The Three Musketeers (1973) / The Four Musketeers (1974)

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By Scott Ross

A joyous collaboration between Richard Lester and the satirical novelist George MacDonald Fraser.

One of the few times in movie history the assembling of an “all-star” casts wasn’t just a P.R. stunt: every actor in the picture is utterly right for the role, and they’re clearly having a blast, from Charlton Heston’s subtly duplicitous Cardinal Richelieu to the late Spike Milligan’s peerlessly pandering coward; wed to Raquel Welch, he’s so lust-smacked he actually vibrates.

The tone is pleasingly light, the sets and costumes meticulously recreated, and the elaborate swordplay both comic and breathtakingly intricate. Starring Michael York as a sumptuously desirable D’Artagnon.

With Faye Dunaway, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee and the great Roy Kinnear as York’s put-upon factotum Planchet. Although released in two parts, it was filmed as a single, 4-hour epic. The first movie boasts a melodic and very witty score by Michel Legrand, reportedly written, under deadline pressure, in 7 days.

Text copyright 2013 by Scott Ross

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