In no other role is Douglas Fairbanks' boyish vigor as irresistibly engaging than as D'Artagnan in director Fred Niblo's "The Three Musketeers." More than just a thrilling adventure, the film is a handsomely produced, emot... more »ionally sensitive telling of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel, buoyed by Fairbanks' electrifying presence.« less
Tom Nichols | Waterloo, New York United States | 07/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Silent movie fans will be delighted with this swashbuckling tale starring the one and only Douglas Fairbanks! Set in France of long ago, this film uses elaborate costumes, wonderful sets and a hoard of extras. Fairbanks IS Dartanion as he sword fights his way into the Musketeers with bavery, arrogance and that wonderful touch of humor that seems to sparkle through his films. Spectacular stunts (done by the man himself), a wild chase scene and a supporting cast including Eugene Paulette (before he became rotund) and Adolph Menjou make this a silent screen classic everyone will enjoy! Watch out for the "odious Cardinal!""
Not the best Fairbanks
mark dalen | 12/17/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the third Fairbanks movie I've seen and quite frankly this is not really that good. It pales when compared to Robin Hood and especially Thief of Bagdad. The movie is too fragmented and needs way too many textboards to keep viewers up to par with the story. Fairbanks is fun to watch and when he's on screen he dominates. However,'presence' is not the same as acting. Fairbanks, and therefore the movie, is way too dependent on farcical comedy. At times the movie even edges dangerously close to a vaudeville act. Also his 'swashbuckling' in this movie amounts to not much more than just wildly wacking away with his sword. Maybe I saw it too soon after the hugely superior Thief of Bagdad...."
Back to basics
acidtest | Paris, Paris France | 12/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes the simplest things are the best !
I can recommand also the french silent movie version from henri diamant-berger(in 1921 too) that was a huge budget for this time and was lost forever before being found by chance in a private home.No matter how thrilling and entertaining all the movie adaptations of dumas stories are, the book is still the best That old movie is very close to the book which is a great thingto get it, go to the french amazon (www.amazon.fr) and type les trois mousquetaires choose the one from diamant-berger"
Part action-adventure, part costume drama
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 12/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this is ultimately an enjoyable and fulfilling film, I don't think it's perhaps the most ideal first Douglas Fairbanks film for a new fan, nor an ideal first silent either. Because it was based on a novel, naturally a lot of things were condensed or left out entirely. This works two ways; those who have read the book and loved it will be upset that a lot of key elements were left out, and those who haven't read the book yet won't always be able to fully understand what's going on. And since it was based on a novel, it is a bit chatty for a silent, with numerous lengthy intertitles. Because there are so many characters, it's kind of hard to keep track of who's whom; the numerous plotlines can also be a bit hard to keep track of. A condensed version of the rather complex plot is that the picture starts with King Louis XIII (Adolphe Menjou before he became a big star) and his wife Anne of Austria (the rather doughy-faced Mary MacLaren). These two didn't exactly have the happiest of marriages, and I'll never forget my AP European History teacher, my sophomore year of highschool, telling us the story about how if it hadn't been for a certain thunderstorm one evening that forced the unhappily wed couple to take refuge in a cabin, there would have been no Louis XIV. Louis XIII's scheming right-hand man Cardinal Richelieu thinks he's going to expose the affair Anne has been having with Duke Buckingham of England (George Villiers, who was notoriously sleazy, corrupt, and hated in real life, so much so he was later assassinated), but Anne is tipped off to his plan and manages to stay one step ahead of him, though it becomes hard to conceal her secret from her husband, particularly after she gives Buckingham a farewell token of a diamond buckle her husband gave her, a buckle Louis XIII later demands she wear to a ball. Intersecting with this rather convoluted costume drama is the story of brash young D'Artagnan (Douglas Fairbanks), who leaves home hoping to become a member of the legendary Musketeers, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. D'Artagnan is very hot-headed, willing to fight and duel at the drop of a hat, and makes himself several enemies before he even gets to Paris. D'Artagnan wins the respect and friendship of the Musketeers and is allowed to fight alongside them. While he is living in Paris, he falls in love with Constance, his innkeeper's pretty daughter (Marguerite de la Motte, his leading lady in a number of his early films). The two main plots intersect when the Queen has D'Artagnan and the Musketeers dispatched to go to England to get back her diamond buckle in time for the ball, so that her honor will not be besmirched. This final part of the movie is the most action-packed, suspenseful, and compelling.
Douglas Fairbanks was best at swashbuckling, action, and adventure, and there's enough of it to go around here, even when he's in period costume and held back from completely taking center stage due to all of the other characters. (And when he is onscreen, he's constantly in motion and stealing the scene.) Although a lot of character development and themes from the book had to be left out, one doesn't usually watch Doug's movies for things like those. One watches his movies for exciting action and adventure; things like character development and deep meaningful themes are secondary concerns. He might not have been a *great* actor necessarily, but he did have an incredible amount of charm, charisma, personality, and screen presence to make up for it. However, as good as the film is, it's not really the most ideal introduction to Fairbanks, what with all of the twists and turns in the story, all of the different plots and characters to keep track of, and the fact that it's quite chatty, which usually doesn't work for a silent. And coupled with those reasons, I've just never been very interested in 17th century history (actually I find that era kind of boring), which is when this takes place."
The original great swashbuckling adventure!
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 04/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is where it all started: right after his first successful action adventure, "The Mark of Zorro", Douglas Fairbanks decided that the classic Dumas novel about musketeers and intrigues at the French royal court would make another exciting swashbuckling adventure, and he was right! With all the countless remakes of "The Three Musketeers" over the decades, it's well worth going right back to the first version that started it all. In the silent era, emphasis was often put on the visual aspects such as sets, action and acting, and Fairbanks had a most expressive style of pantomime - the ancient art of acting using gestures and body language, similar to mime. Fairbanks was also an exceptional athlete who did his own stunts and action sequences, even learning to fence for his roles as Zorro and then D'Artagnan, which led to further successful action costume adventures, including the sequel to "The Three Musketeers" namely "The Iron Mask". It was these 1920s classic adventure films by Fairbanks that set the stage for Hollywood action heroes and adventure movies right up to our day. With his exuberant and dynamic style, as well as attention to historic details, these groundbreaking films were among the most successful of the decade. Put all these elements together and you have a thrilling action-packed adventure with quite a complex plot that builds in suspense to an exciting climax. There are electrifying sword fights and impressive athletics by Fairbanks, interesting characters like the power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu who devises various schemes to undermine the Queen. This becomes a quest for D'Artagnan and the three musketeers who gladly risk their lives for the Glory of France and the Queen's honour. "The Three Musketeers" is a perfect balance of romance, humour, action, excitement and fun. For anyone who enjoys classic movies and stories, you can't pass "The Three Musketeers", and needless to say, it belongs in any good silent film collection as well."