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La Femme Musketeer

La Femme MusketeerIf your swash has buckled and you
  think you
ve seen it all, then how about a
  young lady who becomes a Musketeer?
  Featuring such well-known stars as
  Michael York and Christopher Cazenove
  — not to mention the fabulous Gerard
La Femme Musketeer
  adds a gender-bending new twist to
  Alexandre Dumas
classic novel, The
  Three Musketeers

IT IS 1660 DURING THE WAR BETWEEN France and Spain with no sign of peace and heavy losses in battle. In the French court a power struggle has begun between Cardinal Mazarin (Gerard Depardieu) and the young King, Louis the XIV (Freddie Sayers). The people are divided between church and state.

Aided by his personal guard, led by the ruthless Captain Villeroi (Marcus Jean Pirae), the Cardinal bows to nobody and is a force to be reckoned with. But luckily for the Sun King, his champions are the famous and formidable Musketeers — now led by Commander Laurence Pinot (Roy Dotrice) — who are just about to get a very welcome new recruit.

The most renowned Musketeer of all, Jacques D'Artagnan (Michael York), has retired to the country with his wife Cecile (Susan Brown). But their daughter Valentine (Susie Amy) is determined to take up her father's sword and follow in his footsteps to become the most accomplished musketeer of all France — despite being a young woman in the 17th Century. Just a tiny drawback.

Trevoux (William Gaunt), France's envoy to Spain, returns with the news that King Philip has called off his daughter's marriage to Charles of England and that Princess Maria-Theresa (Kristina Krepela) is on her way to France to be married instead to Louis.

The Sun King is himself facing a dilemma. In love with his mistress Marie (Clemency Burton-Hill), he has no wish to be married to the Spanish princess — but it is a sure-fire way to conclude the Franco-Spanish war. However, peace is not in the interests of everyone.

Mazarin has a very good reason for not wanting the war to end and he is hatching a plot to reduce the ranks of the king's guard — starting with an attack on Plantchet Taverne, owned by a former servant of D'Artagnan (Constantine Gregory) and a well-known haunt of the Musketeers. The attack is prevented by Musketeers Gaston (Caspar Zafer), Etienne (Niko Nicotera) and Antoine (Andrew Musselman) who are themselves the sons of retired Musketeers Porthos (John Rhys-Davies), Athos (Christopher Cazenove) and Aramis (Allan Corduner).

When Valentine leaves home bound for Paris to enlist in the Musketeers and fulfil her dream, her father gives her his sword and a letter of introduction to Commander Pinot. On her journey, Valentine comes across a carriage under attack and chases off the attackers. She is befriended by its occupant, Lady Bolton (Nastassja Kinski) who — unbeknown to Valentine — has come hotfoot from England after killing the Duke of Buckingham (Nicholas Rowe) and stealing a portrait of the French Queen Anne, Louis' mother, at the instigation of Mazarin.

In Paris, Valentine immediately crosses swords with Gaston, Etienne and Antoine and meets her old friend Captain Paul Mauriac (Nicholas Irons) at the Musketeers HQ as she presents herself to Pinot and has her hopes dashed — for the moment.

Little does Valentine suspect that Lady Bolton is conspiring with Mazarin to bring down the monarchy, using a letter found hidden in the portrait of the late Queen. Mazarin is responsible for the deaths of a number of Musketeers — including Commander Pinot — and he sends Captain Villeroi to ensure that Maria-Theresa does not reach Paris. No sooner has Valentine let down her hair than the Musketeers are needed to save France!

With Maria-Theresa and her ladies-in-waiting held captive by the Cardinal's guards and Valentine accused of a murder she did not commit by the seductive and deadly Lady Bolton, the Musketeers need to work fast to protect the king and the future of France.

Valentine has to find Gaston, Etienne and Antoine, who have been sent out to meet and guard the princess, while avoiding being arrested by the Cardinal's guards — and once again, it's 'all for one and one for all' as the mission becomes a matter of life and death for the four young Musketeers. And the body-count is going upů

On their way to Paris to join the fray are the retired Musketeers D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aramis. And even Mazarin is not safe from treachery as Villeroi has an agenda all of his own. Will Valentine help to save the princess and realise her own dream of becoming a Musketeer? Some suspect acting with a lot of hamming it up is layered over an interesting story with excellent sword fights.

La Femme Musketeer is a light-hearted period romp in which the bedbugs are not the only vermin, woven into a rich tapestry of French 17th Century life revolving around conspiracy and deception. The Musketeers take on the second most important man in France (some say the first!) in this twist on the classic tale that features an award-winning, international cast. There is one scene of torture, but it is not explicit.

Music is by Mader; Director of Photography is David Connell; Produced by Fred Weintraub, Tom Kuhn; Boris Gregoric and Juan Mas; Written by Sandra Weintraub; Executive Producers are Larry Levinson and Robert Halmi Jr; Art Director is Tanja Lacko; Choreographer is Juraj Mofcan; Second Unit: Directed by Zachary Weintraub; Director of Photography is Bo Randulff; Swordmaster is Peter "Andy" Hric and the film is Directed by Steve Boyum.

La Femme Musketeer will be released on DVD by Brightspark Productions on 20 April, 2009. RRP: ú19.99 | Certificate: 12.

"La Femme Musketeer is a light-hearted romp in which the bedbugs are not the only vermin, woven into a rich tapestry of French 17th Century life revolving around conspiracy and deception" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar