Douglas Fairbanks' longest and most elaborate production up to 1921, The Three Musketeers was Fairbanks' first full-blown costume adventure (his modestly produced 1920 The Mark of Zorro was regarded as an extension of his breezy contemporary comedies). Fairbanks assumes the leading role of D'Artagnan, who after challenging musketeers Athos (Leon Barry), Porthos (George Siegmann) and Aramis (Eugene Pallette--yes, Eugene Pallette) to a duel, joins forces with them in opposition of the scheming Cardinal Richelieu(Nigel De Brulier). Plotting to discredit Queen Anne (Mary McLaren) in the eyes of her husband King Louis XIII (Adolphe Menjou) Richelieu dispatches Milady de Winter (Barbara La Marr) to pilfer the diamond brooch given by Anne to her British lover, the Duke of Buckingham (Thomas Holding). With the help of the lovely Constance (Marguerite de la Motte) D'Artagnan and the Musketeers race against time to retrieve the brooch and save their Queen. The film ends with D'Artagnan emerging victorious, a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips; the actual, darker denouement of Dumas' original Three Musketeers would be dramatized in the opening reels of Douglas Fairbanks' valedictory silent film, The Iron Mask (1929).
by Hal Erickson synopsis