Thursday, May 30, 1974
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, May 30, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five
A man vs. machines saga
By DAVID BLOMQUIST
Richard Lester's The Three Muske-
teers, now playing at the Fifth Forum,
is easily the funniest film of the sum-
mer. It marks an absolutely brilliant re-
turn by Lester after a long - too-long
- five year absence from the world
of cinema comedy.
Interestingly, Three Musketeers and
the only other financially successful film
released so far this year - Mel Brook's
Blazing Saddles - are both comedies.
But there the comparison ends.
In the end, Saddles is really not much
more than a grossly overextended TV
variety show sketch. It is a funny piece
of entertainment, yes, but it has virt-
ually nothing lasting to say.
Three Musketeers, on the other hand,
approaches the later work of Woody
Allen in its complexity of thought and
maturity of development. We laugh at
the antics of D'Artagnan and his crew,
of course, but - if we look carefully -
we can also observe a ripple of cynicism
on Lester's part about man and his
According to Lester, the stars of Three
Musketeers are not so much the lead
actors as what he calls the "toys" -
the various mechanical props that appear
in almost every scene of the film and
form the foundation of at least half of
Above all, however, it is through these
"toys" that Lester communicates his
mildly acid skepticism. We notice very
quickly that, contrary to what we would
expect, man never seems to be helped
by the wide range of gadgets Lester and
his art director trot out for us. No mat-
ter what the device it, it alhvais contri-
butes to some kind of lisaster for the
person using it.
We see D'Artagnan leaping gallantly
out of a second-story window to confront
a foe, only to land on a wndow-cleaners'
platform being hoisted up the side of the
building from below.
We watch his servant - a would-be
hero - try during one of the fight scenes
to valiantly swing himself across the
room on a piece of rope, a la Tarzan,
but be thwarted by a pulley attached to
he rope that just catapults him into the
And, finally, we have D'Artagnan's
mistress at the Louvre ceremony where
her lover it at last appointed a full-
fledged Musketeer. Presumably deler-
ious she strays a little too far into the
exhibition area and gets hit by a re-
volving target used for jousting practice.
On the immediate level, of course, all
of these man-vs.-machine duels are
classic little pieces of slapstick comedy.
(There's nothing funnier than watching
Raquel Welch get clobbered by that re-
volving jousting target.)
On a deeper level, however, Lester
seems to be expressing a lack of con-
fidence in a mechanized society a n d ,
more specifically, in the power of man
to control the contraptions once he
creates them. Here, naturally, is where
the actors blend with the "toys", since
it is through the actors' experience that
we sense man's inability to take total
charge of his machines and make them
run at his whim instead of their own.
Fortunately, Lester does have an ex-
cellent cast. Michael York plays the
apprentice D'Artagnan with more author-
ity than he's given any role in some
time. (Film buffs may -njoy contrasting
his sword technique now with his ef-
forts in the 1968 Romeo and Juliet.)
Raquel Welch is quite impressive as
his mistress. Faye Dunaway is better
than usual as the villanous assistant to
the evil Cardinal Richleau (played by
none other than Charlton Heston).
Add to all this some exquisite photo-
graphy (I still can't figure out how in
the world they managed to light some
of those scenes), a t>p-notch musical
score from Michel Legrand,- and some
spectacular palace shots (courtesy the
Spanish government), and the result is
one perfectly beautiful motion picture
that everyone can enjoy.
In fact, the only people in town un-
"'Three Musketeers' approaches the later work of
Woody Allen in its complexity of thought and maturity
of development. We laugh at the antics of D'Artagnan
and his crew, of course, but-if we look carefully-we
-f'nofe of cynicism on director Lester's
part about man and his material world."
Equally fortunately, Lester was bless-
ed with a fine screenplay from George
Mac Donald Fraser. Not only did Fraser
manage to capture the. spirit of the Du-
mas novel, but he does so without intro-
ducing a single syrupy or anachronistic
line-an all-too-common fault of movies
from children's books (remember last
year's Tom Sawyer?).
Lester's staging is indeed dazzling. IHis
handling of the fight scenes may easily
leave you breathless, as you quickly dis-
cover that the Musketeers' favorite blow
is a quick kick to the crotch.
happy at the moment about Three Mus-
keteers are the folks at the Butterfield
Theaters (the State, Campus, and Mich-
igan) who had a shot at obtaining the
film but - for some reason - passed
Now, all that they can do is watch the
long lines form at the Fifth Forum for
Three Musketeers and weep over the
empty house at the Michigan, where
the film was originally .upposed to play.
But then, as the old saying goes, that's
Finks to flood Fink Folk Festival
'S By Time A-sociatemd Press
FINK, Tex. - "Oscar's getting pretty deaf," said Ms.
Oscar Fink, "But that won't keep him away from Fink
on National Fink Day. He's been busy making Fink fid-
dles, Fink wagons and Fink walking canes."
National Fink Day comes on Thursday, June 20 dur-
ing National Fink Week, of course. And Oscar Fink, this
town's 87-year old poet laureate, is getting his annual
a ,,- Fink poem ready, despite reports he's been ailing re-
Patricia Albright, mayor of the tiny town near Lake
Texoma says this year's Fink Week celebration will fea-
ture a Fink Folk Festival with everything from an old-
tashuoned quilting bee to exhibits of buttons and barbed
Most of the action during Fink Week, which starts
June 17, will happen on National Fink Day. Anyone can
attend, but the special guests are named Fink, Fincks,
Finkes, Finques, Funks or Phinques.
It's also the day when Fink holds "our usual free
barbecue blast," says Mrs. Albright.
Mayor Albright says: "Fink realty is growing. We
have two stores and service stations, a doctor's office,
y T city hall, Fink museum and we have a rodeo arena under
construction that is due to open with its inaugural rodeo
on National Fink Week."
She said the population probably has almost doubled
over a year ago and should be a baker's dozen now.
The mayor says she doesn't like this "mushrooming
growth" that has gripped Fink the past year.
- . . ."It brings too many problems," she says. "We're
w -ovs starting to get the big city burglars in Fink, They broke
into the Fink Museum and made oft with Willard's gun
7 V' ,collection, then broke into my office and stole two rolls
of half dollars, a pair of binoculars and Willard's pow-
Mayor Patricia Albrigh tof Fink, Texas