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THE FOUR MUSKETEERS with Faye Dunaway scheduled to air on February 11


HoldenIsHere
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I loved the the "3 and 4 Musketeers" films  Originally intended as a film for the "Beatles", but that never happened. Lester had been selected to direct their films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help". Because of the innovated editing and style of filming Lester is credited with today's style of music videos. In fact Lester received an award from MTV as "Father of Music Video". 15 years after "Four Musketeers" , Lester reunited most of the original cast for "The Return of the Musketeers". Sadly, during the filming in Spain actor Roy Kinnear, who played d'Artagan's  { Michael York }  servant Planchet took a fall from a horse during filming and broke his pelvis. Rushed to a hospital in Madrid he died the next day of a heart attack. He and Lester had been good friends and Lester finished the film, but retired from directing. But in 1991 Lester returned to help out another friend Paul McCartney . A very under rated director...

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The swashbuckler has proven to be a difficult genre for filmmakers to master because there have been, in my opinion, only a handful that truly stand the test of time.

 

Director Richard Lester's Musketeer films, both Three and tomorrow's broadcast of Four, are among those few. Rather than a central larger-than-life swashbuckling superman at the core of the film, however, Lester's two efforts have superb ensemble casts, all perfectly suited to their roles. The two films, while exciting to watch and visually impressive with their costumes and sets, also benefit from a delightful sense of humour, much of it throwaway.

 

Four Musketeers is the darker, more serious film of the two, with Faye Dunaway's villainous Milady de Winter a classic cold blooded schemer who uses her feminine wiles to achieve her often deadly ends. While Dunaway is outstanding, the entire cast deserves credit for its contribution, including, in an unlikely piece of casting, Charlton Heston as a manipulative Cardinal Richelieu.

 

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I loved the the "3 and 4 Musketeers" films  Originally intended as a film for the "Beatles", but that never happened. Lester had been selected to direct their films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help". Because of the innovated editing and style of filming Lester is credited with today's style of music videos. In fact Lester received an award from MTV as "Father of Music Video". 15 years after "Four Musketeers" , Lester reunited most of the original cast for "The Return of the Musketeers". Sadly, during the filming in Spain actor Roy Kinnear, who played d'Artagan's  { Michael York }  servant Planchet took a fall from a horse during filming and broke his pelvis. Rushed to a hospital in Madrid he died the next day of a heart attack. He and Lester had been good friends and Lester finished the film, but retired from directing. But in 1991 Lester returned to help out another friend Paul McCartney . A very under rated director...

 

 

Roy,

 

I truly love this film mainly for Oliver Reed's heartbreaking turn as Athos whenever he talks about the woman he loved. I think it is one Reed's best roles and I loved him in The Three Musketeers almost as much. But there is something haunting in the story that Athos tells D'Artagan that always pulls at my heart strings. 

 

I have the DVR set as I have not seen this film in too many years!

 

Thanks, TCM!

 

Dale

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Roy,

 

I truly love this film mainly for Oliver Reed's heartbreaking turn as Athos whenever he talks about the woman he loved. I think it is one Reed's best roles and I loved him in The Three Musketeers almost as much. But there is something haunting in the story that Athos tells D'Artagan that always pulls at my heart strings. 

 

I have the DVR set as I have not seen this film in too many years!

 

Thanks, TCM!

 

Dale,

 

I agree with you 100%. Reed does give a wonderful performance, he outshines Van Heflin in the MGM 1948 version. as Athos. I also have the DVD set and a few years ago I purchased the "Return of the Musketeers". Although not up to the 3 and 4 films, it is never the less worth watching...

 

Roy..

 

Dale

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I loved the the "3 and 4 Musketeers" films  Originally intended as a film for the "Beatles", but that never happened. Lester had been selected to direct their films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help".

 

I'm so glad the original plan to have Lester's MUSKETEERS be a Beatles movie did not happen.

 

I agree that A HARD DAYS NIGHT is an innovative film. The cinematic innovations used in that movie are so commonplace today that is easy to overlook them. To really enjoy the movie, however, on an entertainment level I think you have to be a fan of the Beatles music (which I am not). 

 

I am glad we have Lester's MUSKETEERS movies the way they are. 

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I loved the the "3 and 4 Musketeers" films  Originally intended as a film for the "Beatles", but that never happened. Lester had been selected to direct their films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help". Because of the innovated editing and style of filming Lester is credited with today's style of music videos. In fact Lester received an award from MTV as "Father of Music Video". 15 years after "Four Musketeers" , Lester reunited most of the original cast for "The Return of the Musketeers". Sadly, during the filming in Spain actor Roy Kinnear, who played d'Artagan's  { Michael York }  servant Planchet took a fall from a horse during filming and broke his pelvis. Rushed to a hospital in Madrid he died the next day of a heart attack. He and Lester had been good friends and Lester finished the film, but retired from directing. But in 1991 Lester returned to help out another friend Paul McCartney . A very under rated director...

I believe Lester has publicly stated that Roy Kinnear's tragic accident is the reason he has retired from directing films.

Apparently they were filming a long shot which a double could easily have done.  But it was supposed to be fairly routine riding and not particularly dangerous.

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I believe Lester has publicly stated that Roy Kinnear's tragic accident is the reason he has retired from directing films.

Apparently they were filming a long shot which a double could easily have done.  But it was supposed to be fairly routine riding and not particularly dangerous.

 

Even the most experienced rider can take a spill from a horse. I'm no experienced rider, but i use to do a bit of riding , I was riding one evening  and was doing figure 8's in the arena. I had the horse up to a pretty good gallop and as I came around to the inner circle, the horse went one way and me and the saddle went another way.. I left the horse with such force that the leather rein I was holding snapped. I landed on my side with the saddle still between my legs and part of the rein in my hand. My wife and the trainer came running up and I had to lay there for a good 3 or 4 minutes just to start breathing again.. The next day my entire right side was a black and blue mark from my shoulder to my hip. To this day I can't straighten the middle finger [ yes, that finger] of my right hand. But I was very lucky. The embarrassing thing was that the horse I was riding was called Sugar and she was so gentle they use to sit small children on her. I just didn't have the saddle cinched properly that night.....

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I truly love [THE FOUR MUSKETTERS]  mainly for Oliver Reed's heartbreaking turn as Athos whenever he talks about the woman he loved. I think it is one Reed's best roles and I loved him in The Three Musketeers almost as much. But there is something haunting in the story that Athos tells D'Artagan that always pulls at my heart strings. 

 

 

I like Oliver Reed. He's a very good actor in the MUSKETEERS movies and in other roles, but when he (as Athos) tells the story of his lost love, describing himself as a "poor dishonored man" I actually feel more for Milady than for Athos. He claims to have loved this woman (his "angel"), but when he discovers the mark on her shoulder (the "brand of harlot") he puts honor above his love for her and tries to kill her. In the movie he trails off before telling d'Artagnan exactly what he did to her after seeing the "mark of dishonor" but does say that he thinks she is dead. Dumas's novel is more explicit about his actions: he hung her from a tree and left her to die.

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I'm so glad the original plan to have Lester's MUSKETEERS be a Beatles movie did not happen.

 

I agree that A HARD DAYS NIGHT is an innovative film. The cinematic innovations used in that movie are so commonplace today that is easy to overlook them. To really enjoy the movie, however, on an entertainment level I think you have to be a fan of the Beatles music (which I am not).

 

I am glad we have Lester's MUSKETEERS movies the way they are.

 

THE THREE MUSKETEERS, had it been done with the Beatles, might've turned out along the lines of the 1939 version, with Don Ameche as a singing D'Atagnan, and the Ritz Brothers as the Musketeers: pure slapstick with songs. But although I am a Huge Beatles fan, and I love A HARD DAYS NIGHT and HELP, I am glad Lester didn't do it with them.
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Maybe the reason Lester didn't do 'The Three Musketeers' with The Beatles is because there are four of them.

 

One of them likely would have been d'Artagnan (who became the fourth musketeer) with the other Beatles as the three musketeers.

I'm glad the plan was dropped as I said before.

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Spoiler Alert!

 

No matter how many times I watch this movie, I am always shocked by a scene where one major female character kills another, and while I assume that's true to the book, I also always think there is no way that would happen in a Hollywood movie today! That scene would be changed where the victim is rescued at the last second.

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One of them likely would have been d'Artagnan (who became the fourth musketeer) with the other Beatles as the three musketeers.

I'm glad the plan was dropped as I said before.

What probably happened with this film not getting done with Beatles, is that they changed what was becoming the pattern for them. Two al ums a year, and tours worldwide to support.these albums. Then a couple of weeks to work on the next.album,.then.......

 

Then......in early 1964, time.is set aside to film AHARD DAYS NIGHT......Likewise,.in early 1965, to film HELP.

 

The early plans had time blocked off in early 1966 to film their third movie. In the interim, the boys had grown mightily disenchanted with this hamster wheel on which they found themselves. They decided to do something about this, and beginning with late 1965's "Rubber Soul" album, had successfully attempted to expand the content of their songs. Along with increased studio innovation and capabilities, they decided in 1966 to spend substantially more time in the studio. This was made possible in 1966 as they scrapped plans to be touring constantly; they were fed up with this because they knew they couldn't be heard amidst the screaming fans, and as their music became more complicated and studio bound, they knew they could no longer recreate it easily live.

 

As they attempted to step off the treadmill, the Beatles also scrapped the idea of the annual movie. Several ideas had been discussed for the third film, probably TTM, but they were adament to break the pattern. So there would be no more of the movies featuring the loveable moptops.

 

The immediate results of this realignment of their time and energies were "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper", inarguably two of the greatest and most influential albums to come out of the 60s.

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One of them likely would have been d'Artagnan (who became the fourth musketeer) with the other Beatles as the three musketeers.

 

That would've separated one of them from the other three. Which one? The one chosen to not be a musketeer may have understandably wondered about his status with the other three.

 

Not a good thing for group unity - each was as important as the others in the public eye.

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That would've separated one of them from the other three. Which one? The one chosen to not be a musketeer may have understandably wondered about his status with the other three.

 

Not a good thing for group unity - each was as important as the others in the public eye.

 

D'Artagnan was the central character of the story even though he was not a musketeer at the beginning.

Whoever was chiosen to play the d'Artagnan role would have been perceived as the "star" of the movie so, yes, one of the Beatles would have been singled out as the "star" of the group.

I get the impression that the general consensus was that Paul McCartney was the most popular Beatle during the time that A HARD DAYS NIGHT was made and released, followed by John Lennon. That was was my impression when I saw the movie for the first time when it aired on TCM. Ringo Starr was definitely portrayed (albeit humorously) as the least popular one.

 

I think Arturo is correct that if the MUSKETEERS movie had been a Beatles movie it would have been a series of comic scenes mixed with performances of their songs an/or featured montages underscored by their songs.

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That would've separated one of them from the other three. Which one? The one chosen to not be a musketeer may have understandably wondered about his status with the other three.

 

Not a good thing for group unity - each was as important as the others in the public eye.

Well,.Ringo had been singled.out a bit in HELP; he was every bit as popular as any other Beatle. Back then each member had his partisans, helped by their distinct personalities: The Cute Beatle, The Quiet Beatle, The Intellectual Beatle. Ringo, however, was the one who was't much of a songwriter, plus he was genuinely popular with the other three. I don't think anyone would have been threatened if he was singled in the way, say, if Lennon or McCartney were chosen. He most likely would have been given the D'Artagnan role.

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D'Artagnan was the central character of the story even though he was not a musketeer at the beginning. Whoever was chiosen to play the d'Artagnan role would have been perceived as the "star" of the movie so, yes, one of the Beatles would have been singled out as the "star" of the group.

 

Which, to me, completely confirms my guess that that's why the idea of using The Beatles was rejected. In the '60's, the very idea of separating one from the others - in any manner - was unthinkable. Even if they weren't equals in the studio, they were equals in the eyes of the fans and nobody would've thought it a good idea to mess with that image.

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Spoiler Alert!

 

No matter how many times I watch this movie, I am always shocked by a scene where one major female character kills another, and while I assume that's true to the book, I also always think there is no way that would happen in a Hollywood movie today! That scene would be changed where the victim is rescued at the last second.

 

One of the things I respect about the MGM/Gene Kelly version of the Musketeers is the inclusion of this most disturbing event, and the subsequent extra-legal execution of Lady de Winter.  Made at a time even more likely to have softened the content of the book.  There is a deviation from the book in the movie, but it has to do with de Rochfeort.

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Which, to me, completely confirms my guess that that's why the idea of using The Beatles was rejected. In the '60's, the very idea of separating one from the others - in any manner - was unthinkable. Even if they weren't equals in the studio, they were equals in the eyes of the fans and nobody would've thought it a good idea to mess with that image.

 

But the Beatles weren't perceived as equals in the eyes of the fans. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were more popular than the other two.

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT even humorously comments on Ringo being the least popular one in the eyes of the fans (particularly the female fans).

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One of the things I respect about the MGM/Gene Kelly version of the Musketeers is the inclusion of this most disturbing event, and the subsequent extra-legal execution of Lady de Winter.  Made at a time even more likely to have softened the content of the book.  There is a deviation from the book in the movie, but it has to do with de Rochfeort.

 

**** MORE SPOILERS ****

 

I've never seen the version of THE THREE MUSKETEERS starring Gene Kelly as d'Artagnan in its entirety, but I did see the scene where Constance dies. I was really expecting her to pull through somehow considering the time when that movie was made. 

 

In the MGM version was Constance actually married to another man when d'Artagnan falls in love with her (as depicted in the book and in Richard Lester's movie)?

I somehow suspect she was not.

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But the Beatles weren't perceived as equals in the eyes of the fans. Paul McCartney and John Lennon were more popular than the other two.

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT even humorously comments on Ringo being the least popular one in the eyes of the fans (particularly the female fans).

 

In the scene where Ringo is made fun of due to the supposed lack of fan mail,   at the end Ringo is the one with the MOST fan mail.

 

So I don't know if one could say Ringo was the least popular Beatle.    If I had to rank them I would say the order was Paul,  Ringo,  John and than George.    John was married and that made him less popular with some female fans.  

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