Sight and Sound - 03/01/1974
"...Entertaining....Richard Lester's best work in years..."
Total Film - 09/01/2000
"...With Reed, Finlay and Chamberlain feeding each other lines, great fun..."
Richard Lester's rendition of Alexandre Dumas' classic swashbuckling adventure is a tongue-in-cheek comedy that thumbs its nose at its more serious predecessors. Having divided the story into two separate films, Lester manages to capture some of the more intricate details of book.
The first film features the arrival of D'Artagnan in Paris and his efforts to become a King's Musketeer, just like his father before him. In Paris he encounters three men who quickly become his friends and allies. Together they get entangled in court intrigues, and take up arms against the plotting, conniving Cardinal Richelieu. In the course of duty, they travel to England, where they try to preempt a scandal involving some diamond studs, the Duke of Buckingham and the reputation of the Queen of France.
"The Three Musketeers" and "The Four Musketeers" were slated for release as a single picture. The producers, however, decided that the film (with a running time of over three hours) should be cut into two separate pictures. The two features were released a year apart.
Both films feature swordplay choreography by William Hobbs. Many feel that these scenes are some of the more accurate representations of swordplay during that era; the heavy blades of the Baroque era were heavier in the handling and led to a slower, weightier method of fighting.