Thursday, April 7, 2011

Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers

Richard Lester is possibly best known for his work with the Beatles (A Hard Day's Night and Help) and the Superman franchise (II and III), but another mini-franchise he directed in the 1970s was a pair of films adapted from the Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers.  Actually, the project was originally intended to be one film, but Lester and producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind split the film into two parts (leading some of the cast to sue them for breach of contract).  A good summary of the production of the film(s) can be found at the Turner Classic Movies website. Both films are a great deal of fun, and they were added to Netflix Watch Instantly just this past week.

The Three Musketeers (Richard Lester, UK, 1973, 106 minutes)
Netflix: After moving to Paris and skillfully dueling with musketeers Athos (Oliver Reed), Aramis (Richard Chamberlain) and Porthos (Frank Finlay), inexperienced adventure-seeker D'Artagnan (Michael York) joins forces with the talented trio to foil the cunning Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston). Featuring a Golden Globe-winning performance by Raquel Welch, this slapstick take on Alexandre Dumas's classic also stars Faye Dunaway and Christopher Lee. Netflix link.

The Four Musketeers (Richard Lester, UK, 1975, 106 minutes)
Netflix: After infuriating the utterly contemptible Lady de Winter (Faye Dunaway), newly inducted musketeer D'Artagnan (Michael York) teams up with his swashbuckling cohorts to avenge a close friend's death and rescue kidnapped maiden Constance (Raquel Welch), whom he loves dearly. A refreshing take on Alexandre Dumas's classic adventure, director Richard Lester's comedic sequel delivers slapstick antics mixed with awe-inspiring action. Netflix link.

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