A 1978 Soviet miniseries, one of many, many adaptations of the Alexandre Dumas
novel The Three Musketeers
. This particular version, however, is the most well-known and definitely the most iconic in the former Soviet Union. Executed as a low-budget semi-musical, with most of its songs becoming national classics, it consists of three episodes making 220 minutes in length in total — a common practice in the country at that time.
The four lead actors — Mikhail Boyarsky as d'Artagnan, Veniamin Smekhov as Athos, Valentin Smirnitsky as Porthos and Igor Starygin as Aramis — became famous overnight in the Union after the movie's release, and "playing musketeers" quickly became one of the favorite pastimes of Soviet kids. They remained good friends after the filming, and were so enthusiastic about the project that they often assumed their character identities even off stage — for example, when heading out to local bars in Odessa, having no time to take off their musketeer costumes because of the tight filming schedule.
The four later reprised their roles in three sequels, filmed after the Soviet Union fell: two based on Dumas' sequels to the novel (Musketeers Twenty Years After
, 1992, and The Secret of Queen Anne or Musketeers Thirty Years After
, 1993), and a fourth one
in 2007, of which the less is said, the better.
Provides examples of:
- Age Lift: The King, The Queen and Monsieur de Treville are all twentysomethings in the book but played by middle aged actors.
- Ascended Extra: Jussac is an episodic character in the book but becomes a recurring antagonist for the heroes (though not the Big Bad) by replacing several other minor antagonists.
- Bar Brawl: Several.
- Big Damn Heroes / The Cavalry: When d'Artagnan arrives to the royal palace with the diamonds, he fights the hordes of the Cardinal's guards but is ultimately overpowered. And then the three musketeers ride in to save the day.
- Chess Motif: During d'Artagnan's audience with the Cardinal they play chess. Richelieu praises d'Artagnan for stalemating.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Madlen in the sequel, full stop.
- Composite Character: Lord Winter is removed from the movie, and Felton assumes his role.
- Jussac who besides his book counterpart filfulls the roles of Comte de Wardes and a couple of characters from the sequel.
- Madame de Chevreuse from Twenty Years After is a composite of her book counterpart and Madame de Longueville.
- Crash into Hello:
La Chesnaye: First part of the Ballet of La Merlaison!
La Chesnaye: Second part of the Ballet of La Merlaison!
[d'Artagnan, hurrying to return the queen's diamond studs, runs from offscreen and falls onto him]
- Dawson Casting: Boyarsky was 28 at the time the movie was filmed, while d'Artagnan is 18 in the book. This made for some Narm in a scene when d'Artagnan states his supposed age.
- Inverted in the sequel with Madame de Chevreuse. Olga Kabo was 22 when the production started - far too young to have a 15-year old son.
- Disproportionate Retribution / Evil Is Petty: As the result of Compressed Adaptation, Milady's only reason for trying to murder d'Artagnan and murdering Constance Bonacieux is d'Artagnan upstaging her with the queen's diamonds.
- Distressed Dude: Raoul is turned into this in Musketeers Twenty Years After.
- Easy Evangelism: Apparently the woman he was sent to kill claiming to be of one faith with him is enough to convince Felton to turn against his master and kill HIM instead. In the book it takes days of careful and well-thought manipulation on Milady's part to convert him to her side. In the movie she pulls it off in minutes of one emotional scene.
- Gratuitous French: In the songs ("Paris needs money, c'est la vie"). Averted in regular dialogue, even though the setting just begged for it.
- I Have Many Names: Pointed out by Athos in a line absent from the book.
Athos: Anne de Breuil, Lady Clarick, Charlotte Backson, Baroness of Sheffield, Comtesse de La Fère, Lady Winter. See — there are so many of you, and so few of me.
- Live-Action Adaptation
- Mondegreen: Thanks to its large number of memorable songs, this was one of the richest sources of Mondegreens for its time. "Pourquoi pas" (French for "why not?") was interpreted variously as "pol-klopa" (Russian for "half a bedbug") or nonsensical non-words like "purklapa" or "kuklafa". Purely Russian lyrics weren't free either: "krasavitse i kubku" ("to the beautiful woman and the cup") is often misheard as "krasavitse Ikuku" ("to the beautiful woman Ikuku").
- Mooks: The Cardinal's Guard.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Milady claims this was the reason she poisoned Constance. Wierdly enough this scene is absent from the book even though the whole romantic plot between d'Artagnan and Milady was cut out from the movie.
- The Musical
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Many of the less plot-important scenes from the novel were removed to make the whole story fit into 220 minutes. (And to make room for the songs.)
- Spared By Adaptation: Mordaunt in Musketeers Twenty Years After... sort of. He does die, but much later in the story.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Both the Queen and her maid try using this to conceal the letters the Queen had written to her secret lover. It never works.