The Three Musketeers (1948)
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Swashbuckler, according to Merriam Webster, is a flamboyant soldier, adventurer or daredevil. If there were a section in Webster's Dictionary for Swashbuckling films, George Sidney's 1948 version of The Three Musketeers would have to be at the top of the list. Made at MGM, the Rolls Royce of movie studios at the time, The Three Musketeers has a star-studded cast that includes sexy Lana Turner, June Allyson, Angela Lansbury, Van Heflin, Vincent Price, Gig Young, and the electrifying Gene Kelly (whose character and performance are synonymous with the term swashbuckling).
The Three Musketeers was an extremely personal project for Kelly for two reasons. The first was the fact that he was recreating the character (D'Artagnan) played by his favorite star (Douglas Fairbanks) in his favorite movie (the 1921 version of The Three Musketeers). Kelly was later quoted in Tony Thomas' The Films of Gene Kelly: Song and Dance saying "I loved playing this part. As a boy I idolized Fairbanks, Sr. and I raised myself to be a gymnast." The second reason is that Kelly was hoping his performance in The Three Musketeers would convince MGM to let him do a musical version of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac.. Regardless of his energetic performance in The Three Musketeers, the studio brass wouldn't go for a musical Cyrano even though Kelly pestered them for years about it.
Not all the cast members were as thrilled as Kelly to do The Three Musketeers. June Allyson, in her autobiography June Allyson, revealed how uncomfortable she felt playing Constance Bonacieux. " . . .I wanted out of the picture. I never felt comfortable doing a period piece. . .I looked at myself in my sweeping robes and was not convincible that anyone was going to believe me as Lady Constance." Lana Turner also had a few problems accepting her role as Lady De Winter. According to her autobiography Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth, Lana Turner refused to do the movie because she didn't have a starring role. MGM combated her refusal with a stern suspension. After negotiations and a rewriting of the script, Lana Turner agreed to do the film. But when all was said and done, the movie was a box office success and became an instant classic.
Director: George Sidney
Producer: Pandro S. Berman
Screenplay: Robert Ardrey (based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas)
Cinematography: Robert H. Planck
Editor: George Boemler, Robert Kern
Art Direction: Malcolm Brown, Cedric Gibbons
Music: Herbert Stothart
Cast: Gene Kelly (D'Artagnan), Lana Turner (Lady de Winter), June Allyson (Constance Bonacieux), Van Heflin (Athos), Angela Lansbury (Queen Anne), Vincent Price (Cardinal Richelieu), Keenan Wynn (Planchet), Frank Morgan (King Louis XIII), Gig Young (Porthos)
C-126m. Close captioning. Descriptive Video.
by Rod Hollimon