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21 December 1973: The Three Musketeers

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Dec. 21st, 1973 | 08:00 pm

During 1973, having been noticed by the Director Richard Lester, Michael Gothard was cast in the minor role of Puritan, John Felton in a “project” produced by Ilya and Alexander Salkind, “The Three Musketeers.”

The enterprise was to prove controversial, because enough footage was shot to make two films, “The Four Musketeers” being the second one. It seems that the Salkinds always intended to make two films for the price of one, because they used the word “project” in the actors’ contracts, rather than “film.” They were nevertheless sued by some of the actors, and had to pay them more money, though not as much as if they had originally contracted them for two films.

This resulted in the “Salkind Clause” being included in all Screen Actors Guild contracts, stipulating how many films are being made.

Speculation: this may have been the incident which made Michael Gothard an active union supporter, as witnessed by the appearance of his name in “The Stage” among other Equity members supporting their union’s actions in the 1980s, when under attack by Margaret Thatcher’s government.

In September/October 1973, during filming, at Estudios Cinematografica Roma S.A., the film centre outside Madrid, Michael was interviewed by Jerry Bauer for “Petticoat” magazine.

“The Three Musketeers and I seem to have an affinity for each other. In this film version I portray Felton, the lover of Madame de Winter – Faye Dunaway but on television, I was Madame de Winter’s son in yet another dramatisation. Presumably, I was chosen by Richard Lester for this role because he’d seen me as the inquisitioner in The Devils. Both characters are repressed, violent and mad.”

Full "Petticoat" interview

Michael only appears briefly in the first film, 'The Thee Musketeers', in attendance to the Duke of Buckingham (Simon Ward), whom he kills in the 'The Four Musketeers', having been deceived by Milady de Winter (Faye Dunaway).

Joss Ackland, who had appeared as D'Artagnan in the 1967 TV series, "The Further Adventures of The Musketeers", in which Michael Gothard played Mordaunt, appears as D'Artagnan's father in "The Three Musketeers."


Black Hole

The director of photography is David Watkin who'd filmed The Devils two years earlier. I think Ken Russell's approach informed the look, approach and even casting of the two musketeers films, which re-use Oliver Reed and Michael Gothard (also the vampire villain in Scream and Scream Again).

Full review

AV Forums review

The Movie Scene review

IMDB entry


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