The Four Musketeers (1975)

PG | 106 mins | Adventure, Comedy-drama | 19 March 1975

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HISTORY

In a voiceover at the beginning of The Four Musketeers, Porthos introduces the main characters and explains the action thus far: “Oh yes I remember that day when young D’Artagnan was made a musketeer of the king. Splendid ceremony, you know, all the best people, cream of French society. I was there, of course. Well, who but I, with my colleagues Aramis and Athos, could have put the musketeers tablet on D’s shoulders. It is important that a young man, rising in the world, should be seen to have a worthy and valorous sponsor, what? Well it gives people confidence. The king approved, and the queen. Yes, well she might, for was it not D’Artagnan and I, with Aramis and Athos, who had saved her reputation and prevented her love affair with the Duke of Buckingham from becoming a public scandal. Stupid woman, you see, becoming infatuated with an Englishman, and an English Prime Minister at that. What next? Oh yes, D’Artagnan had earned his reward, I can tell you. He and we three musketeers had risked our skins and our reputations on her behalf against perilous enemies. The Cardinal Richelieu, for one. Formidable man, that, hungry for power, who would have exposed and ruined the queen to serve his own ambition. No gentleman, you see. And his agents, the bad and beautiful Milady De Winter and her lover, Rochefort, two birds of prey in fine feathers. She for one would never forgive D’Artagnan or his mistress, Constance, for defeating her plot against the queen. Revenge is what Milady wanted. Dreadful woman. But what did we care for her, or Rochefort or the cardinal even in those ... More Less

In a voiceover at the beginning of The Four Musketeers, Porthos introduces the main characters and explains the action thus far: “Oh yes I remember that day when young D’Artagnan was made a musketeer of the king. Splendid ceremony, you know, all the best people, cream of French society. I was there, of course. Well, who but I, with my colleagues Aramis and Athos, could have put the musketeers tablet on D’s shoulders. It is important that a young man, rising in the world, should be seen to have a worthy and valorous sponsor, what? Well it gives people confidence. The king approved, and the queen. Yes, well she might, for was it not D’Artagnan and I, with Aramis and Athos, who had saved her reputation and prevented her love affair with the Duke of Buckingham from becoming a public scandal. Stupid woman, you see, becoming infatuated with an Englishman, and an English Prime Minister at that. What next? Oh yes, D’Artagnan had earned his reward, I can tell you. He and we three musketeers had risked our skins and our reputations on her behalf against perilous enemies. The Cardinal Richelieu, for one. Formidable man, that, hungry for power, who would have exposed and ruined the queen to serve his own ambition. No gentleman, you see. And his agents, the bad and beautiful Milady De Winter and her lover, Rochefort, two birds of prey in fine feathers. She for one would never forgive D’Artagnan or his mistress, Constance, for defeating her plot against the queen. Revenge is what Milady wanted. Dreadful woman. But what did we care for her, or Rochefort or the cardinal even in those days? We were young and carefree as gentlemen musketeers should be, what? And the boy D’Artagnan was in love with his pretty dressmaker. And there was work. Fighting in the king’s service against the Protestant rebels of La Rochelle. You see, we and the king and cardinal were trying to teach the rebels the meaning of Christian charity by bombarding them into surrender, what? That’s the only way to deal with those rascals with their working-class ideas about religion. Even our old enemy, Rochefort, the cardinal’s jackal, did his part by spying for us inside the walls of La Rochelle, unsuccessfully as you see. Fortunately for him, we three musketeers played our part. Distasteful work, I thought. No gentleman. Leave him where he is, if I had my way.”
       A title in the end credits states: “The producers are grateful to El Patrimonio Nacional De Espana without whose co-operation the making of this film would not have been possible.”
       Most publicity materials refer to the film only as The Four Musketeers, but the main title card adds a subtitle, Milady’s Revenge, in small print, below the main title and above the copyright statement. Armand Rubin’s onscreen credit reads: “World Wide Representation for Europex, Paris.” Eddie Fowlie’s onscreen credit reads: “Property and Special Effects.” Publicity materials list “Constance” and her husband as “Bonancieux,” which is spelled “Bonacieux” in the Alexandre Dumas novel.
       As explained in various trade papers and in studio notes from the AMPAS library files, The Three Musketeers (1974, see entry) and The Four Musketeers were filmed simultaneously, as one movie, in 1973, but when it turned into a four-hour project, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp decided to split it into two films. Several new scenes were shot in 1974 to extend The Four Musketeers to its final 106 minutes. Principal photography began on 10 May 1973 in the Cerralbo Museum in Madrid, Spain, according to studio notes, and continued for four months into Sep 1973. According to the 30 Jul 1974 DV, another day of filming in London, England, was needed to “put the finishing touches” on The Four Musketeers, including a scene with the four principals in a specially equipped gymnasium where the musketeers trained. Two-and-a-half months later, the 12 Oct 1974 HR reported, “a few added scenes” were completed.
       According to a 26 Dec 1972 HR news item, Richard Burton originally was considered for the role of “Athos” and principal photography was to take place in London and Paris. An Apr 1973 Var news item noted that locations would be in England and Budapest, Hungary. However, as noted in the onscreen credits of The Three Musketeers, the film ultimately was shot in Spain, with post production and recording done at Twickenham Studios in England. A 16 May 1973 Var article on the production revealed that producer Ilya Salkind initially considered casting members of the British pop group, Beatlestles, as the musketeers, even though the group had dissolved three years earlier. He also considered making the production a burlesque comedy starring Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers, and other known comic actors. The producer concluded, however, that, ultimately, he did not want to ridicule “the legend” of the novel.
       More than fifty Spanish locations were used, according to studio notes, including Madrid’s Royal Palace, various castles, and several villages, including Talamanca de Jarama.
       A 27 Jul 1973 DV news item stated that actress Raquel Welch had withdrawn from the film due to “creative and artistic differences.” Welch later stated that her conflict concerned the authentic period gowns, which she found constricting and distorting. Welch brought her own gowns and eventually was allowed to proceed with her private designer. The 5 Mar 1976 DV explained that the decision became a problem when the films’ costume designer, Yvonne Blake, had to share an Academy Award nomination with Welch’s personal costume designer, Ron Talsky, who created only one dress.
       At the end of The Three Musketeers, but before that film’s closing credits, a title card and brief preview of a sequel, The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge, appears. A 2 Jan 1974 Var news item noted the producers’ decision to cut the production into two separate films prompted a “host of compensation queries” by the film’s actors. A 6 Mar 1975 DV article noted that a settlement was reached wherein the actors received a percentage share of the sequel’s profits proportionate to their original salary. Both Salkind and actress Raquel Welch acknowledged later that her attorney led the way in suits against the production company that resulted in the percentage settlement.
       As detailed in an article in the 13 Dec 1978 Var, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind, “in league” with associate producer Wolfdieter Von Stein, were sued for $60 million for “fraudulently” using the money of other companies to obtain credit to make several films, including The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeeers. Von Stein had been arrested several weeks earlier in West Germany.
       In 1989, much of the original cast (with the exception of Faye Dunaway, Simon Ward, Raquel Welch, and Charlton Heston, whose characters, “Milady De Winter,” “Buckingham,” “Constance,” and “Cardinal Richelieu” had died) reprised their roles for Universal’s The Return of the Musketeers, which loosely covered Alexandre Dumas’ second musketeer novel, Twenty Years After. That film was directed by Richard Lester. Character actor Roy Kinnear, who played “Planchet” in all three films, died after a horse riding accident during filming. The Return of the Musketeers was never released theatrically in the U.S.
       The Four Musketeers was one of numerous filmed versions of the popular Dumas novel. For more information on the various film versions, please consult M-G-M’s The Three Musketeers (1948, see entry), starring Gene Kelly and Lana Turner, and directed by George Sidney. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
27 Jul 1973.
---
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1974.
---
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1975.
---
Daily Variety
5 Mar 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 1975
p. 3, 18.
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1979
Section IV, p. 16.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 Apr 1975
p. 87.
New York Times
20 Mar 1975
p. 48.
New Yorker
31 Mar 1975
pp. 79-81.
Newsweek
7 Apr 1975
p. 83.
Time
7 Apr 1975
pp. 72-73.
Variety
Apr 1973.
---
Variety
16 May 1973.
---
Variety
2 Jan 1974.
---
Variety
12 Mar 1975
p. 18.
Variety
13 Dec 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Alexander Salkind presents
A Panamanian-Spanish Co-Production For Film Trust S.A.-Este Films
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fight dir
General prod mgr
1st asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Head grip
Still photog
Still photog
Still photog
Elec equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop buyer
Sets built by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Miss Raquel Welch's cost des by
Cost supv
Miss Raquel Welch's ward asst
Cost manufactured by
Cost manufactured by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus published by
Under the dir of
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Dubbing mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Sd ed
Sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff supv
Main titles
MAKEUP
Make-up and wigs
Miss Raquel Welch's make-up
Charlton Heston's make-up
Hairdresser
Miss Raquel Welch's hairdresser
Miss Faye Dunaway's hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Prod supv
World Wide representation
for Europex - Paris
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Continuity
Prods' secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Unit pub
Pub asst
STAND INS
Stunt arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les trois mousquetaires by Alexandre Dumas, père (Paris, 1844).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge
Release Date:
19 March 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 March 1975
Los Angeles opening: 21 March 1975
Production Date:
10 May -- September 1973 in Spain and July 1974 in London, England
Copyright Claimant:
Film Trust, S.A.
Copyright Date:
19 March 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44215
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Laboratory Technicolor (London)
Lenses
Cameras from Panavision
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, Panama, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After leaving his family’s farm for Paris, France, and earning the right to be one of King Louis XIII’s musketeers, D’Artagnan angers Milady De Winter, an agent of Count de Rochefort and Cardinal Richelieu, by thwarting her plot to humiliate King Louis’ unfaithful wife, Queen Anne of Austria. In the meantime, Protestant rebel forces have captured the king’s stronghold at La Rochelle. When the king sends Rochefort into the stronghold to demand their surrender, the rebels sentence the messenger to be executed. D’Artagnan and his three fellow musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, sneak into the castle and, by throwing smoke bombs, rescue Rochefort from a firing squad. Rochefort and Richelieu convince the simple-minded but suspicious king that his queen is loyal to him, despite her affair with George Villiers, England’s Duke of Buckingham. However, to stop the affair, Richelieu sends Rochefort to kidnap the queen’s dressmaker, Constance, before she can deliver the queen’s love letters to the duke. After D’Artagnan is knocked unconscious trying to stop the kidnapping, Milady takes him to her home in order to seduce him, both physically and emotionally, and he awakens in her arms. Later, D’Artagnan appeals to his fellow musketeers to help rescue Constance, whom he loves, but Athos says he heard from Porthos that a lady has stolen D’Artagnan’s heart. Athos warns him away from the affair by telling a story about a young man who lost his heart to “a certain milady” and married her, then discovered on her bare left shoulder the brand of a harlot and rejected her. Though neither D’Artagnan nor Athos realizes it, that woman was a younger Milady De Winter. When D’Artagnan returns to Milady’s home ... +


After leaving his family’s farm for Paris, France, and earning the right to be one of King Louis XIII’s musketeers, D’Artagnan angers Milady De Winter, an agent of Count de Rochefort and Cardinal Richelieu, by thwarting her plot to humiliate King Louis’ unfaithful wife, Queen Anne of Austria. In the meantime, Protestant rebel forces have captured the king’s stronghold at La Rochelle. When the king sends Rochefort into the stronghold to demand their surrender, the rebels sentence the messenger to be executed. D’Artagnan and his three fellow musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, sneak into the castle and, by throwing smoke bombs, rescue Rochefort from a firing squad. Rochefort and Richelieu convince the simple-minded but suspicious king that his queen is loyal to him, despite her affair with George Villiers, England’s Duke of Buckingham. However, to stop the affair, Richelieu sends Rochefort to kidnap the queen’s dressmaker, Constance, before she can deliver the queen’s love letters to the duke. After D’Artagnan is knocked unconscious trying to stop the kidnapping, Milady takes him to her home in order to seduce him, both physically and emotionally, and he awakens in her arms. Later, D’Artagnan appeals to his fellow musketeers to help rescue Constance, whom he loves, but Athos says he heard from Porthos that a lady has stolen D’Artagnan’s heart. Athos warns him away from the affair by telling a story about a young man who lost his heart to “a certain milady” and married her, then discovered on her bare left shoulder the brand of a harlot and rejected her. Though neither D’Artagnan nor Athos realizes it, that woman was a younger Milady De Winter. When D’Artagnan returns to Milady’s home to woo her, Milady’s servant girl, Kitty, warns that her mistress does not love him, and then beds D’Artagnan herself. Milady soon arrives home, Kitty runs to inform her that D’Artagnan never arrived, and from another room he overhears Milady mention that she is holding Constance prisoner. D’Artagnan jumps from a window, knocks on Milady’s front door, and apologizes for being late. After bedding Milady, he demands to know where she has hidden Constance, and as she struggles, he sees the brand of the harlot on her left shoulder. Milady stabs at him with acid-filled glass knives, but D’Artagnan escapes with her jewels. Later, when Athos sees the jewels, he realizes his own Milady and D’Artagnan’s are one and the same. Warning D’Artagnan that she will use her vast influence to kill him, Athos pleads that he leave France, but D’Artagnan declines, because his first duty is to find Constance. He tries to reach Queen Anne for help, but Richelieu’s soldiers capture him outside the palace. To win D’Artagnan’s loyalty, the cardinal offers him a commission in the King’s Guard. When the young musketeer refuses, Richelieu says he will have no protection on his journey to rejoin the siege of La Rochelle. Kitty rushes to tell D’Artagnan that Constance is being held at Milady’s chateau in St. Cloud, but since he is due at La Rochelle, his fellow musketeers volunteer to rescue Constance and take her to St. Cecelia Convent at Armentieres. Later, Rochefort lures D’Artagnan back to Paris with a letter saying his three comrades have been jailed for drunkenness, but on the way, as Rochefort and his men ambush the young musketeer, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis arrive in time to save him. Though Rochefort escapes, the musketeers capture one of his men and learn that Cardinal Richelieu will be at the Red Cote Inn near La Rochelle. There, Athos, shocked to see that Milady is alive, eavesdrops on her conversation as Richelieu orders her to board a ship to London, appeal to Buckingham not to aid the rebels at La Rochelle, and help the duke “meet with an accident” if he refuses. In return, Milady demands from the cardinal a signed warrant giving her the authority to kill Constance and D’Artagnan. Richelieu writes the warrant, but to indemnify himself, he words it vaguely: “By my hand and for the good of the state, the bearer has done what one has done.” After the cardinal leaves, Athos confronts Milady and takes the warrant from her. Later, at the siege at La Rochelle, the four musketeers bet a French officer they can eat breakfast in an abandoned bastion of the stronghold. Their foolhardy tactic draws hundreds of rebels out of the castle to be killed by French artillery, but the men who reach the bastion wage a stiff battle. During the swordplay, Athos tells D’Artagnan about Milady’s plan to kill Buckingham. Meanwhile, in England, as Buckingham orders Milady back to France with the message that he will continue to aid the Protestants, she attempts to kill him and is imprisoned in the Tower of London. When D’Artagnan informs Queen Anne of Milady’s treachery, he mentions that he will soon return Constance from St. Cecilia Convent. Beatrice, the queen’s lady-in-waiting, overhears the remark and informs Rochefort. In the Tower of London, Milady obtains a Bible from John Felton, the jailer, and pretends to read it constantly during her waking hours, until she seduces the religious, sexually repressed Felton with both charm and false piety, and convinces him that Buckingham is the Antichrist who must be killed. After assisting in Milady’s escape, Felton rushes to the pier where Buckingham is ready to board a ship to France and stabs him to death. As Milady returns to France, Rochefort informs her that Buckingham is dead, La Rochelle has fallen, and an attempt to kill Constance at St. Cecelia Convent has gone awry. She and Rochefort hurry to the convent, but as they pass through a town, they are seen by D’Artagnan, who with the other musketeers has stopped at a pub. As French soldiers waylay the musketeers by engaging them in swordplay, Milady disguises herself as a nun, goes to Constance’s room, and strangles her with rosary beads. Afterward, D’Artagnan finds his beloved dead and, believing Rochefort is the culprit, runs him through with a sword. Athos captures Milady, and the musketeers turn her over to an executioner, who chops off her head with an axe. When Cardinal Richelieu’s soldiers capture them and charge all four with murdering Milady, D’Artagnan brandishes Richelieu’s own handwritten warrant taken from Milady, which gives the bearer authority “for the good of the state” to do “what one has done,” thus absolving the musketeers of the crime. The cardinal offers commissions in the King’s Guard, but they decline. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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