This absurdly murky, horizontally squeezed YouTube clip from Richard Lester‘s The Three Musketeers slurs the reputation of David Watkins‘ handsome, Vermeer-lighted cinematography. (Watkin also shot the 1974 sequel, The Four Musketeers.) I don’t own the DVD but this cruddy clip alerted me to the aesthetic necessity of a Three Musketeers Blu-ray before long.

Stephen Herek‘s 1993 version with Keifer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Chris O’Donnell and Oliver Platt was nothing compared to Lester’s. I’m not much of a fan of the 1948 Gene Kelly-Van Heflin-Walter Abel version either.

I love the bit in the narrow castle passage when Charlton Heston‘s Cardinal Richilieu and Christopher Lee‘s Rochefort walk by starved unfortunates inside metal cages, and one of the Cockney-accented prisoners says, “G’morning, your grace.”

Rochefort: “I failed. One does occasionally.”

Cardinal Richelieu: “If I blundered as you do, my head would fall.”

Rochefort: “I would say from a greater height than mine, Eminence.”

Cardinal Richelieu: (surprised) “You would?”

Rochefort: “The height of vaulting ambition.”

Cardinal Richelieu: “You have none?”

Rochefort: “No.”

Cardinal Richelieu: “Do you fear me, Rochefort?”

Rochefort: “Yes, I fear you, Eminence. I also…hate you”.

Cardinal Richelieu: “I love you, my son. Even when you fail.”

The 85 year-old Watkin is presumably retired now, but he also shot Catch-22, Out of Africa, Yentl, Chariots of Fire and several other films for Lester — Cuba, Robin and Marian, Help, etc. As well as Ken Russell‘s The Devils and The Boyfriend.