|The Fifth Musketeer|
Promotional film poster
|Directed by||Ken Annakin|
|Produced by||Ted Richmond|
|Written by||David Ambrose|
Alexandre Dumas, père (novel)
Alan Hale Jr.
|Music by||Riz Ortolani|
|Edited by||Malcolm Cooke|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|104 min (US)|
116 min (UK)
The Fifth Musketeer is a 1979 German-Austrian film adaptation of the last section of the novel The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later by Alexandre Dumas, père, which is itself based on the French legend of the Man in the Iron Mask. It was released in Europe with the alternative title Behind the Iron Mask.
It was directed by Ken Annakin, and stars Beau Bridges as the twins (Louis XIV and Philippe of Gascony), Sylvia Kristel as Maria Theresa, Ursula Andress as Louise de La Vallière, Cornel Wilde as d'Artagnan, Ian McShane as Fouquet, Rex Harrison as Colbert (Philippe's tutor), and Lloyd Bridges, José Ferrer and Alan Hale Jr. as the Three Musketeers. Olivia de Havilland made a cameo appearance as the Queen Mother. This was de Havilland's final theatrical film.
The cinematographer was Jack Cardiff.
Although The Fifth Musketeer has no affiliation with the hit Richard Lester films The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers other than their all being based on Dumas stories, the title was chosen to capitalize on the recent success of those films and inform audiences that it was the same characters involved in the plot. The film was shot in and around Vienna, Austria at locations including Schönbrunn Palace, Auersperg Palace, Votive Church, Liechtenstein Castle and Kreuzenstein Castle. Sylvia Kristel's lines were reportedly dubbed in by another actress.
This film was rated PG on release.
Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote, "Though 'The Fifth Musketeer' is loaded with intrigue, duels, large scale swordplay, heavy costumes and heavier décor, it is singularly without style or even excitement. In the center of it, Mr. Bridges the younger seems bewildered in the manner of someone unsure of his real identity."
Dale Pollock of Variety stated that the film "adds nothing new to the genre, deriving its inspiration totally from the 1939 United Artists release written by George Bruce, who is credited here along with Dumas," adding that director Ken Annakin "stifles 'The 5th Musketeer' with ornate production values, deadly earnest swordplay and dialog as moth-eaten as the peasant costumes. The result? Yawnsville."
Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and called it "one of those big, one-star-from-every-country productions. Such films invariably are badly directed... Director Ken Annakin is obliged to give every one of his stars a decent amount of screen time, and the result is a film that moves in fits and starts."
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "There are some nice moments along the way from a largely nostalgic cast and some reasonably sumptuous settings, with the Schoenbrunn Palace standing in for Versailles. However, since Ken Annakin's direction and David Ambrose's script are uninspired, 'The Fifth Musketeer' tends to be plodding."
Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail asked, "How does a movie this bad ever get made? ... actors recite their lines in a dull monotone and the direction is absolutely wooden; the reaction shots are so studied that one can almost hear the director counting out. Indeed, everyone's timing is way off, as if the whole picture were made in some Quaalude-induced stupor."