November 15, 1993 -- When I heard Hollywood was going to do another remake of ``The Three Musketeers,'' I wondered why, but then again it seems Hollywood will go to any lengths to avoid an original script.
The 1974 British remake with Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed and Michael York is pretty hard to beat. It was followed by a sequel (shot simultaneously), ``The Four Musketeers,'' the sixth major studio production based on the Dumas story.
It turns out that the 1993 version of ``The Three Musketeers'' is pretty good, but not in the same league as that exceptional 1974 version mentioned above. This year's version is sort of a ``young guns with swords'' story with Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen Chris O'Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry and Rebecca De Mornay.
Curry, as the Cardinal Richelieu, steals the show with his oily evil act. De Mornay is also good as a woman once scorned who is settling a score with all males.
There are some good stunts and some funny sight gags in the film. The actors are all adequate. The story moves a little slowly at times and the film takes itself a little too seriously to be a great deal of fun.
The film rates a C+. If you want to save some money and see a better film, rent the 1974 version of the same movie. It is better. Better still (if you can find them) rent a couple of really top-quality swashbucklers, ``The Crimson Prirate'' and ``The Flame and the Arrow.'' These films, made in 1950 and 1952, both starred Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat, a couple of acrobatic stars who did their own stunts, and what wonderful stunts they did. There is a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor in both films. The first film, ``The Crimson Pirate'' is the best swashbuckler I have ever seen. I highly recommend both films to anyone who wants to see what Hollywood used to be able to produce with original scripts and stories.
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