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The Return of the Musketeers (1989)

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In France in 1649, the services of the Four Musketeers are needed again, and they run into some old foes from twenty years before.

Director:

Richard Lester

Writers:

George MacDonald Fraser (screenplay) (as George Macdonald Fraser), Alexandre Dumas (book)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael York ... D'Artagnan
Oliver Reed ... Athos
Frank Finlay ... Porthos
C. Thomas Howell ... Raoul
Kim Cattrall ... Justine de Winter
Geraldine Chaplin ... Queen Anne
Roy Kinnear ... Planchet
Christopher Lee ... Rochefort
Philippe Noiret ... Cardinal Mazarin
Richard Chamberlain ... Aramis
Eusebio Lázaro Eusebio Lázaro ... Duke of Beaufort (as Eusebio Lazaro)
Alan Howard ... Oliver Cromwell
David Birkin David Birkin ... Louis XIV
Bill Paterson ... Charles I
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Cyrano de Bergerac (as Jean Pierre Cassel)
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Storyline

It's 1649: Mazarin hires the impoverished D'Artagnan to find the other musketeers: Cromwell has overthrown the English king, so Mazarin fears revolt, particularly from the popular Beaufort. Porthos, bored with riches and wanting a title, signs on, but Aramis, an abbé, and Athos, a brawler raising an intellectual son, assist Beaufort in secret. When they fail to halt Beaufort's escape from prison, the musketeers are expendable, and Mazarin sends them to London to rescue Charles I. They are also pursued by Justine, the avenging daughter of Milady de Winter, their enemy 20 years ago. They must escape England, avoid Justine, serve the Queen, and secure Beauford's political reforms. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Swashbuckling action, comedy capers and rollicking adventures, bigger and better than ever. They're back... all for one and one for all!


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Spain

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1989 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Volta dos Mosqueteiros See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Chamberlain quit this movie because he was angry at the producers lack of reaction over the death of Roy Kinnear. This is why Chamberlain's role is so brief in the final cut. The producers had previously refused Kinnear a stunt double for his riding scenes. See more »

Goofs

In a scene in Justine's bedroom, a truck can be seen trundling across the road outside of her window. See more »

Quotes

Justine de Winter: King Charles' death is inevitable, and France must not interfere. General Cromwell insists.
Cardinal Mazarin: Roundhead diplomacy. Does he think he can cut off a crowned head, even an English one, and royal France will stand by doing nothing?
Justine de Winter: What will France do?
Cardinal Mazarin: Stand by... protesting.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The (2009) French DVD edition differs from the earlier UK VHS (and cinema) version. Both Philip Noiret and Jean Pierre Cassel had their voices re-dubbed in the VHS version, but here - on the English language option - their own voices are heard in English. Also several scenes are cut including the scene where D'Artangan gets his assignment from Mazarin to look up his old friends The Three Musketeers and the later scene where King Charles I is playing golf while being arrested by Oliver Cromwell's forces (likewise Michael York's narration of these scenes have been omitted). See more »

Connections

Version of The Fifth Musketeer (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE RETURN OF THE MUSKETEERS (Richard Lester, 1989) **1/2
15 April 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

To be honest, though I have not watched them in ages, I am not quite as much a fan of Richard Lester's revisionist version(s) of Alexandre Dumas' swashbuckling saga as I would like (being more partial to the 1948 version which is the one I grew up with); with this in mind, I did not actively seek out to catch up with the belated third entry, neither when it opened in local theaters nor on its sporadic Italian TV appearances! That said, having purchased Anchor Bay's SE DVD set of the 1973/4 adaptations regardless, I also made it a point to finally acquire the film under review…and, though I have been wanting to check it out for the longest time, only got to it now jointly in tribute to James Whale (by way of his definitive 1939 version of THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK) and as part of my current Easter epic marathon!

To cut a long story short, I quite enjoyed the film (though the comedy is still very much frenzied and hit-and-miss in the traditional Lester style) – which had been thoroughly ignored at the time, another reason I was in no special hurry to watch it. Of course, Lester re-acquired the services of most of the principals save, obviously, for the ones who had expired or been replaced (Faye Dunaway and Charlton Heston respectively: amusingly, when the latter wished there was some way to bring Cardinal Richelieu back, the director obliged by having a portrait of him in character hung up in his replacement Mazarin's office throughout the film and which he later donated to the actor!). Still, Jean-Pierre Cassel exchanges roles from the French royal to that of nasally-deformed poet/buffoon Cyrano De Bergerac; incidentally, he had previously 'met' this other popular literary figure – reincarnated by Jose' Ferrer after his 1950 Oscar win! – when himself playing the Musketeer D'Artagnan in an obscure but worthwhile 1963 film by Abel Gance!

The new recruits, however, also proved surprisingly effective: Philip Noiret as Cardinal Mazarin, Prime Minister and Regent in lieu of the child King Louis XIV (though his openly carrying on a relationship with Geraldine Chaplin's Queen Mother is rather in poor taste!); C. Thomas Howell as the adopted son of Oliver Reed's Athos (the sole link to Dumas' "Le Vicomte De Bragellone" aka "The Man In The Iron Mask" – whereas the rest is an adaptation of "Twenty Years After", already solidly brought to the screen in 1952 as AT SWORD'S POINT); and Kim Cattrall as the true villainess of the piece (inevitably, we had to have one here as well), memorably introduced as an axe-wielding monk(!) catching up with the executioner who had beheaded her mother, Milady De Winter – born out of the latter's relationship with Rochefort (played once again by Christopher Lee, despite his vociferous protests over the years of having been paid for the previous outings on a two-films-for-the-price-of-one basis!) and whom she detests and humiliates for having abandoned her.

The plot finds Michael York's D'Artagnan still struggling for a court position, Oliver Reed's Athos typically raising hell under the influence (as befits the actor who passed away in Malta 10 years later during the filming of GLADIATOR {2000} following yet another massive binge in a local bar that was subsequently renamed "Ollie's Pub"!!) – however, whenever he chooses to flex his serious acting muscles, he is as commanding as any thespian, Frank Finlay as an inertly-wealthy Porthos, while Richard Chamberlain's Aramis is now confessor to Chaplin and, though relegated to a "Special Appearance" credit, he does get a reasonably meaty role as a womanizing cleric! Also on hand is Roy Kinnear as an amiably impish Planchet: unfortunately, he would himself die when thrown off a horse while shooting this, an unfortunate accident which led the director to give up film-making altogether (without wishing to pass judgment on him, this decision is in stark contrast to John Landis' essentially unruffled reaction at the even more tragic death of Vic Morrow while TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE {1983} was being made!).

Anyway, the narrative here incorporates the taking of power from British King Charles I (Chaplin's character's brother) by Oliver Cromwell – in cahoots with Mazarin and Justine De Winter! The Queen Mother dispatches the Musketeers to save him, but they hilariously fail since, having kidnapped the executioner and hiding under the gallows ostensibly to strike at the opportune moment, Cattrall deals the deadly blow herself unheralded! Earlier, the quartet of swordsmen also had found their loyalties divided when D'Artagnan and Porthos opt to serve the Cardinal, while Athos and Aramis take the side of a rather fey Duke (while escaping the unaccountably bumbling Rochefort's clutches – the latter even expires comically in an explosion aboard ship!) which an opposing faction supports. The swordplay is reasonably vigorous (despite the Musketeers showing their age), with Justine often taking them – and Howell – on all at once; her athletic exit, then, rips off Rupert Of Hentzau's from "The Prisoner Of Zenda"! In the end, the film (that, watched on a 40" screen, occasionally exhibited smudgy visuals) essentially marks the transition between the classical era of adventure films to the youth-oriented pictures prevalent today.


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