THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Starring Douglas Fairbanks
September 24, 1923
Now comes our American Cavalier, Douglas Fairbanks tied on the polished boots, the trusty sword, the swagger and the romance of Dumas' immortal French Hero.
The result is a whirlwind of a picture, a brisk and exuberant production done with a meticulous care, an artistic conception and a spirit of jauntiness that sees it ringing down the whole length of its celluloid progress. Dumas' work, "the Three Musketeers," has been transmitted to the screen with a swagger, a dash and a savor.
Fairbanks himself has stepped form the role of the humorist into the semi-serious, that is to say the romantic character of the best known, the most audacious, and the most gallant of the three blades that own undying fame in literature. Doug has entered into the part with abandon. The tricks and thrills of the American comedian have been alchemized into the exploits of the French chevalier. Some of the time, of course -- you weren't sure whether the audience were thundering because it was Doug who was doing the stunts or were applauding the valiant D'Artagnan who was on the way to victory -- but that's of no consequence so long as they enjoyed it.
The cast, the direction, the photography are all first-rate. The Three Musketeers were excellently chosen in Leon Barry, George Seigmann and Eugene Pallette. A noble little bit of characterization was done by Nigel de Brulier as Cardinal. Marguerite De La Motte brought a gentle and sprightly grace to the part of Constance, while Barbara La Marr did a keen bit of character work as Milady. The cast as a whole was universally good.
The backgrounds are carefully planned, and some of the exteriors are superb. The highway that thundered to the hoofs of the steeds ridden in the mad race to save the honor of the queen were scenes of natural beauty and charm. The costuming, filming, photography and minor details have been handled excellently.
The best part about the whole thing is the whole-hearted way in which everyone has entered into the spirit of the picture, enjoyed their work and showed it.
There's no need to outline the story, as you've certainly read
it in serial form in the "Movie Weekly." Be sure to
see this, and if you don't like it -- well: there is something
wrong with you.
THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Starring Douglas Fairbanks
PICTURE PLAY MAGAZINE
Here is atmosphere, if you like, in chunks; the air is thick with it. And here is the one and only D'Artagnan of the screen in the person of Douglas Fairbanks. Either he was created to play this role before the films began or the genial old Dumas, peré, wrote it for him, bridging the years between them by some amazing flight of the subconscious. As a matter of fact, Douglas has been playing D'Artagnan ever since he has been in films, although he played it in a brisk business suit instead of doublet and hose, and vanquished his hundreds with his fists instead of with his rapier. But it is his role - the role of the dashing, undaunted cavalier - whether as a clerk or a musketeer - who understands all there is to know about fighting, trickery, and the way of a man with a maid.
There is little of the original old French flavor in the rollicking picture which Fairbanks gives of the gauche lad of Gascony. In this he stands apart from the rest of the picture. Edward Knoblock, in making his film adaptation, held, as far as possible, to the Dumas theme; the perilous game of chess which Richelieu and Louis XIII played with their henchmen. But Fairbanks is frankly and irresistibly himself, and the audiences love him for it. In the first reel he gets something of the Don Quixote quality with which Dumas invested this country youth in search of adventure. But when he broke loose with his incredible adventures there was a wink beneath his plumes and curls which said plainer than words; "Under all this fuss and feathers, it's me!"
As we remember the dashing old novel, the escapades of D'Artagnan have been modified to fit the talents of the new and restless star. Several roof-climbing episodes - without which a Fairbanks picture could not possibly be filmed - have been added, and the unedifying conduct of Milady has been toned down out of deference for the censors. The perilous race,however, for the diamond buckle that a queen may keep her throne is made the most of by the dauntless three. They are wonderful - these three, especially Porthos, whose genial bulk would have moved Dumas himself to cheers.
And one of the fencing scenes alone is worth all the struggles you will find in getting tin to see this film. Douglas has added this most difficult art to his other less subtle accomplishments. In this, as in the accomplishment of the picture itself, he may well cry, "Touché."
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