The Three Musketeers (1974)

PG | 105 or 107 mins | Adventure, Comedy-drama | 18 April 1974

Director:

Richard Lester

Cinematographer:

David Watkin

Production Designer:

Brian Eatwell

Production Company:

Film Trust, S.A.
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HISTORY

Most publicity materials refer to the film only as The Three Musketeers , but the main title card adds a subtitle, The Queen’s Diamonds in very 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.” Frank Finlay, who played “Porthos,” is credited twice in the onscreen cast list, first as Porthos, then later for the bit part of the duke’s jeweler, “O’Reilly.” Studio publicity credited the part to “John Bluthel.” The part may or may not have been slated originally for actor John Bluthal. Publicity materials list "Constance" and her husband as "Bonancieux," which is spelled "Bonacieux" in the Alexandre Dumas novel.
       According to a 26 Dec 1972 HR news item, Richard Burton was under consideration for the role of "Athos" for the production which at the time was to be shot in London and Paris. The item also stated that Cinerama Releasing Corp. would likely be the distributing company for the film. An Apr 1973 Var news item noted that filming locations would be England and Budapest. As noted in the onscreen credits, the film ultimately was shot in Spain, with post production and recording done at Twickenham Studios in England. A May 1973 Var article on the production revealed that producer Ilya Salkind initially considered casting world renown British pop group The Beatles as the musketeers, then considered making the production a burlesque comedy starring Jerry Lewis, Peter Sellers and other known comic actors. ... More Less

Most publicity materials refer to the film only as The Three Musketeers , but the main title card adds a subtitle, The Queen’s Diamonds in very 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.” Frank Finlay, who played “Porthos,” is credited twice in the onscreen cast list, first as Porthos, then later for the bit part of the duke’s jeweler, “O’Reilly.” Studio publicity credited the part to “John Bluthel.” The part may or may not have been slated originally for actor John Bluthal. Publicity materials list "Constance" and her husband as "Bonancieux," which is spelled "Bonacieux" in the Alexandre Dumas novel.
       According to a 26 Dec 1972 HR news item, Richard Burton was under consideration for the role of "Athos" for the production which at the time was to be shot in London and Paris. The item also stated that Cinerama Releasing Corp. would likely be the distributing company for the film. An Apr 1973 Var news item noted that filming locations would be England and Budapest. As noted in the onscreen credits, the film ultimately was shot in Spain, with post production and recording done at Twickenham Studios in England. A May 1973 Var article on the production revealed that producer Ilya Salkind initially considered casting world renown British pop group The Beatles as the musketeers, then 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. According to a May 1973 HR news item, as the Salkind production began shooting, three other productions based on the Dumas novel were also in production, two in Italy, one in France and an animated version.
       A Jul 1973 DV news item stated that Raquel Welch had withdrawn from the film due to "creative and artistic differences." In a modern documentary on the production included as added content on the 2002 DVD release of both The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers , Welch stated that her conflict surrounded costuming. Finding the authentic period gowns constricting and distorting, Welch brought her own gowns and eventually was allowed to proceed with her private designer. In the same documentary, Salkind reveals that during the film's development, he was strongly influenced by the 1963 United Artists period-comedic adaptation of Tom Jones (see below) and initially approached its director, Tony Richardson, for The Three Musketeers . Although Salkind offered Charlton Heston the roles of Athos or “Rochefort,” Lester, instead, urged the actor into the darker role of the plotting “Richelieu.” Composer Michel Legrand also noted on the documentary that The Three Musketeers was the first period film he had scored.
       At the end of the action, but before the film's closing credits, a title card and brief preview of a sequel, The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge plays. A Jan 1974 Var news item noted the unexpected decision of producers to cut the nearly four-hour production into two separate films. The article noted that the decision prompted a "host of compensation queries" by the film's actors. A Mar 1974 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. In the documentary on the making of the film, Salkind stated that because the novel and script were long and complex, it became a practical decision to turn the project into two films. Both Salkind and Welch acknowledged in the documentary that her attorney led the way in suits against the production company that resulted in the percentage settlement. The Four Musketeers was released in 1975 by Twentieth Century-Fox.
       In 1989, much of the original cast (with the exception of Faye Dunaway, Simon Ward and Heston whose characters, "Milady De Winter", "Buckingham" and Cardinal Richelieu had died) reprised their roles for the Universal release The Return of the Musketeers , which loosely covered Alexandre Dumas' second musketeer novel Twenty Years After . That film was also directed by Lester. Kim Cattrail assumed the role of Milady's daughter, who took up her mother’s revenge plot. Character actor Roy Kinnear, who played "Planchet" in all three musketeer films, died after a horse riding accident during the filming of The Return of the Musketeers . According to modern sources, the shock of losing his friend Kinnear prompted Lester to retire from filmmaking.
       The Three Musketeers was one of numerous filmed versions of the popular Dumas novel. For more information on the various film version, please consult the entry for the 1948 M-G-M release, The Three Musketeers (see above) starring Gene Kelly and Lana Turner, and directed by George Sidney. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Apr 1974
p. 4676.
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1973.
---
Daily Variety
27 Jul 1973.
---
Daily Variety
29 Mar 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1973.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1973
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1973
p. 18.
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
29 Mar 1974
p. 4, 7.
Los Angeles Times
28 Mar 1974
Section IV, p. 1, 20.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Feb 1974
p. 78.
New York Times
4 Apr 1974
p. 52.
Newsweek
15 Apr 1974
p. 101.
Time
25 Apr 1974
pp. 63-64.
Variety
16 May 1973.
---
Variety
26 Dec 1973
p. 12.
Variety
2 Jan 1974.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Alexander, Michael and Ilya Salkind Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Head grip
Stills photog
Stills photog
Stills photog
Elec equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Props
Prop buyer
Sets built by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Miss Raquel Welch's cost des
Cost supv
Miss Raquel Welch's ward asst
Cost manufactured by
Cost manufactured by
MUSIC
Mus ed
Asst ed
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Dubbing mixer
Sd ed
Sd ed
Boom op
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff supv
Main titles
MAKEUP
Makeup and wigs
Miss Raquel Welch's makeup
Charlton Heston's makeup
Hairdresser
Miss Raquel Welch's hairdresser
Miss Faye Dunaway's hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Fight dir
World wide representation
Prod supv
Gen prod mgr
Prod's secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Unit pub
Pub asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
STAND INS
Stunt arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les trois mousquetaires by Alexandre Dumas, père (Paris, 1844).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Queen's Diamonds
Release Date:
18 April 1974
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Paris: week of 18 March 1974
London opening: 25 March 1974
Los Angeles opening: 28 March 1974 at Filmex
Production Date:
early May--mid November 1973 in Spain and at Estudios Cinematograficos Roma S.A.-Madrid
Copyright Claimant:
Film Trust, S.A.
Copyright Date:
13 December 1973
Copyright Number:
LF190
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor (London)
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Lenses/Prints
DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
105 or 107
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Spain, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In early 17th century France, impoverished young D’Artagnon makes his way from Gascony to Paris to fulfill his dream of becoming a musketeer with the king’s guard. With a letter of introduction from his father to old friend and head of the guard, Monsieur de Treville, and armed with his father’s sword, D’Artagnon enthusiastically clings to his father’s advice to take no insults and “fight!” Only a short way into his journey, at a small village, D’Artagnon encounters a haughty stranger with an eye-patch who belittles the youth’s plow horse and ignores his demand for satisfaction. Accosted by two thieves, D’Artagnon’s brittle sword is broken, his money purse and horse are stolen and he is knocked out while the stranger meets a carriage carrying the beautiful Milady De Winter. Arriving in Paris later, D’Artagnon goes to the musketeer barracks, where he gains an audience with Treville, who gallantly offers him a new sword but explains that until the young man has proven himself in numerous exploits, he cannot recommend him as a musketeer. Spotting the man with the eye-patch walking in the street, D’Artagnon thanks Treville and in his haste to reach the street, crashes into three musketeers, the wounded Athos, dandified Porthos and romantic Aramis, each of whom angrily challenge D’Artagnon to separate duels that afternoon. Unable to find the man with the eye-patch, D’Artagnan proceeds to the Carmelite Convent to meet Athos. Startled when the musketeer’s seconds prove to be Porthos and Aramis, D’Artagnon nevertheless cheerfully prepares for his first duel, which is interrupted by the arrival of Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, who attempt to arrest the musketeers for dueling ... +


In early 17th century France, impoverished young D’Artagnon makes his way from Gascony to Paris to fulfill his dream of becoming a musketeer with the king’s guard. With a letter of introduction from his father to old friend and head of the guard, Monsieur de Treville, and armed with his father’s sword, D’Artagnon enthusiastically clings to his father’s advice to take no insults and “fight!” Only a short way into his journey, at a small village, D’Artagnon encounters a haughty stranger with an eye-patch who belittles the youth’s plow horse and ignores his demand for satisfaction. Accosted by two thieves, D’Artagnon’s brittle sword is broken, his money purse and horse are stolen and he is knocked out while the stranger meets a carriage carrying the beautiful Milady De Winter. Arriving in Paris later, D’Artagnon goes to the musketeer barracks, where he gains an audience with Treville, who gallantly offers him a new sword but explains that until the young man has proven himself in numerous exploits, he cannot recommend him as a musketeer. Spotting the man with the eye-patch walking in the street, D’Artagnon thanks Treville and in his haste to reach the street, crashes into three musketeers, the wounded Athos, dandified Porthos and romantic Aramis, each of whom angrily challenge D’Artagnon to separate duels that afternoon. Unable to find the man with the eye-patch, D’Artagnan proceeds to the Carmelite Convent to meet Athos. Startled when the musketeer’s seconds prove to be Porthos and Aramis, D’Artagnon nevertheless cheerfully prepares for his first duel, which is interrupted by the arrival of Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, who attempt to arrest the musketeers for dueling in defiance of edicts. When D’Artagnon offers to join the three musketeers, who are outmanned, they accept and the four battle the six guards to a draw. Outraged that his best plumed hat has been ruined in the fight, Porthos takes a purse from a dazed guard for compensation. In the street, Athos explains that as their motto is “All for one and one for all,” they each receive a portion of the spoils, including D’Artagnon, who fought bravely and well. Taking Athos’s advice to use his funds to acquire better clothes, a manservant and a place to stay, D’Artagnon hires servant Planchet and accepts a shabby room with the elderly Monsieur Bonacieux after seeing his beautiful, much younger wife Constance. D’Artagnon soon learns that Constance is dressmaker to Queen Anne and resides at the palace but makes weekly visits to her husband. A day later at Versailles, King Louis XIII meets with Treville to inquire about the skirmish between the musketeers and Richelieu’s guard. The men are interrupted by the arrival of the cardinal, who reports privately to the king that the British Prime Minister, the Duke of Buckingham, has secretly arrived in Paris. Suspecting a plot against him, the king orders his arrest, but the cardinal recommends having him watched instead. That night, unknown to D’Artagnon, Bonacieux and Constance are arrested by Richelieu’s guard. Constance escapes but, unnerved, turns to D’Artagnon for solace, and the two acknowledge their mutual attraction. Nevertheless, Constance then rejects D’Artagnon’s offer to accompany her on a vital appointment later that night. Following her, D’Artagnon is annoyed when she meets a well appointed, handsome man. Upon challenging him, D’Artagnon is startled to learn that he is the Duke of Buckingham and is headed for a secret, romantic rendezvous with the queen. D’Artagnon escorts the couple to a covert palace entryway leading to the laundry rooms, where Constance then brings Anne and her attendant, Beatrice, who, unknown to the queen, is Richelieu’s agent. As the queen and the duke converse, Beatrice slips away to call the palace guard. When the duke pleads for a romantic token from Anne, she presents him with a necklace with twelve large diamond studs, which the duke vows to return to her within the year. Upon the arrival of the guards, Anne flees while Constance summons D’Artagnon, who sends Planchet for the musketeers. Athos, Porthos and Aramis arrive in time to help D’Artagnon and the duke beat back the guard and enable the duke to escape safely. Learning of the clash and the gift of the necklace, Richelieu has Bonacieux brought to him, and under threat of torture, the cowardly older man agrees to spy on Constance. Richelieu then orders the head of his private guard, Count de Rochefort, who is the mysterious man with the eye-patch, to send Milady to London, where she is to get close to Buckingham and take two of the diamond studs from the necklace. Soon after, Richelieu, playing on the king’s jealous suspicions, suggests that Louis throw a lavish ball for Anne and request that she wear the diamond necklace, which he gave to her as a gift. Later, horrified when the king declares his intention to throw the ball in two weeks, Anne confides in Constance, proclaiming that all is lost as she can never recover the necklace in time with spies planted throughout the palace. Telling the queen that she knows a trustworthy agent, Constance encourages Anne to write to Buckingham explaining her predicament. At home, Constance initially approaches her husband, but after his comments reveal that he is in league with Richelieu, she accepts D’Artagnon’s offer to travel to England to deliver the letter. He escapes just as Bonacieux brings Rochefort and the guard to question Constance. After Athos explains Rochefort’s identity to D’Artagnon and points out the danger of his mission, he, Porthos and Aramis offer to escort him on his journey. The four race to the coast, and each of the musketeers in turn is wounded by the cardinal’s men, leaving D’Artagnon and Planchet to make it to Calais alone. There, after D’Artagnon finds Rochefort arranging for a pass across the channel, he duels and wounds Rochefort, then steals the pass to reach England. Locating Buckingham on a hunting trip, D’Artagnon presents him with the queen’s letter. Upon learning it has already taken D’Artagnon six days to reach him, Buckingham hastily gives him the queen’s necklace, only to discover that two diamond studs are missing. Alarmed to realize that his brief romantic interlude with the deceitful Milady has been his undoing, the duke offers the royal jeweler a vast fee to make duplicate studs within twenty-four hours. Although Buckingham has ordered all ports sealed, Milady has already fled to France, where she passes the two stolen diamond studs to the recovering Rochefort. Meanwhile, in gratitude for his devotion and courage, Buckingham bestows on D’Artagnon a beautiful sword and safe conduct back to the channel. The next evening is the night of the ball. When the nervous Anne appears without the necklace, Louis angrily orders her to send to the palace for it as the guests, including Richelieu and Milady, watch. After the queen withdraws, Richelieu gives the king a box with the two diamond studs and suggests that, should the queen return with the necklace, he must count the diamonds on it carefully. Meanwhile, D’Artagnon and Planchet reach the ball, and after several confrontations with guards, are joined by the recovered Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Having seen Constance at a window, D’Artagnon hurls the package with the necklace up to a balcony, only to have Milady retrieve it, resulting in a brief tussle between her and Constance. Moments later, the relieved queen returns to the ball wearing the necklace. When Louis discovers there are twelve diamonds on it he demands an explanation from the cardinal, who states that he merely wanted to present the queen with a gift of two additional diamonds and did not know how to do so. Some days later at a large celebration at Versailles, D’Artagnon is made an official musketeer by Treville while his companions cheer. Under the steely gaze of Richelieu, Milady and Rochefort plot revenge as Anne secretly offers D’Artagnon a valuable ring in thanks. A musketeer at last, D’Artagnon joins Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and with Constance sets off for new adventures. +

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

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