|The Complete Musketeers: The Three Musketeers & The Four Musketeers (1973, 74)
|Release Date:||February 4, 2003|
|Running Time:||3 hours 33 minutes|
Widescreen anamorphic and full frame formats
2 Disk Set
New Documentary: "The Saga of the Musketeers Part One & Two"
The Making "The Three Musketeers"
Poster and still galleries
Talent bios with selected filmographies
|Video Format:||Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Full frame (1.33:1 Pan and Scan) [SS-DL]
English (Dolby Digital 2.0) Mono
|Subtitles:||English for the hearing impared.
|Casing:||2-Disc Folding Collector's Case
These epic films were actually filmed to be one film. "The Three Musketeers" was to be released as a major roadshow picture with an intermission. Instead, the Salkinds (the film's producers) decided to cut the film into two films. The good news is, both films are excellent. Some fans of older film versions of the Dumas classic resented the comic elements found in this film. Those who have read the book will find that Lester's version is the closet adaptation of the book into film.
Lester's films show just how dirty and filthy life in the early 1600s was. The divide between the haves and have-nots was very wide. Both films have excellent production values: great costumes and sets. Having captured the look of 1625, Lester created some of the most memorable set pieces in swashbuckling history. In addition to the outstanding sword fights, the films boast a bawdy script and wonderful performances throughout. The innovative style Lester showed in his Beatle's films "A Hard Days Night" and "Help!" are evident in these two adventure films.
These DVD were mastered from the original vault materials. The films were lovingly restored and transferred. No artifacts were noticed. There were a couple of delineation problems. Nothing too distracting. I only noticed because I was looking hard to find them. The "tennis" scene has some problems in the shadows.
The colors are rich and well saturated. Excellent flesh tones. Nice definition of detail in the shadows for the most part. I saw both films in the theater way back when. These transfers look as good if not better than what I remember from the 70s.
These soundtracks would have been great converted to stereo. Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait. As they stand, the soundtracks are as rich and lush as a Mono track can bee. Both films are filled with audible comments by extras and crowd members. Many of these are comic gems. All the dialogue comes across crystal clear. The clangs of crossed swords are also excellent. Lalo Schifrin's core captures the epic, adventurous tone of the film. His score is blended with the dialogue and sound effects splendidly. Nice balance between the ranges. Both highs and lows are rich and full.
The menu is a colorful variation on the first film's credit sequence. Nice animation, excellent use of Schifrin's musical score. Easy to navigate. No Easter Eggs found.
This new documentary also includes behind the scenes footage of the actors practicing their sword skills. Christopher Lee provides some funny stories concerning the injuries inflicted on the cast members.
The documentary also tells the tale of the decision to release the film as two movies and the lawsuits that followed. The actors were paid for one movie, but the producers got two films out of them. Very tricky these Salkinds!
The DVD also includes a 7-minute featurette that was produced at the time of the original theatrical release. The featurette is cool for historical value. Much of what is in it is dealt with in the new documentary.
The trailers and TV spots have not been restored. You can use them to see how good the movies look. There is also a lengthy poster, publicity and still photo gallery. The collector's case folds out to four panels which are beautifully designed with photographs of the stars.
The Final Word:
This collector's edition is a must have DVD. Great films, performances, extras. Well worth the price of admission. Maybe Anchor Bay will release the third Musketeer film down the road so we can really enjoy "The Complete Musketeers."