38 thoughts on “The Three Musketeers & The Four Musketeers (1974)

  1. They inspired me and my wife for 10 years of 17th-century reenactment. Our wedding was done in the period, made entirely by us — mostly her– and well worth the year it took to do it. As for Milady’s mysterious cap, it is based on the ‘montero,’ a Spanish mountaineer’s cap often worn by soldiers. At the time, we had many written references, but no pictures. Today, you can get one from any number of English Civil Wars suppliers.

  2. Love love love! These movies inspired my husband and me to plan musketeer-era costumes for our wedding too. Then we took up 17th-century reenacting, not coincidentally with the McQuowns although they were in Philadelphia and we’re in Columbus. (Hello Michael!) The Three/Four Musketeers are still some of my all-time favorite movies.

    I’ll second Michael that Milady’s cap is based on a montero. In some esoteric hat book, decades ago, I read that this was also referred to in France as a boukincan, in honor of le Duc de Boukincan, as the Duke of Buckingham was referred to in France. Very appropriate.

  3. It ages me, but I saw them both in the theater and loved them. They inspired me to read the books and also were perhaps my first costume film. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Not only do I love them for themselves, but I especially love them because Three Musketeers was the first date that my husband and I went on. We’re hardcore Hundred Years War re-enactors now, but for a while there it was touch and go.

  5. A thousand times ouí. Would you mind sharing some details about the technical errors in Ms. Welch’s costumes? I agree that they’re wrong, but I’m not fully qualified to explain why; please, lecture me like I don’t know anything. :)

  6. Wow, I love Geraldine Chaplin’s hair! It looks just like all those Van Dyck portraits of Henrietta Maria. Like her costumes, Raquel Welch’s hair looks less period-appropriate than the other women’s hair in the film. The volume on the crown seems wrong.

  7. 1) I hate every production of the Three Musketeers — the story bores the ever-lovin’ crap out of me. It’s the original bromance to end all bromances.

    2) I freakin’ love the costumes in this production, especially the wacked-out headgear. I slogged thru this movie, mostly on fast-forward, just to see the pretty pretty costumes. Thanks, Sarah, for collecting them here so I can admire them again w/out having to deal with the mind-numbing so-called plot :)

  8. These have always topped the list of My Favorite Movies. I saw them, reveled in every part and aspect of them, at least 2 dozen times in the theater. Of course, that was when you could see the early show and just stay in your seat to see the next showing… So maybe only 15 trips to the theater. I am going to try to find them to watch tonight with everyone who wants to come over and watch!

  9. These movies ruined my life. They started me down the path of 27th c. reeanacting. I could have had a nice normal life. Still the best versions of the story. Say what you will about Raquel Welch, it was her clout the settled the dispute between the actors and studio over the second movie and allowed its realease.

    1. Yeah, but being ditzy is. Her character was rewritten to make her more of an airhead than the way Dumas originally envisioned her. The added pratfalls were to accentuate this.

  10. So MS Welch says. In fact, the decision to divide the film into two came from the producers. It was that or cut it back to one really bad film with a lot of gaps.
    As some of you may know, there was a third film, “The Return of the Musketeers” with Kim Cattrall playing Milady’s daughter, out for revenge. (People tend to forget she’s a Brit.) It wasn’t as good over all as the the first two, but it did cover some of the plot of “Twenty Years After.” There are a surprising number of other films based loosely of the Dumas work and all have their moments, but 3M/4M still stands as the best.

    1. Yes the producers decided to cut the film in two after the actors were shot and paid for one film. They didn’t discover the split It until the premiere of the Three Musketeers when they saw the trailer for the Four Musketeers. They immediately sued the Salkinds and stopped the release of the Four Musketeers. There was an impasse until Ms. Welch convinced the Salkinds to pay the actors at least something for the second movie. I heard that confirmed by Michael York and Charleton Heston (who makes the best Richelleau ever).

  11. I have fond memories of watching these films as a child and again as a young adult. They pretty much set the bar for what period films CAN be if people give a damn.

  12. For me, the only glaring goofs involved period firearms. In the coach scene, Milady’s muff pistol is a percussion cap Philadelpia Deringer of the type that killed Lincoln, a technology that would not exist for another 150 years. Sadly, there are several examples here in the art museum of wheellock pistols small enough to be easily concealed in a muff. The second goof was in the scene where Athos threatens Milady by spanning his wheellock 4 turns. Since it takes only a quarter-turn to span, or wind, the mechanism, he would have destroyed it. The wheellock was the state-of-the-art firearm of the time, but had several moving parts and was expensive to make. Add to that the fact that the mechanism was spanned, or wound, with a separate wrench called a spanner, which could easily get lost, and you can see the problem, especially in the heat of battle.

    1. “Milady’s Muff Pistol” is so totally the name of my all girl, neo-punk garage band.

      (Or my scandalous tell-all autobiography)

  13. I have always adored these movies – they’re in my personal opt 10 – and the costumes are some of the most wonderful:as you said, almost alien and incredibly beautiful. I wanted Milady’s fabulous gowns so much for years….

  14. Sarah V — a lady’s muff is always a dangerous weapon.
    Someone else had commented on the darts in a falling band in one of the pictures — it took us a very long time to work out the placement to guarantee a smooth lie.

  15. I want to know why the peasants and villagers costumes didn’t matter. This was Paris. It was habit at that time for the households to hand down used clothing to their servants and yes the expensive embellishments were usually sold but not the basic clothing. Also the merchant class, while not up to royal or noble status, would have been above peasant or servant clothing. Yet in every scene ever the entire crowd is in the same peasant clothing, a chemise, a skirt and corset or cheep top and usually an apron, possibly add mop cap. Every movie from time began to the 1900’s it’s the same. Every re-fair every re-enactment the same, noble then peasant. Why?

    1. Lisa — probably mostly budget constraints. On the other hand., merchants often could afford to dress better than the aristocracy, often in violation of sumptuary laws which, by the 17th century were almost totally ignored. So some of those folk in rich clothes might well be merchants.

  16. As soon as I saw Milady’s weird headgear, I went looking for images of Montero caps. We used to call them Donald Duck caps because all they needed was a tongue — looked like an open duck’s bill. Of course, at one 17th century event, a Montero with a bright yellow tongue showed up. As for Raquel Welch’s costumes, yes, they weren’t as authentic as they should have been, but frankly, they weren’t as egregious as many I’ve seen. At least they “looked period.” I was a member of McQuown’s wedding party back in the day and I still have and still love the gown I made for it. It’s the best thing I ever made. And I did look like a burst cushion — a very elegant burst cushion.

    Still the best version of 3M I’ve seen to date.

  17. These movies were my gateway drug into historical and costume flicks. I had watched Liz R and 6 Wives and enjoyed them, but seeing these on a big screen just blew my impressionable 10 year old mind. I fell in love with Oliver Reed and still have a weakness for brooding, dark men.

  18. I laughed out loud when you said Simon Ward was your boyfriend- I loved him in this, too! Great fun, enjoy the heck out of this site!

  19. I thought the casting of Charlton Heston as Richelieu was spot-on; they needed an actor who could believably intimidate Christopher Lee as Rochefort, and Heston nailed it (Lee was marvelous, as usual). Loved the rest of the two movies, except for the characterization of Constance.

  20. I’m just curious, was the scooped bust on some of Milady’s costumes (like the silver dress in the silver ball scene) historically accurate? I’ve honestly never seen anything like it in any paintings I’ve seen from that period.

  21. Timing! I just watched M3 again last week and wondered if FF had ever reviewed it. Like a couple of others commenting here, I saw them when they came out. The most fun I’ve ever had at the movies! Hilarious, AND a feast for the eyes.
    The costumes are breathtaking–those silver gowns, the black stays, that petal collar… Ms. Dunaway and Ms. Chaplin are exquisite (plus Messers. Chamberlain, Ward and York are at their prettiest!). As for Raquel–well, she made Constance rather endearing, and she may have made the right call on her bustlines. As it was, her bosoms should have had their own credit.

    This gives me hope that you have also reviewed 1968’s Romeo and Juliet along the way. The Renaissance is much more my thing. I was absolutely entranced–costumes, settings, music, actors. And Shakespeare, lite!

  22. These (Three and Four) are my favorite costume movie of all time- as it is for many people in the costume industry. Thank you for this detailed and exhaustive look at all the clothing. And I especially appreciate your assessment of Raquel’s anachronistic costumes and the reasons why.

  23. I love love love them so much! I must have seen each about 20 times during the initial run. (I got the theatre manager to give me the poster!) And then I’d run home and research and sketch. I even made little paper “dolls”. I was so obsessed. (That black gown of Anne of Austria’s with the petal ruff, is from a portrait of her by Rembrandt, IIRC.) I also loved the Michel LeGrand score from the Three. Listened to the soundtrack constantly, trying to teach myself all the songs on my flute.

    There is not a single frame of either film that I do not love and cherish. (And if my mum were still around, you’d have to fight her for Simon Ward.)

  24. P.S. Many of those costumes were reused a few years later, for a TV movie of “The Man in the Iron Mask” with Richard Chamberlain and Jenny Agutter, and filmed at Vaux-le-Vicomte.

  25. Oh Laura, I totally understand that kind of movie mania. I did that poster thing once, too. Much as I loved 3M and 4M, my obsession was Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet when I was 17, swooning over Michael York. I had a passing resemblance to Olivia Hussey, so I ditched the bangs and let my hair grow till I could sit on it. Kids today have no idea how we suffered, having to wait an interminable five years for a re-release. And there was no IMDB for instantaneous reference to all the film facts. Resources were scarce and inadequate.
    Can’t believe I missed that Man in the Iron Mask but I have no recollection. IMDB will fill in the blanks. I do remember the elegant Mr. Chamberlain in The Count of Monte Cristo, also a TV movie..

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