In his 2008 biography on silent screen icon Douglas Fairbanks, author Jeffery Vance notes about The Three Musketeers (1921): “The story’s D’Artagnan was a role Fairbanks was born to play. He had an emotional connection to the character—it was his touchstone; he looked to the exuberant Gascon youth as his ideal screen self (so much so that he would revisit the character for his silent screen valedictory, The Iron Mask). The importance of Fairbanks’ The Three Musketeers lies in the fact that it was his career leap to the kind of action film popular today.”
the Mythical Monkey once joked: “The Monkey has spent most of the summer reading the collected works of Alexandre Dumas—or, more accurately, The Three Musketeers which is long enough to feel like the collected works of Alexandre Dumas…”) it’s so ingrained in popular culture that even as kids we were pretending to have swordfights with sticks with very little knowledge of what was in the damn novel. (My mom always insisted we fight with discarded cardboard wrapping paper rolls…less chance of putting an eye out that way.)
YouTube. But you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you watched it this way (in fact, do not click on that YouTube link—I forbid it!) rather than checking out the new DVD release from Undercrank Productions (in tandem with verdoux-vision), which came out in December of last year. It’s been digitally restored (by Marcus Johnson, from the original restoration by Karl Malkames and a transfer by Helge Bernhardt) and best of all, it’s supplemented with an original theatre organ score by the hardest working accompanist in the silent movie business, Ben Model. (Ben co-produced the disc with fellow Facebook compadre Bruce Lawton.)
Amazon.com; I bought a copy about a week before its official date of release (I was gifted with a discount coupon due to my past support for Ben’s releases), and that Friday following its release (December 13), I checked the USPS website and learned that it was waiting for me in the mailbox outside Rancho Yesteryear. I mosey down to the box…and it’s not there. The official ETA was 3:09pm; I was out at the box ten minutes later, and it vaporized. Surely someone couldn’t have done their Christmas robbing that early.
Though I initially suspected that my arch enemy Smock Lady was up to her old tricks (Andrew “Grover” Leal told me via Facebook that he’s convinced she’s branched out to his neck of the woods), the DVD eventually arrived the following Tuesday (I asked Becky, our postal person, how something like this could happen—she was just as perplexed as I was). I had a Plan B as backup, by the way; I have the Kino version that I bought during one of their $9.95 sales (clearly, I have no will power). A quick glance at the Kino site turned up no mention of their disc, so I would unhesitatingly recommend you invest in Undercrank’s release; Model’s score is magnifique (don’t be surprised if you find yourself speaking a lot of French, Tish, after you’ve watched this one).