IntroductionWritten by Alexandre Dumas in 1844, The Three Musketeers is classic French literature full of adventure, romance and justice. The novel was originally published in serial format in the French newspaper Le Seicle, but since has intrigued millions of readers with D’Artagnan’s story.

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Alexandre Dumas' Musketeers
The Three Musketeers tells the story of D’Artagnan, a young man desperate to become a Musketeer (the King’s royal guard) and take the oath, “all for one, and one for all” upon himself. Travelling to Paris, D’Artagnan is challenged to a dual with each of the remaining Musketeers; Athos, Porthos and Aramis. However, the dual must be rescheduled. The foursome is attacked by the Cardinal’s personal guard and forced to unite.
Cleverly constructing a plan to control France, the Cardinal works to catch the French queen in infidelity. He coaxes the King to throw a ball where the Queen will be required to wear a piece of jewelry she has actually given to her lover, the Duke of Buckingham. If the Queen is not able to produce the jewelry, she will surely be tried for treason. The three Musketeers and D’Artagnan leave to retrieve the jewelry from England.

Upon learning of their plans, the Cardinal recruits Milady De Winter, Athos’ ex-wife to kill Buckingham and grants her a pardon for the future killing of D'Artagnan. Athos, unable to sends word to Lord de Winter that Milady is arriving to kill D-Artagnan then takes pleasure as Lord de Winter arrests her on suspicion of killing Count de Winter, his brother.

But the arrest is not enough. Seducing her guard, Milady convinces them to assassinate Lord Buckingham, and then escapes to the monastery in France where the Queen has hidden Constance for her own safety. She kills D’Artagnan’s love and the four companions of the novel arrive. Athos identifies Milady as a murderer and watches as she is tried and beheaded.

D'Artagnan is then arrested and taken before the Cardinal. Telling the events of their journey, he reveals the Cardinal's pardon taken from Milady and is offered a blank musketeer officer's commission in return.

Major Character Profiles


Aramis loves and intrigues women. He is ambitious and unsatisfied: as a musketeer, he yearns to become an abbé; but when an abbé, he wishes for the life of the soldier. In the books it is revealed he became a musketeer because of a woman and his arrogance. Aramis seems to be lucky, but it is only a result of his Machiavellian plans and his audacity. Despite his Machiavellian attitude, Aramis holds very firmly to the sacred concept of friendship.

Athos has a mysterious past connecting him with the villainess of the novel, Milady de Winter. The oldest by some years, Athos is a father figure to the other musketeers. He is described as noble and handsome but also very secretive, drowning his secret sorrows in drink. He is very protective of D'Artagnan, the youngest, whom he regards as a son. By the end of the novel, it is revealed that he is the Comte de la Fère, who was Milady's husband before she married the Baron de Winter.The fictional Athos is named after the historical musketeer Armand de Sillègue d'Athos d'Autevielle (1615-1644), though they don't actually have much in common apart from the name.

Porthos carries a sword that Aramis nicknamed Balizarde. He is honest and slightly gullible, is the extrovert of the group, enjoying wine, women and song. Though he is often seen as the comic relief, he is also extremely dedicated and loyal toward his friends and fellow Musketeers. His eating abilities even impress King Louis XIV during a banquet at Versailles. The fictional Porthos is very loosely based on the historical musketeer Isaac de Porthau.

D'Artagnan is initially portrayed by Dumas as a hotheaded youth, and tries to engage the Comte de Rochefort and the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in single combat. He quickly becomes friends with the musketeers, and has a series of adventures which put him at odds with Cardinal Richelieu, then First Minister of France. In the end, Richelieu is impressed by d'Artagnan, and makes him a Lieutenant of the Musketeers. This begins his long career of military service, as detailed in the sequels to Dumas' famous novel. D'Artagnan's role among the Musketeers is one of leadership (his skills and brains impress the musketeers greatly), but he is also regarded as a sort of protégé given his youth and inexperience. The musketeers (especially Athos) see him not only as a best friend and fellow musketeer (despite his initial job as a guard) but as a son. They are very protective of him, though they usually let him take care of himself like the others.


Adaptations into Film


There are over twenty-two adaptations of The Three Musketeers into film, beginning with a 1903 French production of which there is virtually nothing known and ending (thus far) with Paul W.S. Anderson’s adaptation in 2011.
Spanish, Russian, French and American adaptations have all made appearances as well as comedic and animated versions. Popular adaptations in the last twenty years include a 1993 version and Paul W.S. Anderson's newest addition in 2011.

1993

A Disney production starring Charlie Sheen, Keifer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt and Tim Curry.
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Possibly the closest adaptation of Dumas’ original work, this adaptation keeps the spirit of the novel with focus on the four main characters and their motivations for seeking justice despite having a slightly different plotline.


Janet Maslin of the New York Times described the movie as "Conceived frankly as a product, complete with hit-to-be theme song over the closing credits, this adventure film cares less about storytelling than about keeping the Musketeers' feathered hats on straight whenever they go galloping."


The film generally received a lukewarm reception. The Rotten Tomatoes website gives only a 30% rating. Chris O'Donnell was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award as Worst Supporting Actor for his work in the film.


The film grossed $11.5 million for the Friday to Sunday weekend, placing it at number 1 at the box office in 1993.


2011

A 3D version of the film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson starring Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich and Matthew Macfadyen.
Focusing on props and special effects, this adaptation lacks the spirit of both Dumas’ original story and the 1993 version. Character growth, plotline and mystery all seem to be sacrificed in order to shove as many “steampunk” devices and stunts into the film as possible.



Sources

"Reviews/ Film; Once More Into the Fray For Athos, Porthos et al.". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE1DB103FF931A25752C1A965958260. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

"Box office: 'The Three Musketeers' draws $11.5 million, while Al Pacino's mobster has his 'Way' for $9.3 million.". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-11-15/entertainment/ca-57199_1_box-office. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

"Saber Prattling". Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-11-12/entertainment/9311120325_1_d-artagnan-leer-cast. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

"The Three Musketeers". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308718,00.html. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

"Swords Duel //Carlito// : Box office: //The Three Musketeers// draws $1.5 million, while Al Pacino's mobster has his "Way" for $9.3 million.". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-11-15/entertainment/ca-57199_1_box-office. Retrieved 2011-11-10.




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