Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Three Musketeers (1973)

Director: Richard Lester

Starring: 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, Sybil Danning

More info: IMDb

Tagline: . . . One for All and All for Fun!

Plot: After moving to Paris and skillfully dueling with musketeers Athos (Reed), Aramis (Chamberlain) and Porthos (Finlay), inexperienced adventure-seeker D'Artagnan (York) joins forces with the talented trio to foil the cunning Cardinal Richelieu (Heston).

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?I don't know...maybe.

I've been looking forward to seeing this for decades and it finally happened. The location shooting in Spain is fantastic, the costumes feel real, the cast is superb, the story's just fine as is the pacing but I never realized this was a slapstick comedy. TTM has so much going for it but I couldn't get over the over the top humor. Pratfalls a plenty. I figured there'd be good chemistry between the Musketeers, and there was, but to make them silly buffoons? Maybe they're like that in the Dumas novels.

The fight with York and Lee in the forest with the lanterns is marred by the obviously super bright bulbs inside the lanterns. I know it's probably ridiculous that I was taken out of the scene by the impossibility of these lanterns shining as they did but they kept using the lanterns a pivotal part of the sequence. It's not my fault I couldn't suspend my disbelief. It should have been toned down.

Michel Legrand's main Musketeer theme is quite nice and rousing. This was filmed back to back with the sequel, THE FOUR MUSKETEERS (1974) and before the end credits rolled they showed some scenes from it which was highly unusual and kinda neat. For the most part I really dug the movie but there was so much silliness throughout I can't see me watching this again which really sucks since I had heard so much about this flick being a great classic. Hopefully the sequel tones down the slapstick but I doubt it.

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