The Three Musketeers (1948)
Release Year: 1948
Director: George Sidney
Writers: Robert Ardrey (screenplay), Alexandre Dumas (based on his 1844 novel Les trois mosquetaires)
Starring: Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, June Allyson, Van Heflin, Angela Lansbury, Frank Morgan, Vincent Price, Keenan Wynn, John Sutton, Gig Young, Robert Coote, Reginald Owen, Ian Keith, Patricia Medina, Richard Wyler
Rating: Nominated for 1 Oscar: Best Cinematography – Color.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #177, week 45 2017
D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly) and his three Musketeer comrades fight together against the forces of the scheming Richelieu (Vincent Price) who plans to usurp the power from king Louis XIII (Frank Morgan).
Alexandre Dumas’s historical adventure novel is the sort of swashbuckling story that has captivated audiences throughout all ages. This colourful and lavish 1948 production by MGM was the first big Hollywood production of the story after the silent era and boasts a stellar cast fronted by the rising star Gene Kelly (On the Town, 1949) and Lana Turner (The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946) one of the big leading ladies of the 1940s. Kelly perfectly embodies the innocent idealism of the courageous and charming D’Artagnan and his given amusing a support by Heflin, Young, and Coote as the three musketeers who take the young D’Artagnan under their wing. On their opposing side Price (House of Wax, 1953) is great as the slimy Richelieu while Turner is captivating as Lady De Winter and her and Aramis’s melancholy love story is the story darkly beating heart that weighs out the more light-hearted flimsy and more comedic moments. The story is familiar to most and so an adaptation of The Three Musketeers always stands or falls with is sword fight. George Sidney’s version happens to brandish some greatly choreographed sword fight that set a new standard for the art in films for decades afterwards. Highly entertaining, fun, and with lots of drama and plenty of heart, The Three Musketeers is a old-school swashbuckling Hollywood adventure film that is more than please fans of the genre.
This was Gene Kelly’s favourite non-musical role.
Several actors felt uncomfortable with the casting. Angela Lansbury felt she was too young to play Queen Anne and had wanted to play Lady De Winter instead. Gig Young (Porthos) and Robert Coote (Aramis) felt they should have switched roles.
MGM decided that Richelieu should be referred to only as prime minister and had all traces of his powerful role in the church as a Cardinal. They did this due to fear of pressure from church groups even though other movies had portrayed Richelieu as the powerful man of the cloth he was without any repercussions.
Picture Copyright: MGM