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Monday, January 05, 2009
  1985...



There is quite simply
no better cinematic adaptation
of a literary classic
than the one weaved together
by Richard Lester
circa 1974-1975
and featuring
an all-British cast
as the main foursome
comprising four
Frenchmen... à priori!

Such ironies
always made my delight!

This one
has to be the best of all time
and, again,
the greatest film version
of a time-honored
literary work!

I discovered it
circa 1985
and it was my favorite
right away
and remains so
after all these years!

What's not to love:
perennial bad guy
Oliver Reed
as the goodest Musketeer of all,
Athos
(still the best portrayal
of the character
you will ever see)
Rest in peace,
Oliver
+++

perennial good girl
Faye Dunaway
in her prime
as the devious
Milady de Winter
(much better
than Lana Turner's turn as she
or any other so-called actress
attempt at being her!)

perennial Biblical hero
Charlton Heston
as the machiavellian
manipulator per excellence,
the Cardinal de Richelieu!
A tour of force
in both the portrayal,
once more,
as in the mere casting choice!
After all,
at the time,
Mr. Heston was still
perceived as a heroic figure
not a gun-toting fanatic yet!
Rest in peace,
Charlton
+++


The musical score
of both films
(THE THREE MUSKETEERS
was released in 1974
and THE FOUR MUSKETEERS
which was released in 1975!)
was quite simply SUPERB -
and it is the first instance
in which I recognized that
an appropriate soundtrack
is a definite part
of the cinematic experience!
I still retain,
as a very vivid memory,
the first impression
that the first few notes
that I heard
during the intro
of the first film
gave me...
It marked me... for life!
Music has never conveyed
the pure essence of adventure
as that of Michel Legrand
right here.

Too bad
he's better known
for the theme to
Summer of '42...!



Although I liked that film too -
for other reasons!
But that is another story!

The two movies,
THREE and FOUR Musketeers,
shot as one,
have been hailed
as the most faithful
and creative adaptations
of Alexandre Dumas' masterpiece
- and with good reason.
The casting was so perfect
that it nearly backfired;
as the actors sued the producers
when they found out they had been paid
to shoot one movie
when in fact
it was really two movies
to be released a year apart!
All ended well though -
and there was even a reunion film,
in the nineteen eighties;
only one cast member was missing
Roy Kinnear, the lackey Planchet,
died on the set of this sequel
which was a looser adaptation
of Vingt Ans Après
(Twenty Years Later)
Dumas' own sequel to his classic.
The magic couldn't be recaptured then -
lightning cannot be bottled twice...
'Tis already a blessing
that it was ONCE...!

Everywhere you look,
these two movies
(this two-in-one film...?)
flirts with
cinematic PERFECTION:

Frank Finlay
remains in my memory
the funniest Porthos
ever
(sorry, Oliver Platt -
you're second!)

Faye Dunaway
was flawless
as the Milady

Oliver Reed
is quite simply
the most fascinating
and complex Athos
to ever grace the screen

The film direction
fast-paced, thrilling,
alternating drama,
action and comedy,
is a prime example
of HOW TO MAKE A MOVIE
that will truly
have an impact
with an audience


NEVER
since and never more
will we see such an all-star cast assembled:
RAQUEL WELCH
FAYE DUNAWAY
MICHAEL YORK
OLIVER REED
CHARLTON HESTON
CHRISTOPHER LEE
GERALDINE CHAPLIN
SIMON WARD
FRANK FINLAY
RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN
- all in their prime,
all at the top of their game!
Nowadays,
even a big studio
can only afford two top stars
of equal stature
(but never to be perceived
as of equal talent)
in today's market,
PER FILM...

And today's egos
would never share the spotlight like this
- split it, seven ways at least...?
No way!
Today's so-called "stars"
are high in refined ego
and low in raw talent!
And is there even
a single comical talent
worthy of wearing
Roy Kinnear's Planchet boots?

They may be gone -
and the adventures are done with -
but Oliver Reed's Athos,
the Musketeers surrounding him,
Roy Kinnear's Planchet,
Charlton Heston's Richelieu
and the late Jean-Pierre Cassel's
king of France
live on, all of them,
each time I treat myself
in indulging in these movie classics
one more time...!

Les Trois Mousquetaires!
Üç silahsorlar!
Die Drei Musketiere!
Kolme muskettisoturia!
Muskettisoturien seikkailut!
I Tre moschettieri!
De Tre Musketörerna!
Los Tres Mosqueteros!
Os Tres Mosqueteiros!

One For All... And All For Fun!


Even better than
the NWA/WCW's Four Horsemen
the Four Musketeers
taught me how to have fun
in the 1980s!
;)














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