Three Musketeers, The (1939)

“Don’t worry: no noose is good noose.”

Synopsis:
In 17th century France, D’Artagnan (Don Ameche) falls in love with a lady (Pauline Moore) in the court of King Louis XIII (Joseph Schildkraut), whose chief cardinal (Miles Mander) enlists the help of evil Milady De Winter (Binnie Barnes) and De Rochefort (Lionel Atwill) in disgracing the queen (Gloria Stuart) by stealing her emerald brooch. Will D’Artagnan’s three new musketeers (Harry Ritz, Al Ritz, and Jimmy Ritz) come to the rescue?

Genres:

Review:
Peary almost certainly lists this adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel in GFTFF given the presence of the Ritz Brothers, a comedic group described by Stuart Galbraith of DVD Talk as follows:

As for The Ritz Brothers (Al, Harry, and Jimmy), well, they’re as much an acquired taste now as they were 70 years ago. Completely forgotten today except by film buffs and old-time comics (their fans include Mel Brooks and, believe it not, Pauline Kael), the team was undeniably popular in the late-1930s and inarguably bridged the styles of film comedy that dominated the early- and mid-1930s (adapted from the stage and hangers-on from the silent era) with the slicker, faster, and streamlined comedians (Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, etc.) that would dominate the forties, but their rubber-faced mugging generally plays more silly than funny.

Frank Nugent, in his review for the New York Times, was among the group’s current-day detractors, noting, “They leave me as cold as a marinated herring and twice as limp.” With that said, Ameche is game as D’Artagnan, and nicely matched by Barnes as a sly villainess — and the entire production is well-mounted. At just over 70 minutes long, it’s tolerable but innocuous. Feel free to skip this one unless you’re curious to see the Ritz Brothers in action.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Don Ameche as D’Artagnan
  • Binnie Barnes as Milady De Winter
  • Atmospheric cinematography and sets

Must See?
No; you can skip this one.

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