Three Three Muskateers (Silent) (1921/2016)

The first Three Muskateers film, starring Doug Fairbanks in 1921!

Three Three Muskateers (1921/2016)

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Adolphe Menjou, Mary MacLarn, Nigel De Brulier
Director: Fred Niblo
Writer: Alexandre Dumas
Studio: Verdoux-vision/ Synergy Ent./ Undercrank Productions/ Silent Cinema Presentations Inc. 2016
Restoration: Karl Malkames
New theater organ score: Ben Model
Video: 4:3 B&W, tinted
Audio: stereo PCM
Length: 119 min.
Rating: ****

This is the 95th anniversary remastering of the original Douglas Fairbanks film, and a very good job they have done. The success of The Mark of Zorro in 1920 gave Fairbanks the impetus to create his own production, set in France hundreds of years ago, with lavish sets, a large cast and magnificent costumes. The swashbuckling Fairbanks found his place as a celebrity and creator of fine films with this one.

D’Artagnan turned out to be a role Fairbanks was born to play. He looked to the exuberant Gascon young man as his ideal screen self, and this was a sort of a career leap to the sort of action film which is popular today. Fairbanks showed bravery, arrogance and a fine touch of humor thruout the film. He was also a fine athlete who did his own stunts. Adolphe Menjou is also wonderful as the odious Cardinal Richelieu. D’Artagnan and the three musketeers gladly risk their lives for the Glory of France and the honor of the Queen. Fairbanks generally avoided the scenery-chewing ham found in many of his films and some of this stunts are impressive even today. The film had huge reverberations upon the life and career of Douglas Fairbanks, and still stands up well – even though numerous more recent versions have been made in the years since. He even played a similar role in his farewell to the silent era, his 1929 The Iron Mask. But some reviewers think Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad is even better.

—John Sunier

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