When the French king Louis XIV learns that his twin brother, Philippe, could usurp his crown, he sets out to imprison him in the Bastille prison but four loyal musketeers are protecting Philippe.
King Louis XIV has without his knowledge a twin brother, Philippe, but when he is told, he immediately locks up his brother in the Bastille. The king wants to increase his popularity and stages an assassination against himself where Philippe is dressed as king Louis. But Philippe manages to escape the assassination and everybody believes him to be the real king...
It's strange that THE FIFTH MUSKETEER leaves me with the impression that it's hardly worth watching despite a stellar cast and some gorgeous Austrian scenery. BEAU BRIDGES (in a dual role as a commoner and Louis XIV) does a competent but bland job in the film's major role, while assorted guest stars fill the supporting cast with some name value. One of the guest stars is OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND who might just as well have phoned in her role. She has about three minutes of screen time, at the most.
None of the main roles are really fleshed out and the plot is a muddled mess. JOSE FERRER, CORNEL WILDE, ALAN HALE, JR. and LLOYD BRIDGES are competent enough as the four musketeers while REX HARRISON and HELMUT DANTINE merely add some name recognition to the cast, as does de Havilland in her tiny role as Queen Anne (about whom little is explained).
It's a retread of familiar material done much better in the past, territory that would be revisited in the future with even more dash and vigor. A sleep inducing film that probably only gets male attention because URSULA ANDRESS and SYLVIA KRISTEL provide some feminine pulchritude in provocative period costumes.
The most unforgivable aspect are the fight scenes of the swashbuckling kind but badly choreographed duels, unlike the sort of thing done so splendidly in the Flynn epics. The blades flash without much flourish.
Summing up: Totally uninspired piece of work notable only for some lavish costumes and good location photography in Austria. Reviewer suchenwi, I'm with you. I liked this film back when it first came out, and I still like it. And the most basic reason is that it is great fun. In fact, when you think about it, all the various filmed depictions of musketeers are just made for that very reason...just to have a little fun.
The film has a good cast. I've always liked Beau Bridges, and thought him to be a more enjoyable actor than his brother; however, his performance here (as Louis XIV / Philippe of Gascony) in certain scenes seems just a tad hyper. Rex Harrison, as political plotter Colbert is very good, and I can actually hear him here (I once saw him in a play at the Kennedy Center, and though we sat 5th row middle, we couldn't hear his mumbling, as was pointed out by the review the next morning in the "Washington Post"). Sylvia Kristel (most famous for her roles as Emmanuelle) is quite attractive, but it difficult to say if she was a good actress as Princess Maria Theresa since all her dialog was dubbed by another actress! Ursula Andress was around...as the king's high class whore...and her acting was as good as always...which isn't saying much. The 4 Musketeers are played by Cornel Wilde, Alan Hale, Jr., Jose Ferrer Lloyd Bridges, and they all did very nicely, and it was good seeing them in these roles. Ian McShane played the bad guy...and did well at it (he seems to have a talent for such roles). Olivia deHavilland is here briefly as the King's Mother; a small role, and her final before retiring.
With some variations, this is "The Man In The Iron Mask". It's a good story and great fun. It was filmed in Austria, and is beautifully done. (Trivia -- the Musketeers made a cameo appearance on Perry Como's Christmas special that year, which was also being filmed in Austria).
Is this the finest version of this general story? Probably not. But I enjoyed it. You probably will, too. 7cb1d79195
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