Three members of the French Foreign Legion are the only survivors in an attack by Arabs somewhere in the Arabian Desert. Tom Wayne, an American pilot, comes to the rescue of Clancy, Renard and Schmidt, and they dub themselves "The Three Musketeers" and Tom their "D'Artagnan." But the three friends must soon help Tom prove his innocence when he is framed for the death of a friend and try to uncover the identity of a mysterious masked man known as El Shaitan.
Tom Wayne rescues Clancy, Renard and Schmidt in the Arabian desert and they join him in going after El Shaitan, a bad guy who is never seen as he tries to wipe out the Foreign Legion.
In the last of three serials that John Wayne did making his bones in B picture Hollywood, he does what is described as a modern adaption of Alexander Dumas's classic The Three Musketeers. Any resemblance to that novel and this film is completely coincidental.
Wayne is an American pilot who is flying in North Africa and saves Jack Mulhall, Francis X. Bushman, Jr. and Raymond Hatton, Foreign Legionaires, from certain death by machine gunning from the air an attacking Berber tribe. The group of them strike up a great friendship and the three decide to call themselves The Three Musketeers and adopt Wayne as their D'Artagnan.
The Duke with that little action apparently messed up a planned revolution against the colonial occupiers so the would be revolutionaries frame him for gun running and later murder. It takes twelve chapters for Wayne to clear himself and unmask the mysterious masked leader of the Devil's Circle conspiracy, El Shaitan.
In the mess of a film where not one of the white dudes speak with any kind of an accent including the multi-national Foreign Legionaires, you can see elements of The Desert Song, Gunga Din, and Beau Geste. But other than the title not a hint of The Three Musketeers.
Lon Chaney, Jr. and Noah Beery, Jr. both make brief appearances in The Three Musketeers and both get killed early on in the serial. I'm sure neither of them counted this serial as anything they talked up in reminiscing about their careers.
Only confirmed and solid fans of John Wayne should watch this film. I can safely say that Alexander Dumas's spirit becomes most restless when this film is shown. Alas, this is more interesting than enjoyable.
The script is rather muddled, and, despite a high-quality cast, the acting is ... well, to be polite, lacking.
Some of those good ol' country boys just do not make very convincing Arabs. (But they sure are good cowboys.)
John Wayne is today usually billed as the star, but he was listed fourth in the credits and was still relatively new in Hollywood at the time of the release. Even then he was showing the charm that would make him a star.
A tighter script and better directing should have made this a classic serial, but they are missing.
Still, this is one to see if only for the historical value.
Let me warn you: The DVD sold by the apparently dishonest and dishonorable Digiview company is more advertising for the company's other wares than a good presentation of this serial. There are only four of the 12 chapters, and I think the company is guilty of theft and fraud.
The picture seems to be ninth or tenth generation, and the sound is equally bad.
I urge everyone not to buy any product from Digiview.
(((This is an added note: After reading my comments here, a person wrote me that Digiview usually provides a buyer with value for the money. I was told "The Three Musketeers" is not typical fare from the company. I will leave my comment, above, but am happy to make this notation that Digiview, http://www.digiviewus.com, apparently is a company to buy from.)))
This is a long overdue update: Digiview does indeed include the complete serial. All the chapters are there. They are there in TWO DISCS, but the jerky retailer from whom I bought my copy had only the first disc. Quite by accident, from another jerky retailer, I found the second disc, so I now have the complete serial.
I hope readers and Digiview will accept my apology and my correction. 646f9e108c
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