The Four Musketeers Reviews
Resonant Line: "D'Artagnan: [of Milady] I love her with my head. But my Constance, snatched from my side, I love with my heart.
Athos: You have a conveniently discriminating anatomy."
I loved this movie and the first one when I was a kid and I have only fond memories of it. I still see Richard Lesterīs films as the best adaptation of Alexandre Dumas novel. I reckon it has that perfect blend of costume drama, lavish sets, action, intrigues, romance, adventure, and comedy captured from the book. But, I must say that I had forgotten that the humour was so very much slap stick, almost a bit too much in my book. Michael York gives life to the young, and at first naive D'Artagnan, while Chamberlain and Finlay adds weight, but the unforgettable one is without no doubt the always intense, mysterious and full on Oliver Reed. He is a tour de force in this one, and from what I have red all the stuntmen were scared shitless do duel with him as he went at it like a crazy man and he had not real idea how he was wielding his sword. The ensemble cast sports so many good names such as Lee, Dunaway, Heston, Welch etc and all puts in performances that sticks and stays. And I still remember the oh so beautiful Nicole Calfan who plays Maid Kitty..."The Three Musketeers" constitutes only the first half of the novel and movie, and the filmmakers decided to end the picture at this point, releasing a sequel, "The Four Musketeers", a year later, which would cover the remainder of the story. While it was a wise decision, no one had informed the cast that they were, in fact, making two movies, and not one, at the time of filming, and the stars quickly filed suit against the Salkinds. After a brief but highly publicized court case, the cast were compensated, and the second film was released. As a result of the producers splitting the film into two parts, Screen Actors' Guild contracts now often feature what is called a "Salkind Clause," which requires producers to state up front how many films are being shot, and that the actors involved must be paid for each. The latter clause applies even, or even especially, when producers make that decision during or after production.
This is the one where we find out the back-story of MiLady De Winter and her connection with one of the Musketeers in particular (Athos, played by Oliver Reed), and is the one that also shockingly includes the death of D'Artagnan's mistress at her hands, before her own beheading.
In short, this is still the best of all The Three/Four Musketeers films.
So yes here we are again following on from where the last film left off. Of course the fact that this is essentially the same film just chopped in half everything is exactly perfect continuity wise. But that's not exactly a big deal cos its the same film people!! but I guess if you didn't know that then it would come across amazingly well.
The film covers the second half of the famous novel and one could say the more exciting half. Not that the first wasn't brilliant, its just in this film there is even more epic awesomeness!. 'd'Artagnan' is now a Musketeer so the foursome are high on confidence and positively brewing over with arrogance and cockiness.
I can't really go into the visuals etc...once again as this is the same film so naturally it all looks terrific as before. We still have the same tour de force of stunts and swashbuckling action, the same silly oafish humour and the same gorgeous location work. The main thing that stands out here is the impressive battle sequences which far outnumber the previous chapter.
A sequence where all four Musketeers take a bet to have breakfast within the ruins of a Bastion is a perfect example of this whole production. Ridiculously silly notion which incorporates some ridiculous visual gags that are so predictable yet highly amusing. To see poor old Roy Kinnear's character trying to serve his Musketeers superiors whilst under fire will guarantee a smile on your face. All the while our four heroes calmly drink wine and let off a shot or two pipping the odd enemy.
There is another fantastic clash of swords on a frozen lake with the three older Musketeers coming to the rescue of 'd'Artagnan', Christopher Lee in all his dastardly evilness of course. Then as we approach the finale we are given one set piece after another as the Musketeers battle through 'Rochefort's' men building up to the weary final battle between 'd'Artagnan' and 'Rochefort' himself. The whole last half of this film really is a sight to behold, the action never lets up yet you never see anything brutal, every scene looks tremendous and the humour is never lost. Bit of emotion though, but not too much, nothing to gush over.
The cast are still on belting form at every turn, there really is no bad casting or performances from anyone. Both films are supposedly quite accurate to the original novels by Dumas, both films are superb in every detail despite being cut in two, this half easily being the more fun in my opinion. But hell, there really is nothing bad I can say about this final chapter or the previous one. Its more of the same but that's just what you'd want no?.
Lester achieves greatness here with these films, its such a shame they don't get much recognition anymore. Don't watch this film without seeing the first chapter as it very possibly might not make any sense hehe but don't hold that against the film, that's up to you. Mr Lester, we salute you (even though you should have backed Donner for 'Sups 2' instead of virtually remaking the whole thing...but I digress).