“One for all and all for one.”
As a child I was captivated by the French writer Alexandre Dumas 1844 novel, The Three Musketeers. Dumas was the Stan Lee of his time, creating the first youthful super heroes, Aramis, Porthos, Athos, and their protege D’Artagnan. The only difference is, Musketeers actually did exist and Dumas based his characters on some of the most famous of Musketeers.
Anything I could find to read or watch about the Musketeers was on my radar. Mostly because they were excellent equestrians and fencers, two of my favorite combinations, and all Musketeer entertainment had plenty of those two activities.
My late great uncle was an Olympic fencer. I never had the honor of meeting him, but I like to imagine his passion and talent for fencing was passed on to me. I was fortunate to attend a high school that offered beginning fencing, and this was my first hands-on introduction to this 14th century sport. It’s amazing how much fencing requires a great deal of mental and physical stamina, balance and fast reflexes. I took to this sport quickly, learning all the common moves and French words for them such as, Advance Lunge, Assault, Extension, Flick, Touché and the most famous En-garde.
Most are introduced to fencing through Hollywood movies. There have been numerous movies about the Musketeers dating as far back as the 1921 silent film adaptation starring Douglas Fairbanks. The first movie I remember watching about the Musketeers was on TV in the 1960s, and was the 1948 movie with Gene Kelly. It’s still one of my favorites because it not only had fencing and horses, but as an extra bonus it had Gene Kelly performing ballet type moves while fencing.
In the 1970s the studios came out with a Raquel Welch and Michael York Musketeer version, which wasn’t one of my favorites. As a little trivia note, this movie was originally proposed in the 1960s as a vehicle for The Beatles.
Disney released their Musketeer movie adaptation in 1993 starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt and Chris O’Donnell. This became my favorite version of all time, until now.
A few weeks back, I discovered on Amazon Prime a 2014 BBC Musketeer series. This exceptional rendition of the swashbuckling Musketeers is now one of my top go to TV series. The acting, costumes, romantic locations, storylines and cinematography is awe inspiring. If you’re looking for some great entertainment to fill your evenings, I highly recommend this series. It certainly is fulfilling my Musketeer mania.