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Richard Lester's 1975 sequel to his romping Three Musketeers--released the year before--reunites his swashbuckling cast for a decidedly less happy and more somber experience. This time, D'Artagnan (Michael York) and his Musketeer mentors (Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay) have a tougher fight against their old enemies, and the adventure is not without its casualties. But the film is highly entertaining, filled with that same loony air that makes most films by Lester (How I Won the War, A Hard Day's Night, Help!) so much fun. The actors are with him every step of the way: Reed, Chamberlain, Finlay, and York are a heroic version of the Marx brothers, Raquel Welch was never better, and Charlton Heston clearly enjoys playing the evil Cardinal Richelieu. --Tom Keogh
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The movie focues' on Milady and her revenge to have D'Artagan and his lover killed. This movie was film concurrently with the first, and it shows as the actors are in full form and do not miss a beat. The conculsion is great as it ends with D'Artagan fighting the Count of Rochefort (played by Christopher Lee) is a wonderfully cheographed sword fight (it is gritty and realistic looking) and then the pronouncment of death on Milady.
Another must see movie. These two movies would be followed up by the entertianing, (however, not nearly as good as these movies) "The Return of the Musketeers" where the four musketeers are re-united.
Benefiting greatly by having the same wonderful cast (both films were shot at one time), it continues where the first film left off, with clever and ironic period detail and wry observations, this time not only about the twit aristocracy, but about religious fanaticsm, persecution and wars (Protestant and Catholics)as well.
The wit and intelligence is still here, but some of the elan is missing. There is so much plot to be disposed of that the film seems more hurried and less relaxed than the first. There are some good fights, especially one clever and funny bit on an icy stream, and a brutal fight at the finale in a nunnery that climaxes with de Rochefort (the marvelously arch and disdainful Christopher Lee) and D'Artagnon (Michael York) dueling in the chapel. Again, the sword fighting is FIGHTING, using both hands and feet, and with the participants becoming exhausted by their efforts.
The cast, as mentioned, is superb, with Heston as the wily Cardinal, Jean Pierre Cassel as the dim King, Geraldine Chaplain the ninny of a Queen, a wonderful Raquel Welch as Constance, the aforementioned Chris Lee & Michael York, and the great Oliver Reed as the moody and explosive Athos, Richard Chambelain the aloof Aramis, and Frank Finlay the vain & pompous Porthos. I neglected to mention Roy Kinnear as the long-suffering servant, Planchet, in my review of the earlier film. He's wonderful, as he always was, and lost his life in making this film.
Full of wry bits of business and humorous asides, and ironic contrasts, the Four Musketeers has the great benefit of continuity of cast and style and tone, although the tone shifts much darker and more plot-driven here. Not as good as the first film, but well worth your while. Compared to the witless films that more often than not make up our present world, these gems seem better and better for their audacity and intelligence. 4-1/2 stars.