalists and patriots, should be so keen to save her from disgrace. Louis XIII is portrayed as a not-very-bright roi faineant, happy to accept the wealth, luxury and privilege which come with his royal position, less happy to accept the responsibility of governing the country, something which he leaves to Richelieu. As Richelieu is the king's servant, and owes his power and position to the king's favour, it does not really make sense that the king's musketeers should treat the Cardinal as their enemy and his bodyguards as their hated rivals.

The solution favoured by Lester and scriptwriter George MacDonald Fraser is essentially to turn the story into what is essentially an adventure-comedy rather than a serious drama. There is a good deal of action, including numerous swordfights. Despite their name the one weapon the Musketeers never use is a musket. They may occasionally use a pistol when they want to threaten somebody, but when it comes to fighting they rely upon their trusty rapiers. This action, however, is leavened with a good amount of humour, and the cast includes comedy specialists such as Spike Milligan and Roy Kinnear.

Apart from King Louis, played by the French actor Jean-Pierre Cassel, the cast are a mixture of Britons and Americans. Although nearly all the characters are French, the American actors (Richard Chamberlain, Charlton Heston, Faye Dunaway and Raquel Welch) seem to have been under instructions to play their parts with a British accent to fit in with their British colleagues. Welch's accent occasionally slips, but the others cope admirably. (In the days before Meryl Streep, Heston seems to have been Hollywood's resident foreign accent specialist). With a large ensemble cast there is not space in this review to mention all the good performances, but I would single out Heston as the Cardinal, Welch as the lovely Constance Bonacieux, the Queen's dressmaker and D'Artagnan's lover, Kinnear as the Musketeers' comical servant Planchet and Dunaway as Milady de Winter, the Cardinal's villainous agent. Heston resists the temptation to play Richelieu simply as a villain, making him a dignified servant of his King and State who is trying to do what he believes to be in his country's best interests.

Welch was sometimes attacked by the critics as a talentless bimbo actress who managed to succeed by relying on her spectacular looks. This, however, is one of her best films where she shows a real gift for comedy. Her Constance is clumsy and not very intelligent- not, incidentally, how she is portrayed in the novel- but Welch makes her funny, amusing and never less than totally lovable. Rather controversially, Constance is also a married woman. Although the Production Code, which forbade the glamorisation of adultery, had finally died of old age in 1967, its ghost tended to linger on, and even in 1973 a family adventure film which featured a dashing young hero engaged in an adulterous affair would have raised a few eyebrows. It may have been for this reason that Constance's husband (the character played by Milligan) was written out of the sequel.

It is a long time since I last saw any of the other versions of Duma's story, so will not attempt a direct comparison. Later in the seventies Lester was to have a failure when he tried to adapt another classic adventure story, the legend of Robin Hood, for the screen. With "The Three Musketeers" he succeeded brilliantly. I think that the difference lies in the fact that with his "Robin and Marion" he treated the story far too seriously, whereas with the Musketeers his decision to make something light-hearted paid off. There is nothing deep about this film, but it is still highly enjoyable entertainment.

File size: 76.67 GB


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