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"All for one, and one for all" - the Musketeer thread
#1
Video 
Prompted by a unintentionally Boone-baiting discussion in the skeeve thread, I thought a standalone dedicated to the many adaptations of Dumas' classics of virtuous derring-do in the time of the ancien regime would be a nice idea.

I'll start by remarking that I read the book YEARS ago, as well as Twenty Years After, although my memory of them is so hazy (the description of D'Artagnan's horse aside) that faithfulness of adaptation has never been a particular criteria for my enjoyment of the films. I've never read the final collection of stories, including 

What makes a good Musketeer film? The swordplay has to be top notch. The chemistry between the actors has to be on point - you have to buy these guys would be the archetypal band of brothers. The politics have to be clear. The romance has to be engaging. Other than that, it's a story that seems to bear a number of tonal interpretations. 

I also realise, doing the quick check on Wikipedia thing, that I have only seen a minority of the adaptations - has there ever been a more adapted story? I've seen the Lester trilogy, the Brat Pack version and the recent PWSA CGI fest (that wasn't altogether horrible - it's a story with such swashbuckling and glamour it is hard to completely bollocks it up), as well as the Di Caprio and Chamberlain Man in the Iron Masks. 

So, gents, if there is enthusiasm, have at it. Which ones have you seen? Which ones do you like, or not? Why is the story so universal? What makes a good version? Can there ever be a bad one? Is there a take no-one has done? 

And, arguably, the most important question of all: why haven't they rebooted this?




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#2
Ones I've seen:

THE THREE MUSKETEERS/THE FOUR MUSKETEERS (Richard Lester), from 1973 and 1974.  Pretty much the gold standard for these movies.  Great fun, fantastic cast, and really solid execution.  As the two movies were originally supposed to be just one movie, the flow between the two is very smooth.  I never saw the 1989 sequel THE RETURN OF THE MUSKETEERS (where pretty much everyone from the original films came back), but I'm told it's not very good.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Stephen Herek) from 1993.  The cast and production design are excellent, but the the execution is really flat and lacks oomph.  Another problem is that the dynamic between the 4 main leads never really gels compared to the 1973/1974 version.  

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (Randall Wallace): Aggressively OK.  The stuff with the musketeers themselves is a lot of fun but the rest of the movie is pretty...ok.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Paul WS Anderson) from 2011.  It's a bonkers, steampunk riff on the characters that very loosely adapts the plotlines and characters from the original novel.  If you accept it as its own thing and engage the film on its own terms, it's actually quite a lot of fun.  I kinda love the craziness of the film.

I know that I've seen an earlier film version many, many years ago, but I can't remember enough about it to identify which one it was.  I recall it being good but not as good as the Lester films.
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#3
Lester doing The Three Musketeers with The Beatles is one of cinema’s greatest what ifs for me. Imagine Ringo as Porthos!
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#4
I think...THINK...that the older version that I saw was the 1948 version with Gene Kelly. Honestly, all that I remember of it was that it was in color and pretty good overall, and that seems to line up with the 1948 version. I honestly can't remember any of the actors, so I may be wrong. Can anyone else comment on this one?
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#5
(08-31-2018, 11:21 AM)atomtastic Wrote: Lester doing The Three Musketeers with The Beatles is one of cinema’s greatest what ifs for me. Imagine Ringo as Porthos!

 While I don't think I'd want it over the version Lester ended up doing, that could have been so much fun. And, yeah, I've always thought Ringo would be Porthos, with John as Athos, Paul as Aramis, and George as d'Artagnan.

(08-31-2018, 11:25 AM)Judas Booth Wrote: I think...THINK...that the older version that I saw was the 1948 version with Gene Kelly.  Honestly, all that I remember of it was that it was in color and pretty good overall, and that seems to line up with the 1948 version.  I honestly can't remember any of the actors, so I may be wrong.  Can anyone else comment on this one?

That one is indeed good. Kelly's athleticism translates well into swashbuckling, and there's good villainy from Lana Turner as Milady de Winter and Vincent Price as Richelieu, who in this version is "Prime Minister" instead of a cardinal, so as not to offend any Catholics.

I'll also say that the 1939 version of The Man in the Iron Mask, directed by James Whale, is worth checking out.
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#6
(08-31-2018, 10:18 AM)jhp1608 Wrote: And, arguably, the most important question of all: why haven't they rebooted this?





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#7
A bit off topic, but Richard Lester's Musketeer movies make Royal Flash come to mind. It's a fun movie, and I wish Lester and McDowell had been able to do a few more. I wouldn't mind seeing someone else have a go at adapting the Flashman novels now, either.
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#8
And George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman novels, wrote the screenplays for Lester's films!
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#9
Indeed - the whole film has an incredible pedigree. The script is also aided by Lester's approach to looser, off hand dialogue. I wonder how much of the little asides were made up by the actors on set. It's one of the characteristics I love about them and that sets them apart since there can be a tendency to over solemnise the story and the dialogue. 

One thing I have always struggled with are the politics. The King is simple, the Cardinal bad, but the Queen is good even though she is a Spanish traitor with England. Mazarin and Richeleu were excellent leaders, although generally anti-aristocratic which may have been Dumas' reason for making them fhe bad guys. I always roll with the idea of the Musketeers being the good guys, principally because of their friendship, but if I take a moment to think about whether what they are doing is right, well...

(09-01-2018, 11:22 AM)Pither Wrote: A bit off topic, but Richard Lester's Musketeer movies make Royal Flash come to mind. It's a fun movie, and I wish Lester and McDowell had been able to do a few more. I wouldn't mind seeing someone else have a go at adapting the Flashman novels now, either.

Fight scenes also by one William Hobbs!

I'm developing quite the obsession with this sword master. Love the all in, knock down style of the fights in Lester's Musketeer films. Much more believable than elegant, balletic swordplay. The fight in the laundry in The Three Musketeers in particular is awesome - everyone gets knackered, they are all one slip away from a grisly end and they use whatever is to hand and lots of low blows to get an advantage.
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#10
I attribute the messy politics or narrative problems of any Dumas' novel to their unwieldy length, serialized format and about a thousand ghost writers.
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#11
(09-01-2018, 02:19 PM)jhp1608 Wrote:
(09-01-2018, 11:22 AM)Pither Wrote: A bit off topic, but Richard Lester's Musketeer movies make Royal Flash come to mind. It's a fun movie, and I wish Lester and McDowell had been able to do a few more. I wouldn't mind seeing someone else have a go at adapting the Flashman novels now, either.

Fight scenes also by one William Hobbs!

I'm developing quite the obsession with this sword master. Love the all in, knock down style of the fights in Lester's Musketeer films. Much more believable than elegant, balletic swordplay. The fight in the laundry in The Three Musketeers in particular is awesome - everyone gets knackered, they are all one slip away from a grisly end and they use whatever is to hand and lots of low blows to get an advantage.

Agreed on the believability of the fights. I really like how palpable the exhaustion is during the final fight between d'Artagnan and Rochefort. Hobbs' body of work is really impressive. The duel in Rob Roy is another all-timer.
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#12
(09-02-2018, 10:36 AM)Pither Wrote:
(09-01-2018, 02:19 PM)jhp1608 Wrote:
(09-01-2018, 11:22 AM)Pither Wrote: A bit off topic, but Richard Lester's Musketeer movies make Royal Flash come to mind. It's a fun movie, and I wish Lester and McDowell had been able to do a few more. I wouldn't mind seeing someone else have a go at adapting the Flashman novels now, either.

Fight scenes also by one William Hobbs!

I'm developing quite the obsession with this sword master. Love the all in, knock down style of the fights in Lester's Musketeer films. Much more believable than elegant, balletic swordplay. The fight in the laundry in The Three Musketeers in particular is awesome - everyone gets knackered, they are all one slip away from a grisly end and they use whatever is to hand and lots of low blows to get an advantage.

Agreed on the believability of the fights. I really like how palpable the exhaustion is during the final fight between d'Artagnan and Rochefort. Hobbs' body of work is really impressive. The duel in Rob Roy is another all-timer.

Yep - also the one in the Count of Monte Cristo. The duel between Pearce and Caviezel has the same desperate feel.

PS things I just realised. Cavill plays Edmond's son!
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#13
I read the book years ago during a summer holiday and actually really enjoyed it. I've seen all the various films and hold a warm fuzzy feeling for the classic 1993 version. However I will say the more recent steampunk version had some of the greatest swordfighting I've ever seen. It was amazing.
There are weapons in my hands, my hands are weapons.
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#14
I'll agree...I recall some of the sword fighting in the film being quite well done.

Kinda want to watch it again, actually.  

Also, Logan Lerman makes for a really good D'Artagnon in this.



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#15
COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (Caviezel version) is indeed very good and belongs in this category.

I think they do keep trying to reboot this one but like Robin Hood, it's not a property or set of characters most of today's moviegoers have any real connection or investment in.

Patrick Willems does a GREAT job talking about this in terms of Robin Hood and King Arthur:



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#16
Solid sword fight here at the ending, with Mads being Mads.



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#17
Will no one show any love to the 2001 version with wuxia choreography and Tim Roth as the villain?

No?

No, you’re probably right.
“I feel a connection with you. A man connection. A mannection.”
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#18
I never saw it. I think I caught a few minutes of it one time while flipping channels and it didn't leave enough of an impression for me to seek it out.
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#19
(09-02-2018, 06:23 PM)Jones Wrote: I read the book years ago during a summer holiday and actually really enjoyed it.  I've seen all the various films and hold a warm fuzzy feeling for the classic 1993 version.  However I will say the more recent steampunk version had some of the greatest swordfighting I've ever seen.  It was amazing.

The classic 1993 version? Get off my lawn!
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#20
No discussion of the kung fu The Musketeer?!?

2001, by Peter Hyams? Tim Roth as the villainous henchman? Some male model as The Musketeer, wooing Mena Suvari?

It was shit.
I'm not Avery.
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#21
The kung fu swordfights were good though.

But yes the movie is shit.
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#22
Hey I made fun of it four posts up!

But we’re all in agreement about its shittiness, Catherine Deneuve as the Queen or no.
“I feel a connection with you. A man connection. A mannection.”
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#23
Sorry, lightning! I skimmed the posts and must have missed yours. Apologies!
I'm not Avery.
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#24
We’re all Musketeers here Smile
“I feel a connection with you. A man connection. A mannection.”
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#25
(09-02-2018, 06:48 PM)MichaelM Wrote: COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (Caviezel version) is indeed very good and belongs in this category.

I think they do keep trying to reboot this one but like Robin Hood, it's not a property or set of characters most of today's moviegoers have any real connection or investment in.

Patrick Willems does a GREAT job talking about this in terms of Robin Hood and King Arthur:




Yes, awareness versus popularity is really key here. A lot of these characters have become shorthand with certain catchphrases and reference points, but that doesn't make them popular.
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#26
Being more serious, I do have a soft spot for the 1993 version.  Yes, it was essentially a Young Guns offquel (what with Kiefer and Charlie), but I really dug Oliver Platt in it as Porthos.  DeMornay was a fantastic de Winter, and it introduced me to the French beauty of Julie Delpy.  It also got Michael Wincott in a Robin Hood and a Musketeers movie in a two year span; that was a very worthwhile endeavor.

Speaking off Platt, he should have won as Oscar for this:





And I also have a soft spot for The Man in the Iron Mask, mostly for the inspired actors they got for the retired Musketeers.  Watching Irons, Byrne, Depardieau, and Malkovich play off one another was worth the price of admission alone.

I'll admit I like the swashbuckling genre quite a bit.  Having never seen the Lester films, I probably need to fix that hole in my experience.
I'm not Avery.
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#27
Oliver Platt and Michael Wincott are the only reasons to watch the 1993 version. Everyone else is either miscast or wasted.
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#28
No love for Curry? Someone should arrest him, because he's stealing the scene!
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#29
Ugh, I fucking hated Curry in that. Total Scooby Doo villain, and not in a good way.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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#30
Agreed. Curry leaned into it a little too far.
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#31
Nah, he's perfect for the ultra-silly tone of the 1993 version.
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#32
(09-04-2018, 11:37 AM)atomtastic Wrote: Nah, he's perfect for the ultra-silly tone of the 1993 version.

[Image: 1rgbob.jpg]
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#33
By the way, since 'swashbuckers' in general have come up, I'd like to throw a little bit of support behind the movie SWASHBUCKLER

[Image: 51DM55D2W0L._SY445_.jpg]

This is by no means a 'great' movie, but the cast is great fun (Robert Shaw, Peter Boyle, a thin James Earle Jones) and many of the swordfighting scenes are pretty exciting.
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#34
I quite enjoy Curry's hammy Richelieu. He just looks like he's having such a good time.
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#35
Anyone saw the BBC Musketeer series?
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