The Three Musketeers (1933 serial)

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The Three Musketeers
Three Musketeers-1933-001.png
The Three Musketeers title sequence screenshot
Directed by
Produced by Nat Levine
Written by
Music by Lee Zahler
Edited by Ray Snyder
Distributed by Mascot Pictures
Release dates
  • April 7, 1933 (1933-04-07)
Running time
12 chapters (210 min), film (96 min)
Country United States
Language English

The Three Musketeers is a 1933 American Pre-Code film serial produced by Mascot Pictures which updates Dumas' The Three Musketeers by setting the story in contemporary North Africa. The Musketeers are soldiers in the French Foreign Legion, and D'Artagnan (renamed Lt. Tom Wayne and played by John Wayne), is a pilot in the United States military. The supporting cast features Raymond Hatton, Francis X. Bushman, Jr., Lon Chaney, Jr. and Noah Beery, Jr.. The serial is in the public domain. In 1946 Republic Pictures edited the serial into a feature film called Desert Command.[1]


When Lt. Wayne is framed for the murder of his fiancé's brother, Armand Corday (Lon Chaney, Jr.), he vows to capture the real killer, a mysterious Arab terrorist known only as El Shaitan. He is aided by the Three Musketeers: Clancy (an Irishman always spoiling for a fight), Renard, and Schmidt (who loves sausages). Nicknamed the "Devil of the Desert",[2][3] El Shaitan leads a desert cult and a secret society against French authorities, with a meeting point called Devil's Circle.[4][5] He remains a shadowy figure, hiding his face and his true identity, as a result of which many people are mistakenly suspected of being El Shaitan, while other characters impersonate him for their own ends.



The Three Musketeers was loosely adapted from the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père and updated to a contemporary time period. The Three Musketeers are legionnaires in the French Foreign Legion: Clancy (Irish), Renard (French) and Schmidt (German). The D'Artagnan character is Tom Wayne, an American aviator played by John Wayne, who rescues the three from attacking Arabs while flying over the desert.[7]

Chapter titles[edit]

John Wayne as Lt. Tom Wayne
  1. The Fiery Circle
  2. One for All and All for One
  3. The Master Spy
  4. Pirates of the Desert
  5. Rebels' Rifles
  6. Death's Marathon
  7. Naked Steel
  8. The Master Strikes
  9. The Fatal Cave
  10. Trapped
  11. The Measure of a Man
  12. The Glory of Comrades


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Desert Command profile,; accessed August 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Ken Weiss, Edwin Goodgold, "To be continued ...", NY: Bonanza Books, 1972, 341 pages, ISBN 0-517-16625-9, ISBN 978-0-517-16625-3 (p.43).
  3. ^ Buck Rainey, Serial film stars: a biographical dictionary, 1912-1956, McFarland, 2005, 851 pages, ISBN 0-7864-2010-3, ISBN 978-0-7864-2010-0 (page 542).
  4. ^ Jim Harmon, Donald F. Glut, The great movie serials: their sound and fury, Garden City, NY, Doubleday, 1972, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-385-09079-7 (p.326).
  5. ^ Jack G. Shaheen, Reel bad Arabs: how Hollywood vilifies a people, NY: Olive Branch Press, 2001, 574 pages, ISBN 978-1-56656-388-8 (p.488).
  6. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "9. They Who Also Serve (The Citizens)". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 143. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 
  7. ^ Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "13. The Classics "You Say 'What Dost Thou Mean By That?' and Push Him Off the Cliff"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. p. 325. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9. 
  8. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 207. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X. 

External links[edit]

Download or view online[edit]

Preceded by
The Whispering Shadow (1933)
Mascot Serial
The Three Musketeers (1933)
Succeeded by
Fighting with Kit Carson (1933)