is part of the Douglas Fairbanks Collection boxed set released by Kino.
You can read a review of the whole set here.
Fairbanks Mark of Zorro did so well at the box office, he tried
another modern farce, the kind that had made him famous. But 1921's
The Nut did not draw the crowds in the way The Mark of Zorro
did. So he abandoned films with a modern setting a concentrated on
historical costume movies. For his next production, he decided to
adapt Alexander Dumas' classic tale of chivalry and sword play, The
There is intrigue and deceit in the court of Louis XIII of France (Adolphe
Menjou.) Cardinal Richelieu (Nigel De Brulier) is trying to increase
his influence over the weak willed king and sets a trap for his Queen (Mary
MacLaren.) Richelieu has discovered that the Queen has given
a valuable broach, that was a present from the king, to her paramour, Duke
of Buckingham (Thomas Holding.) He suggests that the King request
the Queen to wear the broach to a royal ball, knowing she will not be able
to produce it. When the Queen hears of the Kings' wish, she is distraught.
There is no way she can retrieve the broach in time.
Enter young D'Artagnan. His father was a member of the King's
Musketeers, and he wishes to become a member of that august organization.
As he leaves his provincial town for Paris, his father tells D'Artagnan
to fight as much as he can. That way he will quickly prove his courage
D'Artagnan takes his father's advice to heart. Having been turned
down for a position in the Musketeers due to his lack of experience, D'Artagnan
has a run in with three of those soldiers and challenges them all to duels
and sets the same time for all three. When he arrives at the appointed
place, the three Musketeers can not believe the audacity of the young swordsman.
No sooner do they start to fight, than they get interrupted by a squad
of Cardinal Richelieu's guards. The guards try to arrest the
Musketeers and D'Artagnan, but the four of them manage to defeat seven
of the Cardinal's men. Having come through this trial by fire, a
bond is forged between D'Artagnan and his three new friends.
takes lodging in the same boarding house that the Queen's seamstress, Constance
(Marguerite De La Motte) lives. The two become friendly, and when
D'Artagnan saves Constance from being interrogated by the Cardinals guard,
the Queen's aide learns to trust D'Artagnan.
Richelieu's trap is sprung on the Queen and Constance reveals the problem
to D'Artagnan. He, along with his three companions, set out to travel
to England to retrieve the broach. But Richelieu has been warned,
and with the resources of a country at his fingertips, sets out to stop
This was a great follow-up to Mark of Zorro. There is just
as much action, if not more, a slightly more complex story, and a more
interesting setting. Fairbanks ramped up the production values on
this film too. The sets were much more elaborate, and accurately
decorated, a trend that he would continue with. The streets of Paris
(though undoubtedly cleaner than they really were in the mid 1800's) looked
authentic. From the cobblestone roads to the street vendors, attention
was paid to realism.
The movie itself was very enjoyable. Fairbanks, though looking
a little old to play D'Artagnan, does a magnificent job. He leaps
and runs and pounces all over the sets, and his swordplay, though not very
realistic, steals the show.
The three Musketeers themselves are overshadowed by Fairbanks enthusiastic
portrayal. They seem lifeless next to the exuberant Fairbanks. Adolphe
Menjou does an adequate job as the King, but the best supporting actor
without a doubt was Nigel De Brulier as Cardinal Richelieu. He played
the role in a very understated manner, which made him seem all the more
sinister. An excellent performance by the man who would revive the
character in Fairbanks' 1929 sequel, The Iron Mask, and even play
the same role in the very forgetable1935 remake staring Walter Able.
The sound track was a synthesizer version of the original 1921 score
preformed by Brian Benison and the "Elton Thomas Salon Orchestra."
This is the same group that preformed the infamous score to Fairbanks Robin
Hood. While this score is much less objectionable than the one
to Robin Hood, I still do not like the electronic sound that the
The sound quality is very good. They high and lows come through
loud and clear, and there is no evidence of hiss. Minimal use was
made of the front soundstage in the stereo mix.
The master that was used seems to be an amalgam of at least three other
prints. There it was fairly easy to determine which copy each scene
came from due to the condition of the video.
The first source print looked outstanding. Very clear with a full
range of tones. The detail was excellent. There were only minor
amounts of dirt and speckling. This print was used most often through
The second source print was also very good, but it was more washed out.
There was not as much contrast and the range of tones was less. There
still was a very good amount of detail, but the blacks were more a dark
gray, and there were some details lost in bright areas. This print
looked a little like you were watching it with the brightness turned up
a tad too high. Still a nice looking copy. This print was used
a good deal too, but less than the first one.
The third print was the worse. Luckily it was utilized the least
of all of them. The picture in this source was very soft and blurry.
It was much darker than the other two, and it had a good deal of scratching.
These sections were still watchable, but in contrast to the other two prints,
the differences were very evident.
This was the only DVD in the Douglas Fairbanks Collection Boxed
set that did not have supplemental materials, unfortunately.
In his second costume piece, Douglas Fairbanks solidified the type of
role he would play for most of the rest of his career. He was dashing
and exuberant and really put on a good show. This movie is a joy
to watch, one of my favorite Fairbanks films. It has action and romance,
plotting and deceit, and D'Artagnan is a wonderful character. You
can't help but laugh as he challenges Musketeer after Musketeer to duels.