I Saw A Film!
I remember loving this silliness as a kid, and decided it needed a revisit. I somehow, did not grok the fact that this thing is meant as a kind of adventure comedy, though Michael York’s D’Artagnan sort of falls into the midst of it in a more serious way, having to earn his means after leaving home. It isn’t long before our “young” D’Artagnan (York is about thirty and change here) is facing off against several dueling opponents, optimistically lining them up by the hour. He does get his grandfather’s sword destroyed immediately by Christopher Lee’s henchmen. Christopher Freaking Lee! I didn’t even realize as a kiddo the shear stock of star power in this thing. I mean Charlton Heston, Oliver Reed, Faye Dunaway and much to my delight Spike Milligan! Who I could not have recognized as a wee lad. And no I’m not forgetting Raquel, who could?
So must of what happens in this quick installment (most of my memories about this come from the second episode) is just introductory. But despite it being a kind of silly romp the period efforts are excellent. The showcase is mainly the fight sequences and they are, while often being comical, probably as realistic as they come (and were choreographed by an actual sword-master). Swordsman might pull two weapons out, they also might kick, and throw things, a fight might not be “clean”. One drawback in this episode is that the muskets are left out of it. Our heroes are mostly loafers who are scamming meals rather than doing the king’s work with their muzzleloaders. Which is, again, a likely truth. Knights of old were commissioned and turned loose, much like old sea dogs – basically, to plunder for their lord. Plundering was a vocation. For this first film though our champions, Reed, Chamberlin, and Finlay don’t get much to do. They’re rather colorful side characters to the intrigue that gets set up. I have to apologize for not being terribly interested in the story of the jeweled necklace that the bulk of this film is about. I quickly lost track of the purpose and meaning of it, the same way I had trouble understanding why the fucking handkerchief that Desdamona stupidly fumbled was such an important plot piece, but that doesn’t really matter. All you have to remember is that the musketeers are up against the henchmen of Chris Lee – Done.
Running Free on Prime and we’ll talk more when I find part two. Hilariously, I just read on wikipedia, that this thing was proposed originally as a vehicle for the Beatles!