So after going through Netflix’s collection of abysmal Musketeers movies, I found one that was very good! Revenge of the Musketeers, directed by Bertrand Tavarnier, which is more or less a sequel to the end of Dumas’s series, stars Sophie Marceau as d’Artagnan’s high-spirited daughter, Eloise. Eloise is no shrinking violet or damsel in distress, either; instead, the film plays with the trope and turns Eloise’s love interest, a poet, into the kind of man who can’t really handle himself in any sort of dangerous situation. Marceau also did her own fencing onscreen, which adds quite a bit of realism to her character.
Eloise has been raised in a convent in the Perigord region of France from childhood, since the death of her mother. One night, a wounded, escaped African slave comes to the convent seeking refuge from his pursuers. Despite the Mother Superior’s protests, the slave’s pursuers, the Duke de Crassac de Meridol and his mistress, Eglantine de Rochefort, force their way into the convent and mortally wound the Mother Superior. Eloise discovers that they were after some documents, which she believes she has found, and dressed as a young man, she heads to Paris to consult with her father and the other musketeers. On the way, she meets handsome poet Quentin La MisÃ¨re, who insists on accompanying her to Paris, and on the way, the two become very attracted to each other. Eloise, though, keeps her mind on her original purpose for her journey, though it’s clear she reciprocates Quentin’s feelings and would like to marry him.
When she arrives in Paris, she finds her father, who is now out of the king’s favor, making a living as a fencing master and buying things on credit at his old servant Planchet’s store. He doesn’t believe her allegations of a conspiracy; to him, the bloodstained piece of paper looks like a laundry list. Even worse, Quentin, who has been writing pamphlets decrying Cardinal Mazarin’s greed, is wanted by the cardinal’s authorities. Eloise decides to go to the king to tell him of this conspiracy, but on the mention of her father, Louis XIV refuses to listen to her further. It is during an audience with Cardinal Mazarin and her reaction to Mazarin’s order to capture Quentin and imprison him in the Bastille that she comes to the conclusion that the laundry list might mean something. She concocts a reason to leave, but with the cardinal’s guards in pursuit. D’Artagnan comes to the rescue and father and daughter engage the guards in swordplay, though the cardinal’s men are able to get away with the poem Quentin wrote to Eloise, which begins, “Dance, butterfly, dance.” At this point, d’Artagnan decides to go to Porthos and Aramis for help in this, and so with Planchet, Eloise, and Quentin in tow, the adventure begins.
I cannot say enough how wonderful this film is; it encompasses all of the spirit of Dumas’s books and even the 1970s films starring Michael York and Oliver Reed. There are some running jokes in it which are hilarious, and not every character is wholly noble and perfect: they all have qualities that are amusing, such as Aramis’s vanity, Porthos’s love of fine things, and d’Artragnan’s Gascon temper. Everything wraps up neatly, good wins and evil loses, and the end credits are adorable. And the best of all, this film is currently available on Netflix Instant, so anyone interested can go watch it!