168 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2003
You can tell that the folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment love movies. It shows in every disc they release (like last years wonderful "MAD MONSTER PARTY" DVD). And this new release of director Richard Lester's delightfully enjoyable 70's comedy/ swashbuckler's "THE THREE MUSKETEERS" and "THE FOUR MUSKETEERS" in one 2-disc set is yet another example of their care and love. This is a wonderful release and a superior job over the DVD's Fox-Lorber have had on the market for the last couple of years. No one ever mentioned it (maybe nobody noticed it), but the Fox-Lorber DVD of "3 MUSKETEERS" was missing about 1 minute of footage in a scene between Charlton Heston and Christopher Lee. These new discs have the complete versions of both films and they look and sound great! For the first time they are presented in anamorphic widescreen in their proper aspect-ratio (full screen versions are also included but I haven't yet viewed them so I can't comment on them). The extras are also very nice. Two half hour documentaries on each disc includes interviews with stars Raquel Welch, Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Michael York and Frank Finlay and producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler. Trailers, tv spots, radio spots, photo & poster galleries and star biographies (that are actually informative and worth reading) round out this very pleasing package! Buy it, watch it and enjoy!
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Anchor Bay deserves a great deal of credit for this informative and entertaining double feature of the two classic Musketeer films from the early 1970s.
Originally planned as one long epic movie (including a then standard intermission in the middle) the decision was made at some point during the production of THE THREE MUSKETEERS that they would either have one four hour movie or two separate movies. Rather than cut out some of the fantastic scenes that had been shot to make the movie more manageable the production company made the more sensible decision to cut the production in two releasing THE THREE MUSKETEER' one year and then THE FOUR MUSKETEERS shortly after.
Not everyone involved in the production of the movie was happy about the decision. Actress Faye Dunaway publicly stated that (had she known about the splitting of the movie into two) she would have refused to do it since her role in the first was so small. The move led to some litigation and was eventually settled but today movie contracts include what is termed "The Salkind Clause" (named after the Salkind's who produced the MUSKETEER movies) to protect actors from such moves.
It is perhaps for this reason that Faye Dunaway is one of the only still living members of the main cast who does not appear on camera for the excellent hour-long documentary THE SAGA OF THE MUSLETEERS that Anchor Bay has put together for this release.
Perhaps a deliberate reflection of the movie (or perhaps simply due to limited space on the DVDs) the documentary is split into two half-hour parts on each disc. Recounting their memories of the production are actors Charlton Heston, Raquel Welch, Michael York, Frank Finlay and Christopher Lee who cover nearly every aspect of the production from their casting to some of the close calls and injuries the actors sustained performing their own stunts and swordflighting with real, very lethal swords.
Lee, himself an expert swordsman, had to remind a rather over enthusiatic Oliver Reed (who abandoned the staged moves for a fight for some more improvised swings) that it was "only a movie."
Also on camera for interviews are producers Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler (who would both go on to produce SUPERMAN) who discuss not only the actual production of the movies but also where the initial idea came from and the recruiting of Director Richard Lester. Salkind recounts how Lester initially turned down the invitation to direct the movie, referring to it as "a children's book" (as it was seen at the time). It was not until Salkind actually sent him a copy of the actual Alexandre Dumas novel that Lester became excited by the prospect of directing the adaptation.
With a screenplay by George MacDonald Fraser (of the FLASHMAN novels and later of 1983's OCTOPUSSY) these two movies work remarkably well. Even though there are some surprising stylistic differences (surprising since it was originally meant as one movie). The first movie is definitely more comic in tone and the second darker and more dramatic. This is not to say the second movie is lacking in humor - just witness the Musketeers eating lunch as the prefer for battle with the Protestants.
Of the two I actually prefer the second movie much more because I feel the characters are more drawn out and the intrigue more involving, The climatic sword fight and Oliver Reed-Faye Dunaway subplot are both highlights in my opinion. The second movie also features the shocking deaths of two of the more likeable major characters.
Overall, a fantastic job by Anchor Bay. One can only hope that the third movie in the series, 1989's THE RETURN OF THE MUSKETEERS which was also directed by Richard Lester and included the majority of the original cast, will one day be released on DVD.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Of course these are 5 star films so I'll just comment on the new release 2 DVD set. The picture and sound quaity is GREATLY improved over the fox/lorber release and both films are presented in their CORRECT widescreen with The Four Musketeers offering a choice of pan n scan or widescreen. Includes great current day interviews with Heston, Lee, Welch, York, Salkind among many others on the making of the film. Even the 'two movies' dispute is discussed in detail by all!! Nice packaging, great interviews and improved transfer makes this a must for upgrade. Too bad Return wasn't included. If you havent seen these films get set for a real treat. I wish I could go back and see them for the first time again. They don't make 'em like this anymore...
68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2010
Yes, rejoice one and all, for this new Lionsgate edition of, The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers have the EXACT same disc content as the Anchor Bay collection (except for a duller silk screen on the discs, light grey with etched writing) same menus, same extras (the new making of documentary actually says, Anchor Bay presents) but in a two disc plastic case (the size of a single disc case) with no chapter card (where as I believe the Anchor Bay set had the chapter lists inside the cardboard, flip open style case, with the plastic disc holders that tended to make you almost brake the discs trying to unlock them) but who ever uses the chapter search cards anyway.
So this is the set to get if you're looking to purchase these movies.
Hope this helps :)
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2011
I believe Richard Lester's films of Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" are far-and-away the best movie renditions of that great book. No other films capture the humor, the sweep, and the camaraderie as these two films from 1974. The casting is excellent, across the board, and the film transfer on this Anchor Bay release is vivid.
My only caveat with Lester's vision: the fencing almost always devolves into a fight with fists, furniture, and laundry. I wish he'd stuck to the classic Fred Cavan's-style dueling. Still, that's a minor quibble with an otherwise splendid pair of films.
These are perhaps the last true swashbucklers put on film, throwbacks in many ways to a vanished era.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Forget everything in that putrid "Three Musketeers" remake starring Chris O'Donnell. A lot closer to Alexandre Dumas's original novel is "The Complete Musketeers," a pair of movies that sparkle with humor, romance, swordplay and political plotting. It's a period piece with a wink and nudge.
At the beginning of "Three Musketeers," farm lad D'Artagnan (Michael York) arrives in Paris to try to become one of the king's elite Musketeers. After being challenged to three duels within five minutes, D'Artagnan ends up befriending three of the Musketeers: wry alcoholic Athos (Oliver Reed), naughty priest Aramis (Richard Chamberlain), and lovable fop Porthos (Frank Finlay). Even though D'Artagnan isn't a Musketeer yet, the three Musketeers take a liking to him -- as does his landlord's sexy wife, the queen's lady-in-waiting Constance (Raquel Welch).
However, the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Charlton Heston) is seeking to overthrow the queen, who is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. So he arranges for her infidelity to be exposed by a pair of ruthless assassins, Milady de Winter and Comte de Rocheforte (Faye Dunaway and Christopher Lee). But Constance gets D'Artagnan to go to England to retrieve the gems the queen gave the Duke, along with the help of the three Musketeers.
"The Four Musketeers" is the second half of the original novel, and appropriately called "Milady's Revenge." Milady is, unsurprisingly, very peeved that the Musketeers thwarted her in the previous film. So she gets a special pardon "in advance" from the Cardinal -- she wants to murder D'Artagnan and Constance, and be unscathed by any punishment.
D'Artagnan sends Constance to a convent, hoping that that will keep her safe. Then, idiotically, he starts an affair with Milady, only to discover the harlot's brand on her shoulder. Milady's machinations spread over the English channel to engulf the Duke of Buckingham. Now only the four Musketeers can hope to bring Milady to justice -- but not before a terrible price is paid.
The art of the action-comedy is pretty much lost -- making action funny. And "The Complete Musketeers" is a prime example of that. One good example is the fight with the Cardinal's guards, where Aramis gleefully dodges sword thrusts, and Porthos attacks with rocks and sticks. Another is the scene where the Musketeers use a fake fight to shoplift food.
But the film never quite descends to slapstick, and there is plenty of drama and even tragedy, as one of the important characters dies, and others reveal not-so-pleasant secrets. The sets are outstanding, lavish and full of detail. And the scripting is equally solid, getting across plenty of information in a series of solid one-liners.
All four of the Musketeers are outstanding: York has that naive Luke Skywalker vibe, while Finlay is a lovable hothead, Chamberlin a charming rogue priest, and Reed a tormented soul. Raquel Welch gets to play a fun, comedic character as the clumsy Constance (who, as soon as we see her, falls down the stairs). Heston seems to be relishing the role of a bad guy, and Christopher Lee exudes icy menace as the Comte. Faye Dunaway is also excellent, though she doesn't get to shine until "Four Musketeers."
The spirit of Alexandre Dumas seems to live on in the solid, entertaining, tragic, action-filled "Complete Musketeers." Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The Three and Four Musketeers I recommend to anyone who loves swashbucklers and the writings of Alexandre Dumas.These films remain pretty faithful to the original novel.Michael York does an excellent job as D'Artagnan.The musketeers excellently played by Oliver Reed(not as attractive as Athos in the book),Frank Finlay (not as tall or large as Porthos in the book or other screen versions),Richard Chamberlain (perfectly cast as Aramis).Raquel Welch did a great comedic turn as Constance but did not fit the characterization in the book.Faye Dunaway perfect in her acting ability as Milady de Winter.Christopher Lee and Charlton Heston great in their rolls as Count de Rochefort and Cardinal Richelieu.Simon Ward,Geraldine Chaplin,Jean Pierre-Cassel,Roy Kinnear and Spike Milligan also very good as the Duke of Buckingham,Queen Anne,King Louis,D'Artagnan's servant Planchet and Constance's cuckold of a husband Monsieur Bonancieux.The costumes,acting and scenery excellent for this period swashbuckler.I highly recommend it.Be sure to watch both parts to get the full story.Part 1 deals with D'Artagnan and the musketeers saving the Queen's honor from the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his agents "The bad and beautiful Milady de Winter and her lover Rochefort two birds of prey in fine feathers".Part 2 known as the Four Musketeers deals with the Cardinal and agents going for revenge against D'Artagnan and the Musketeers and viceversa.To fans of this version Ursula Andress was also considered for the part of Milady de Winter (an excellent choice,good actress and a real blonde beauty) and Charlton Heston was first wanted for the part of Athos but demanded the part of Cardinal Richelieu and got it.For those who love this version also be sure to see the sequel The Return of the Musketeers:The Musketeers 20 Years After.It has the same cast as the Three and Four Musketeers filmed 14 years later and also might add it has some new character additions.It's ashame that Oliver Reed and Roy Kinnear are gone.There could have been a fourth film about the Musketeers final days.If you want full film treatments of this novel I recommend The Three Musketeers-Gene Kelly version,The two part French version of 1961-62(quite similar to this one)the 1999 145 minute made for video stageplay and the Douglas Fairbanks 1921 version and its sequel the Iron Mask which not only deals with the Man in the Iron Mask Story but with the second half of the Three Musketeers novel (Fairbanks versions were Richard Lester's (Director of the Three,Four and Return of the Musketeers)favorites.If you've never seen these see them.If you have seen them and love them-BUY THEM!
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have always enjoyed watching these movies. The discs themselves are only OK. The presentation is fine, but the sound is awful. I turned up my stereo to 11 just to hear the dialogue and when the soundtrack kicks in, you can be deafened. I found it annoying because the dialogue is fun to listen to. The movies are great, but good luck hearing anything.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This pair of films is almost certainly the finest film version not only of The Three Musketeers, but of any of Dumas' novels. While it may not be truly "great," it is superbly made and one (or rather two) of the most enjoyable films I have ever seen. Under Richard Lester's direction, it is a light-hearted adventure story, but with enough genuine edge for those who demand some dramatic tension.
George MacDonald Fraser's screenplay (full of clever, sharp dialogue) sticks much closer to the Dumas original than do other adaptations of The Three Musketeers, most of which transform the story into a standard good guys vs. bad guys plot with little more substance than the average B-Western (e.g., the more recent, one-step-above-awful Sutherland/Sheen/O'Donnell version). The Lester/Fraser version is essentially about four friends trying to survive and be true to each other (and, oh yes, to enjoy life along the way) while getting caught up in the neverending intrigues of the court of Louis XIII of France. The Musketeers are not conventional heroes, and with the partial exception of Milady, their opponents are not conventional villains.
Besides superb direction and a great script, these films have a fantastic cast. All of the Musketeers come across as sharply drawn individuals. Michael York is a very suitably naïve, impetuous D'Artagnan. Richard Chamberlain makes a perfectly suave and sophisticated Aramis, the future priest, and his foil Porthos is brought to boastful but good-hearted life by Frank Finlay. Best of all is Oliver Reed's melancholy Athos, who gives the film some of the "edge" I spoke of above.
Two other cast members give performances as good as anything they have ever done. Charlton Heston is a tremendous Cardinal Richelieu, subtle, intelligent, ever-scheming, but capable of taking a temporary setback with good grace. Raquel Welch may have given the finest performance of her career as D'Artagnan's lady-love, Constance, the queen's lovely but accident-prone dressmaker.
Richelieu is ably served by Christopher Lee as a rugged, dangerous Rochefort and by Faye Dunaway as a ruthless Milady. The intelligent actor Jean-Pierre Cassel portrays the near-idiot Louis XIII very well, while Geraldine Chaplin succeeds in winning some of our sympathy for the selfish and spoiled Anne of Austria, his queen. Rounding out this impressive case are Roy Kinnear as Planchet, D'Artagnan's servant, Spike Milligan as Constance's husband, and Simon Ward as the Duke of Buckingham.
One of the best things about this pair of films is the quality of the fight scenes. They combine a high level of excitement with a very realistic feel. One noteworthy touch is that each of the Musketeers shows an individual fighting style--e.g., D'Artagnan is a whirlwind of speed, while the older Athos fights more of a battle of attrition, wearing his opponent down. Another plus is that each fight scene has its own clear identity--they never seem repetitive.
Like the fight scenes, the overall look of the film seems authentic. I am no expert on 17th century France to truly judge, but the sets and costumes give a great appearance of realism. Each film has a separate score, the first by Michel Legrand (with a bit borrowed from Giuseppe Verdi), the second by Lalo Schifrin. Both are quite effective.
The DVD offers the choice of either the full-screen or wide-screen versions. Even on a modest sized 20-inch TV, I preferred the latter. The primary extra is a featurette titled "The Saga of the Musketeers." Appropriately, given that the originally intended one film was split into two features, the featurette is split into two parts, one on each disc. It is very good, with interviews with co-producer Ilya Salkind and several cast members-York, Welch, Finlay, Heston and Lee, as I recall. One nice element is a sort of "in memoriam" segment saluting cast members Oliver Reed, Roy Kinnear and Spike Milligan, all of whom died before the release of the DVD.
For some 40 years, from classics like "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "The Sea Hawk" down through John Huston's "The Man Who Would Be King," Hollywood turned out great adventure films that had more to offer than just special effects and slam-bang action set-pieces. Although the Salkind Musketeers films were not Hollywood productions, they are worthy to stand among the very best films in that tradition.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2002
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Thank God for Anchor Bay Entertainment which is releasing this set in Feb 2003 as Widescreen with the types of extras you expect on DVD. You can check their website for details under "Future Releases". I've loved these 2 movies since I was a kid and I'd hate to think that this lousy DVD set would be my only option.