This film, directed by Richard Lester and scripted by George McDonald Fraser, is a surprisingly close interpretation of the original novel’s narrative. I’d watched it before and liked it a lot, but this time around (with my engagement with the text just a BIT more intensive) I was surprised at what a fantastic job they did.
The Three Musketeers (1973) features very old school interpretations of the characters, plenty of direct quotes from the book itself, and a deep dedication to awesome sword fighting as well as background historical detail. Great costumes, great sets, great action, sharp dialogue, and random hawking and hunting scenes. All good stuff. The story is split over two movies, The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974), with this first film covering the Matter of the Queen’s Diamonds. I really should have looked at this one at the beginning of the Musketeer Media Monday project, as there are many creative decisions of the later adaptations (particularly Musketeers in an Exciting Adventure With Airships (2011) but it could be argued for Musketeers Are All For Love (1993) and Looks Good In Leather (2014) as well) which are obviously alluding to, inspired by or working against this particular film.
The main innovation of The Three Musketeers (1973) is that it’s a comedy. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – after all, the novel itself is very, very funny. But I was still a bit shocked at how completely hilarious the film version was. I was in stitches most of the time I was watching – and apart from a few wince-inducing moments, I was mostly laughing WITH the movie rather than at it.