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Feature
The Three Musketeers – Compare And Contrast
How does this week’s offering compare to previous adaptations?

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Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers has made it to the screen many times through the years, with varying levels of success and degrees of fidelity to the source. Here, we gather together the biggest, non-silent English language versions – from 1948, 1973, 1993 and 2011 – and compare and contrast the casts that brought them to life.

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
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D’Artagnan


1948 Gene Kelly

1973 Michael York

1993 Chris O'Donnell

2011 Logan Lerman
Who is he?
The focus of Dumas’ novel and the way in to most of the films to an audience unused to Musketeers, D’Artagnan is young, hot-headed but also a legitimately talented fighter who idealistically sets off to join the Musketeers (a group of Royal guards armed with, amongst other things, muskets) but immediately embroils himself in trouble. Like, three-duels-in-a-day-followed-by-nation-shaking-political-intrigue trouble.

Any basis in fact?
Charles Ogier de Batz de Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan, joined the Musketeers in 1632 and rose through the ranks, becoming effective Commander of the re-formed Musketeers by 1667 under Louis XIV. He was involved in the arrest and imprisonment of Louis XIV’s notorious finance minister Fouquet, who may have been the real “man in the iron mask”. He died at the Siege of Maastricht in 1673.

Who played him best?
Gene Kelly’s probably the best looking of the bunch and certainly has the best footwork among the contenders – as you’d expect from a dancer. York is best at projecting D’Artagnan’s relative innocence and rash, unthinking heroism, while O’Donnell does well at his idealism. Lerman gets relatively little screen time devoted to character development, but manages the combination of cockiness and inexperience nicely. Overall, York is our favourite – he’s the funniest by quite some distance, but handles tragedy just as well.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 1973 Version!
I have always been a big fan of the 1973 version. Oliver Reed will always be in my eyes the best and definitive Athos. Micheal York, Faye Dunaway and Christopher Lee are also excellent. Haven't seen the new version yet but it does look pretty dire so I probably never will! More

Posted by dannyfletch on Saturday January 7, 2012, 10:38

2 incorrect!
in the book she's married to athos as well! More

Posted by glammakid on Friday October 28, 2011, 15:49

3 Mads Mikkelsen's eye
Why does poor old Mads have so many problems with his eye? In Casino Royale, it's bleeding and in Valhalla Rising and The Three Musketeers it's missing! More

Posted by Enzino on Wednesday October 19, 2011, 10:38

4 The Musketeer (2001)
What about Peter Hyams 2001 flick 'The Musketeer? It had a decent D'Artagnan in Justin Chambers, but an ace Richelieu in Stephen Rea, while Jeremy Irons nails Rochefort-stand-in Febre. The musketeers are played by relative unknowns (Nick Morann Jan Gregor Kemp and Steve Spiers) and are relatively sidelined. But the film is one of the most entertaining Dumas' adaptations I've ever seen, and easily beats the 1993 and 2011 versions,a s well as The Man in the Iron Mask. More

Posted by JfwAalbers on Monday October 17, 2011, 09:58

5 RE: Great List
L: agtpotter what story could they use as a sequel? i can't see another man in an iron mask! Now i]'s an idea... He doesn't just wear an iron mask, it's a complete set of iron armour... that can fly... and has gatling guns... You'd have to do it in a historically appropriate way of course... More

Posted by Clingfilm on Sunday October 16, 2011, 12:01

6 Manga
How about the Japanese anime version, where Milady's hair are turqoise (!), Aramis turns out to be a woman (!!!) and D'Artagnan's horse is a fully developed character with an acute sense of smell !!! More

Posted by Grimm on Friday October 14, 2011, 13:09

7
verdict:so baisically they could have stopped after the excellent 1973 versions! More

Posted by 6632.thomas on Thursday October 13, 2011, 19:55

8 Van Heflin, not Helfin or Halfin
Please, get this character actors name right. More

Posted by Acethebathound on Thursday October 13, 2011, 19:14

9
Apologies on the novel Milady / Athos thing; was relying on my clearly Swiss-cheesed memory of the book. I'll amend that now. Damn you, quantum leap accelerator. (A 90s TV sci-fi joke there for ya!) More

Posted by Helen OHara on Thursday October 13, 2011, 12:02

10 Milady was married to athos
In the novel milady was married to athos, its not a hollywood thing. Long before the events of the story they got married and then he found out she had been branded by the executioner, meaning the death sentence was hanging over her already by then. So he hanged her. But failed obviously More

Posted by colum on Thursday October 13, 2011, 11:46

11 RE:
Good article, really enjoyed reading it - though for me there's no competition, Oliver Reed is Athos.   Would also agree about Faye Dunaway, though to be fair I haven't seen the Lana Turner version, just can't imagine her being anywhere near as evil.   More

Posted by brucejackiejet on Thursday October 13, 2011, 09:21

12
I happened to catch a bit of the 93 "Brat Pack" version the other day and would have wagered fortunes that the part of Rochefort was being played by John Leguizamo not Michael Wincott. Look at the photo's they look so alike, and Wincott's performance channels the same sort of scuzzy latino nastiness as Leguizamo's Tibalt, very simmilar voices too. More

Posted by Discodez on Thursday October 13, 2011, 09:16

13 RE:
Ok, having re-read the appropriate passages of the book (and checked the French wikipedia-page http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Trois_Mousquetaires), I can safely say I was right: Athos' marriage to Milady is in the original novel and is not an Hollywood invention. More

Posted by BillyDolworth on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 21:06

14
I should probably go re-read the books (and not go watch the god-awful abomination that the new version seems to be) but I do think it was Dumas himself that married Milady to Athos and not just Hollywood More

Posted by BillyDolworth on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 20:43

15 Christoph Waltz
Why did he pick a mild Brooklyn accent for this role. He sounded like a mix of Woody Allen and Christopher Walken. And not in a creepy way, either. More

Posted by Mycroft3 on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 14:50

16 Raquel Welch
And further more, Faye Dunaway wins hands down as Milady. More

Posted by svanborg on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:39

17 Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch did not play Milady De Winter it was Faye Dunaway. Lets get the facts straight shall we ? More

Posted by svanborg on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:23

18 sequels
The 1973 version is closest to the books in terms of plot, tone & casting. Richard Chamberlain & Oliver Reed being as I consider, spot on. As for a sequel, well, if the 2011 version is based on the full book (as oppose to the 1973 version which spilt the full book into 2 - the three musketeers & the four musketeers), theres still twenty years after, aka Dumas sequel set, funnily enough twenty years after the events of the three musketeers & focussing not only on the older musketeers but also on Athos' son. The Man in the Iron Mask is actually only the third section of the third novel. Theres a wealth of Musketeer stories to draw on. Though I'm hoping they won't as this version looks dire More

Posted by Kittys_Gremlin on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 13:09

19 Great List
what story could they use as a sequel? i can't see another man in an iron mask! More

Posted by agtpotter on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:29

20 Oooh bad one
Milady was played by Faye Dunaway and not Raquel Welch who played Constance. Dunaway wins by a country mile More

Posted by chris wootton on Wednesday October 12, 2011, 12:29

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