The Four Musketeers

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From the book by Alexandre Dumas, Pere. Our Heroes again run afoul of the Evil Cardinal and D’Artagnan’s mistress is kidnapped.

This review is the long review, and it contains SPOILERS. If you have not seen this movie or read the book, do so at once.

The Four Musketeers is a companion film to (naturally) the Three Musketeers, wonderful stylish historical romance taken from the novel, and brilliantly written for the screen by George MacDonald Fraser.

This one is a little darker than its predecessor…there is more character development, more intrigue, and “many people were killed”, to quote W. C. Fields as Carl LaFong. This movie is also a bit problematical, in that Fraser took extreme liberties with the original story, not sticking with it as closely as he did in The Three Musketeers.

Although I’m usually quite honked off at people who rewrite books when they are filmed, and am a proponent of shooting it as closely to the way it was written as possible, I still think Fraser did a good job, and had good reasons for the changes he made…more serious, not as much fun as the first, but an excellent movie nonetheless.

Really, the most important stuff is here: Athos’ past connection with Milady, her seduction of Fenton, his murder of the Duke of B, and Milady’s execution. They even killed Constance off, although I’m sure there was a huge temptation to let her live…and I loved it when Milady strangled her with the rosary beads instead of just poisoning her! great touch!

It also made sense for Rochefort to get his at the end, instead of (as in the books) surviving it all and becoming D’Artagnan’s friend. And all that silliness at the seige of La Rochelle was good moviemaking, even if it wasn’t in the book.

For a real treat, watch them both together!

Imponderable: Why do people think that Faye “My face will crack if I change my expression” Dunaway can act? I’ve never seen any evidence of it…

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