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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:52 am 
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Prince Judah
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Thanks for those 3 links to the site reviews, Judah; I read all of them - they're all interesting, with the one at EccentricCinema especially comprehensive. The EvilElitest one is more flawed, with a few errors; he mentions, for example, the "evil female character (played by Rauel Welch) " - besides the typo in Raquel's name, he has also mixed her up with Faye Dunaway; Dunaway plays the evil female. He also seems very enamored of actor Richard Chamberlain; for me, Chamberlain was my least favorite Musketeer - I favored Oliver Reed and Frank Finlay (though I liked all 4, to be clear).

EvilElitest also brings up the cliched swordfight at the start of the film; I very much disagree with this assessment - it was certainly not cliched. In fact, it drew me into the film right off the bat, beginning things in an almost ominous manner -
Spoiler:
we think it's a life-or-death combat situation (if watching for the first time), but it turns out to be a final training fight between father and son.


The Black Hole review brings up a possible interesting piece of trivia - that some of the actors, including Heston, did not return to "loop" their lines in the 2nd film; therefore, some of their scenes are voiced (dubbed) by other voices. Now I have to watch the Four Musketeers again to see if this is the case... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:52 am 
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Prince Judah
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Yeah, I also found that EvilElitest is not up to the mark, in comparison with the one at EccentricCinema. Yet I put them all because we need to see what different people say. And the swordfight is not 'cliched', perhaps the reviewer himself seems to like the word 'cliched'. There was a guy in my college who always used verbs like 'vituperate' and 'repudiate' -- though there are simpler verbs to express what he wanted to say. This 'cliched' one seems to have some problem like that.

It's my favourite pastime- 'To criticise the Critic', as T.S. Eliot said, ha ha.

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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:24 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Here is a person for whom Chuck's performance as Richelieu is the best of all. I think it would be interesting to see what this man says-- here are excerpts from the blog:

"He had a voice made for roaring like a hero about to charge into battle against a thousand bloodthirsty tribal warriors so naturally in just about every movie he made screenwriters and directors couldn't resist the temptation to give him as many roaring moments as they could cram into two hours or three.
His Moses roared. His Ben-Hur roared. His Michelangelo roared, at the Pope, which has to be a mortal sin.
His most famous---or at least most parodied---line from all his movies is a roar.
"You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

It's hard to be subtle when you're roaring, and greatness in movie stars is not usually judged by their loudest moments but by their silences. Charlton Heston wasn't known for his silences."

..... ........

"my favorite Heston performance is his Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers.

As Richelieu, Heston most definitely does not roar. He is subtle. His performances is full of telling silences. I love it when he wanders distractedly through his own torturer chamber, absent-mindedly acknowledging the greetings of his awed victims, and the smoothness with which he hides his impatience with the idiot king he is forced to rule France through is beautifully modulated. He's also terrific in the moment when he realizes that D'Artagnan has turned the tables on him, saving himself from the Cardinal's vengeance by producing a before-the-fact pardon written by the Cardinal himself. He allows himself one quick flash of irritation that he immediately smothers with a self-chiding amusement that he uses to dispense some disinterested advice. "One should be careful what one writes down and to whom one gives it."

His best scene is the one between him and Faye Dunaway as Milady de Winter. Milady has just declared her intention to get her revenge upon D'Artagnan and Heston's Richelieu cannot hide his disgust---not at her wish to kill the young musketeer, at her very unprofessional emotion. His only interest in her is as a professional spy and assassin and she's insisting that he see her as a human being and to great men like Richelieu mere human beings are of no use or importance. It's a chilling moment, especially since it's followed up by her declaring how much she hates the Cardinal and---I hope I got this right, I'm working from memory here---he replies with a very priestly, "I love you, my child."

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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:49 am 
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Prince Judah
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An excellent and insightful description of Heston's performance by the blogger, but his memory was indeed faulty. He mixed up Milady with Rochefort (Christopher Lee); it was Rochefort who exchanged words with Heston's Cardinal :richelieu: in that great scene:

    Rochefort, the Cardinal's henchman, has just failed in something, in Richelieu's opinion. Rochefort, frustrated into being impertinent with the Cardinal, accuses him of having lofty ambition and claims to have none himself...

    Cardinal Richelieu: "Do you fear me, Rochefort?"

    Rochefort: "Yes, I... fear you, eminence."

    Richelieu nods and begins to walk away.

    Rochefort: "I also.. hate you." Richelieu stops, turns.

    Richelieu: "I love you, my son." (raises his hand in gesture) "Even when you fail."

The blogger was correct, however, about the rest of the scene with Heston and Faye Dunaway as Milady. She does speak to the Cardinal about her need for personal revenge and Heston is terrific at expressing Richelieu's disgust at her unpleasant emotionalism and, shall we say, non-professionalism. :richelieu:


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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:23 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Ha ha ha! Good writers are not always men with good memory.

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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:23 am 
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I have watched this movie yesterday, and I must agree with Judah and Chrysagon that Heston's acting talent is remarkable in his role of a sophisticated negative character. The way he reduces his grand and ideal height and stature to come down to the level of a scheming politician shows his range of talent as an actor. But I have some objections about other aspects in the movie,I'll talk about that later.

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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:44 pm 
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Oh I almost forgot to elaborate my comments after watching the movie. I'll again say that Heston did a quite convincing and intelligent job in his role of the shrewd politician, whom even the king is 'afraid' of. In fact the king looked too comic in the movie-- was it the director's wish to present that role in that light. It's not so in the book. The king of course is a simple , good-natured and somewhat ineffective man, but not so buffoonish.

I am surprised to see Constance and Millady fighting over the jewels! And in the book D'Artagnan managed to hand the jewels directly to Constance without creating much noise and problem, all the problems passed earlier. The movie projects the episode with a lot of action but this should not be the case, for Millady is a hard creature to be exposed so early...and how could that be that the Cardinal's guards fail to stop D'Artagnan and could niot inform him this before the morning? And D'Artagnan now knows for certain that Millady is evil, so how will his casual affair with her will take place. The logic of the book is not maintained, in fact the book runs a long way after the movie finishes, and the rest is to be shown in the sequel. But the actual book-sequel(The Four Musketeers) by Dumas is 20 years after Millady's death(at the end of 'The Three Musketeers) , showing a thriller of revenge and fight between Millady's son and the aged Musketeers.

The other characters(other than Heston's Richelieu) whose acting impressed me are Constance's ridiculous old husband, and the first Musketeer Athos (Olivier Reed). Christo Lee looks good as the villain, but eehhh... he is not so comfortable, as it appears to me, without his Dracula wrapper and fangs. On the whole, this version of the Musketeer story falls short of my expectation(I am sorry to say this, it's only my opinion anyway) but Heston's admirable performance is really an indication of his personal achievement from this period piece.

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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:03 am 
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Prince Judah
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I've been meaning to reply to the above post for a long time; there always seemed to be a bad timing involved, such as realizing I didn't have the few minutes to write it, and it kept getting delayed. Anyway, I think the common criticism that this film didn't follow the novels as closely as it should is also a common criticism with all films based on novels. I've learned to accept over the years that film and film directors/writers have different requirements to complete a project compared to novelists. There are times when the changes are ridiculous and a detriment to the film and I criticize those fully. But, I didn't have that problem with this Three Musketeers film version; I think other film versions of the Dumas tale diverged even more (especially the latest one released only a few months ago; I will watch that one soon).

The problem that some people have with this 1973 version has mostly to do with director Lester. He did inject a lot of action & movement into the film, probably to avoid slow scenes; that's also his trademark - chaotic action. More to the point, a lot of people think he goes overboard on the comedy, the slapstick, associated with the action. He had that problem with the two Superman sequels he directed, especially Superman III. It's as if he takes the slapstick moments just one step too far at times, turning everything into a big joke. The biggest buffoon in this Musketeers film is the king and maybe it does go too far, but I seem to have gotten used to the tone over the years. Then again, Constance's husband may also be the biggest clown, yet many viewers like you find him to be a favorite.

As for Chris Lee - yes, he is not as favored by me as Oliver Reed or Heston, but I think he still has his share of good scenes; all his scenes with Michael York as D'Artagnan are quite entertaining to me. I've written about him on another board, that Lee to me often relied on his tall presence and cold, ominous voice to act out a scene and was sometimes dull. He was better when he relaxed in some roles, like in Horror Express (1972).


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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:58 am 
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El Cid
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Location: Lincoln, England
When I first saw THE THREE MUSKETEERS at the Odeon, Lincoln, in 1973, I was slightly shocked that Richard Lester had turned a classic children's story into a knockabout farce. After about 20 minutes I suddenly realised what a wonderful fun fest I was watching and really enjoyed the movie immensely. I like the way Heston and Christopher Lee play it straight, while Spike Milligan, Roy Kinnear and co. supply the knockabout wacky humour. Christopher Lee made four movies with Charlton Heston and he was blind in three of them.
This was Philadelphia-born director Richard Lester's first film since the disastrous response to his post-apocalyptic farce THE BED SITTING ROOM four years previously in 1969. The film is about London after a nuclear war (the shortest war in history - 2 minutes, 28 seconds including the signing of the peace treaty). Its a strange, very black comedy featuring two of the MUSKETEER regulars, Roy Kinnear and Spike Milligan (who co-wrote it). There is one particular scene that I remember very well, a man walks around the barren wasteland of London giving out BBC news reports and one of them was-
" That is the end of television for this year. We'll be with you next Boxing Day, when Charlton Heston will wrestle His Holiness the Pope for the Sportsman of the Year title."

THE BED SITTING ROOM is a really weird, bleak, darker than dark, very-black comedy, but I laughed my head off in the cinema at that comical reference to Heston and the Pope.


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 Post subject: Re: The Three Musketeers (1973)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:14 am 
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Prince Judah
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James Byrne wrote:
. We'll be with you next Boxing Day, when Charlton Heston will wrestle His Holiness the Pope for the Sportsman of the Year title."

THE BED SITTING ROOM is a really weird, bleak, darker than dark, very-black comedy, but I laughed my head off in the cinema at that comical reference to Heston and the Pope.


Ha ha ha :lol: The 'Boxing day' pun is really marvellous! But how may we interpret this-- the Cardinal Richelieu wrestling with the Pope or Micheaelangelo 'wrestling' (in a sense of confrontation) with His Holiness? Or, can we take it as a witty reference to the Biblical account of Israel wrestling with the Lord's Angel?

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