Quentin Tarantino has always loved Richard Lesters' The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers (1974). The Musketeer movie was made as one but released in two volumes in the early 1970s, a notion Tarantino popularised with Kill Bill. They included swaggering machismo performances from Oliver Reed and Faye Dunaway, which have long enthralled Tarantino.
One of Tarantino's few cinematic fears is also a result of his enthusiasm for the Lesters Musketeer duology: The Return of the Musketeers in 1989.
Tarantino and Roger Avary discussed their podcast, The Video Archives, on the Unspooled podcast. Tarantino said he saw The Return of the Musketeers prepare for Unspooled.
The only reason I am worried about this one film is that it is one of the few films I am afraid to watch because I love these two so much.
The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers were intended to be two films, but producers Alexander, Ilya, and Michael Salkind had other ideas.
Both movies are based on the 1844 book Les Trois Mousquetaires by Tarantino. However, his comic and cynical perspective distorts the book's narrative.
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What more did Quentin Tarantino reveal about the films?
Tarantino referred to the book as an auteur work. He tells the tale, but not from Dumas' viewpoint. He mocks the characters. But I guess it's from the 1970s cynicism Lester reveals that both the Musketeers and the Richelieus guards are idiots, marionettes dancing to the tune of a villain or clown.
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With blazing performances from Reed and Dunaway and an underplayed Charlton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu, both films were box office smash hits, and Raquel Welch won a Golden Globe for the first one.
Lester produced The Return of the Musketeers in 1989. Despite his success on Superman II, Lesters' efforts on Superman III and subsequent attempts were less well received.
Dumas has created several sequels to The Three Musketeers, including Twenty Years Later and The Man in the Iron Mask, but Lester was less sure about continuing the plot. Hes been attempting to rekindle the glory of 89 for four years.
The Four Musketeers was not an official sequel to Dumas' book Twenty Years Later because it was shot without the Salkinds (who refused to allow Lester to use material from the 70s movies). It was a less swagger. Roy Kinnear, a longtime Lester partner, died of a heart attack while filming The Return of the Musketeers in a horse riding accident. Lester later confessed the tragedy caused him to withdraw from the film.
Avary, who co-wrote Pulp Fiction with Tarantino, believes a sequel to The Four Musketeers would have been different. If the film had been created in 1975 and published, there are reasons, then it would be the second book. It has to be done immediately.
Tarantino agrees, but believes 1983 was a better time to revisit the well than 1989. Today, legacy sequels are a must-see novelty, but 30 years ago, spectators saw decreasing returns and despair in such endeavors, which were not dispelled by The Return of the Musketeers.