Every generation gets the cinematic version of The Three Musketeers that it deserves. (An aside: The “every generation/deserves” paraphrase has been used so often, according to Google, that I should feel vaguely ashamed of myself.) Mine got Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and the guy-that-nobody remembers playing Porthos. Also Charlton Heston as Richelieu, Faye Dunaway as Milady, and Raquel Welch as Constance. Plus, Geraldine Chaplin and the actor from Young Winston. Simon Ward?
Insomnia gave me a chance to catch up with my generation’s musketeers early this morning. I winced at parts — it is sillier than I recalled, with an ananchronistic ribaldry and too much slapstick, and Raquel Welch is beyond miscast. But Michael York and Oliver Reed were, I think, rather perfect. Can a generation that knows Michael York as a) Basil Exposition and b) Larry David’s partner in the restaurant business, begin to see how appealing he was, once upona time, with that broken nose? Okay, truthfully, I can name only three movies he was in — Three Musketeers (and its semi-sequel, Four Musketeers); Caberet; and Logan’s Run, which I count as one guilty pleasure, one genuine pleasure and one camp pleasure. Yes, I’m keeping it to three, because there was supposed to be only one Musketeer film, but it became so unwieldy it was chopped in two, which explains the rather unfinished feeling to the first one. Also, it explains how the trailer for the next one could be tacked to the end credits for this one.
Still, I’ve seen the Gene Kelly and June Allyson version, and I’d rather watch The Dancing Cavalier*. And I’ve seen the — forgive me, I was taking some preteen girls to the movies, it was not my idea — the one with Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and what’s-his-name from Scent of a Woman, and I don’t think it’s generational loyalty to say however much my Three Musketeers may blow, this one really blows. (An aside: I also loved the television version of The Man in the Iron Mask.)
Who will star in the next Three Musketeers? What other classic works keep getting reworked, and what are the results? (James Bond comes to mind, and Great Expectations, but there must be more.) What beloved movie from your teens would cheer you up in an insomniac funk? FWIW, I’d love to see Young Winston again.
*And if you don’t know The Dancing Cavalier, please brush up, as there’s a joke in the next Tess novel that rather depends on it.
Yes, this is the old TMP, free of tour bloggage, although I’ll note that WTDK has remained on the Booksense list, hanging in at #13. Also, now that I am home and writing again – 5,400 words in two days – I have time to become obsessed with new websites such as <a href=” http://icanhascheezburger.com/2007/04/24/halp-5/”>this</a>.