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The Further Adventures of the Musketeers - reviews

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Jan. 1st, 1970 | 03:49 pm

Until May 2016, it was difficult to form an opinion on this series, but the only readily available reviews on IMDB were fairly positive.


mkb-8

This TV version of the Dumas novels was made during the golden age of the BBC Sunday teatime classic serial, and I still have fond memories of it forty years later. Like its predecessor, 'The Three Musketeers', the whole thing was played straight and not as a jokey camp fest like so many of the movie versions. It is actually a very good story, and if played straight with outstanding actors as was the case in this BBC version, can make for thrilling and at times moving drama. Let's hope that the original tapes are still lodged safely in the BBC vaults and have not been wiped, since this is a true classic.”


BookstoFilm

This fine 1967 series … has most of the same cast as 1966 Three Musketeers except that Joss Ackland took over for Jeremy Brett as D'Artagnan. Michael Gothard does an excellent job as Mordaunt né John de Winter the vengeful son of Milady de Winter … Michael Gothard always is cast as a villain or a fool in movies. Joss Akland I don't think could ever give a bad performance. Fine performances by both actors. Faithful this version sure is.


Since its release, the production has received a number of mixed but mostly positive reviews online.


myreviewer.com

… Despite being a bit creaky by today’s standards, this video-taped series has it all – action, humour, intrigue and, well, more action. Indeed, it almost typifies the heyday of this type of serial on the BBC – an excellent example of what could be achieved with limited resources, immovable studio bound video cameras but with a great script, a top-notch cast and some tight direction …

The series is renowned for sticking faithfully to the novel … 17th Century France is in turmoil with the royalists on one side and the rebellion on the other. We learn from D’Artagnan (Joss Ackland) that the other members of the Musketeers, Athos (Jeremy Young) has retired, Aramis (John Woodvine) is now a priest and Porthos (Brian Blessed) as got married and settled into a comfortable, if unadventurous, life. The boy King Louis XIV is officially on his throne with his mother Anne constantly fearing for his life. In the meantime, Cardinal Mazarin is plotting and scheming whilst pulling all the royal strings.

Michael Gothard is fantastically sinister as Mordaunt too – adding to the feeling that this really was the BBC’s halcyon years for historic drama.

Despite the necessarily choreographed action (these were pretty much directed like plays and recorded ‘live’ to tape to a very large degree) the enthusiastic performances of Joss Ackland and Brian Blessed serve to bring this above the norm. It’s a hopelessly complex story for a family audience, and yet we devoured such things back in the day regardless of that. As a result, it’s richly entertaining today … Top stuff and highly recommended to lovers of archive British TV from this era.

Full review


Archive Television Musings

Others may continue to call [D’Artagnan] a hero, but he’s not convinced. Although he still holds a commission in the Musketeers, it now appears to be a hollow honour … He’s therefore keen to grasp any opportunity to rekindle the glory days of old and when Queen Anne asks for his help, how can he refuse?

… we see over the course of the serial that the Queen is a far from admirable character … capricious, vain and frequently misguided.

… the Queen, her young son, King Louis XIV and Cardinal Mazarin … are the orthodox ruling establishment, but the majority of the people seem to side with the imprisoned Prince de Beaufort.

The question of personal morality is key, especially when understanding which side the four Musketeers support. D’Artagnan supports the Cardinal and Queen, but is this because he believes they are the right choice for France or is it just that they’ve offered him a chance to redeem his tarnished honour? … Porthos … agrees to join D’Artagnan, mainly it seems because he’s always keen for a scrap.

But Aramis and Athos are both on the Prince’s side. They believe their cause is just and Athos regards D’Artagnan’s allegiance to the Cardinal with extreme disfavour. Athos supports the King, but in his opinion the Cardinal is manipulating both the King and the Queen to serve his own ends. It’s telling that D’Artagnan doesn’t deny this.

… Athos’ monologue in episode five, after d’Artagnan bitterly rounds on his old friends, is one performance highlight amongst many. “We lived together. Loved, hated, shared and mingled our blood. Yet there is an even greater bond between us, that of crime. We four, all of us, judged, condemned and executed a human being whom we had no right to remove from this world. What can Mazarin be to us? We are brothers. Brothers, in life and death.”

Athos is referring to the murder of his former wife, Milady de Winter. As we’ve seen, her death still preys heavily on his mind ... She had a son, Mordaunt, who spends the early episodes vowing vengeance on the men who murdered his mother. As the serial progresses we see that his thirst for revenge makes him a formidable foe.

A variety of other plot threads also run at the same time … to ensure that the story, even though it lasts sixteen episodes, never feels repetitious.

Plenty of quality actors drift in and out. Michael Gothard is suitably villainous as Mordaunt, Geoffrey Palmer is memorable during his fairly brief appearance as Oliver Cromwell, David Garth is remote and aloof as King Charles I …

The Further Adventures of the Musketeers looks and sounds exactly how you’d expect an unrestored telerecording of this period to look and sound. It’s perfectly watchable, although the picture is a little grainy and indistinct at times (and the soundtrack can also be somewhat hissy). But … the story and the performances of the four leads more than makes up for it.

Full review


Road Rash Reviews

… This series was prime time weekend telly of the era. Directed by Christopher Barry … and Hugh David … they bring together a stellar cast that play their parts in a serious manner, unlike the slapstick style of later films. …

With sixteen episodes this is a great series and Joss Ackland is excellent as d’Artagnan and as we all know that Brian Blessed is a larger than life character and that is how he plays Porthos, excellent.

Full review


indieLONDON

… the release of another BBC classic family favourite The Further Adventures of the Musketeers (1967) on DVD for the very first time on May 23, 2016. Starring Brian Blessed (Z Cars), Joss Ackland (The Hunt for Red October) and Michael Gothard (The Three Musketeers), this classic adventure series is set 20 years on from the original and is based on Alexander Dumas’ sequel of The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After.

Full review


Paul Mount in Starburst

The exploits of Alexandre Dumas’ Los Trois Mousquetaires – The Three Musketeers – remain, like the very best literary creations, ripe for constant reinvention.

… Twenty Years After is a dense, multi-layered narrative and these sixteen twenty-five minute episodes make a decent fist of bringing it to the screen. But it’s heavy-going stuff in places, often worthy but dull and it’s astonishing to imagine the 1960s family audience it was aimed at becoming engrossed by its web of political and religious intrigues and stodgy royal posturing.

Fortunately, it’s a handsomely-mounted production, lavish by 1960s BBC standards, boasting sumptuous and detailed sets, impressive location filming and even some decent action set pieces.

Full review


Front Row Reviews

… in my very humble opinion it is extremely well acted, great attention to space and costume is used and the scripting is often amazingly clever. The time when television was this brave and powerful is still here but it does the trick of making a series based on a book about the text as well as the screen.

Full review


my so-called brain

… Given its age the drama has aged pretty well. The production is pretty lavish and the cast have very familiar (if slightly younger) faces. This is a very faithful adaptation without the need for the overblown bells and whistles seen in more recent versions … a real treat of a classic TV drama ...

Full review


Paddy Cooper in Vulturehound is, on the whole, less complimentary.

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