on April 25, 2002
This is a fun film full of action and comedy. The players are wonderful - Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan, Van Heflin as Athos, Gig Young as Porthos, Lana Turner as Milady DeWinter, June Allyson as Constance, Vincent Price as Cardinal Richelieu and more. Kelly is delightfully acrobatic, jumping around as if his legs were coiled springs, swinging on ropes, fencing like a master - he is a joy to watch - he puts Erroll Flynn to shame. Van Heflin and Gig Young are perfect as his comrades - brave, dashing, as well as foolish and impetuous. Lana Turner is the beautiful and dangerous Milady DeWinter who seduces men to achieve the Cardinal's purposes and can be deadly. June Allyson is the virtuous and hapless Constance. Vincent Price is marvelously evil as Cardinal Richelieu - he uses people like chess pieces and even when thwarted he doesn't wish to kill D'Artagnan but to recruit him. The King is Frank Morgan (the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz), a bumbling but good-hearted king who doesn't quite know what is going on. The costumes and sets are breathtaking and the Technicolor is as good as it gets. There are some beautiful exterior actions scenes along the ocean (undoubtedly the Pacific but still gorgeous).
It is Kelly who pulls the picture together, however. He seems to be everywhere at once, so full of energy and life. Although he is a bumpkin from Gascony he is more than a match with a sword for any man in Paris be he one of the King's Musketeer or one of the Cardinal's guards. He does quite a lot with his eyes and his facial expressions, a bit overacted occasionally but still quite enjoyable. Lana Turner has top billing and she is deliciously beautiful with a seemingly endless wardrobe of wonderful costumes From the first scene, however, this movie is all Kelly's - it seems a bit odd that he is so good in what is primarily an action film - but have no doubt he is completely convincing as the most athletic and acrobatic D'Artagnan ever seen on the screen - he is a bit like Burt Lancaster in "The Crimson Pirate" but without the trampoline. Van Heflin has the most serious role as the nobleman-turned-drunken musketeer - lamenting the loss of his treacherous wife and then trying to warn D'Artagnan of the danger of Milady, who loves him not and is far more dangerous than any of his swordman adversaries.
This is a version of this often-told story where the film makers "got it right" - there is plenty of action, comedy, romance, intrigue, villainy, heartbreak all going on seemingly at once. The characters are portrayed closely to the way they were written by Dumas and this is precisely how they should be played.
on July 16, 2006
I'm a huge fan of just about everything musketeers related (look at my other reviews), and this is my favorite big screen adaptation. Kelly is easlily the most fun D'Artagnon to watch and the sword play in this movie is excellent with his athleticism.
Of course, anyone who read the novel would know that though it includes sword play it is the charaters and plot that move the story along, so in that respect this movie does a much better job than most Musketeer adaptations. It stays fairly close to the original plot and though there is little time spent developing their personalities the Three are more consistant with their literary counterparts than in, well really, any of the other adaptations.
Over all one of the most fun adventure movies I've seen.
on January 20, 2007
When D'Artagnan (Gene Kelly), a brilliant swordsman, left his Gasgon village, in 1625, with a letter to Monsieur De Treville, captain of the King's Musketeers (Reginald Owen), he didn't expect to have in his first day, three duels with the three best swordsmen in Paris: Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young), and Aramis (Robert Coote).
But as the duels were forbidden in Paris by Cardinal Richelieu, Chief Minister to King Louis XIII, D'Artagnan had to challenge, first, Jussac, captain of the Guard (Saul Gorss).
The duel, under Tchaikowsky themes, was hilarious and explosive, with great acrobatic skills, good for lots of laugh, specially when D'Artagnan didn't kill the nobleman but he sent him to Richelieu well humiliated "trousers dropping." This amusing scene opens the door of an eternal friendship between D'Artagnan and the three famous Musketeers...
Cardinal Richelieu (Vincent Price) was unpopular, but extremely powerful... He was an ambitious man who wanted war against England and the complete destruction of the King's powers...
King Louis XIII (Frank Morgan) opposed Richelieu's plan for war with England... But the Cardinal, who well knows everything that transpires or has transpired in France, discovers that George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham (John Sutton) - in love with the Queen - was in possession of a set of diamonds studs, twelve studs to be exact, that were delivered to him only last night by the elegant Queen Anne (Angela Lansbury) in love with the Duke...
Richelieu asks his mistress, lady De Winter (Lana Turner), to travel to England and to steal two of them... His plan is to demonstrate Buckingham's relation with the Queen, in order to make the poor King "lessen," and "lesser."
The mission of the Musketeers is to return the Jewels to Paris in nine days time, as the Queen has to wear them at the banquet...
Lana Turner gives her finest performance as the cool Lady De Winter, the most notorious woman of France, that Duke of Buckingham even couldn't resist... This lethal lady is rather a peripheral character but so forbidding a creature is she as she lies, steals and murders her way from France to England, from palace to boudoir, that she makes Lucrecia Borgia look like Mary Poppins... Turner's character remained Evil Incarnate from the beginning to the end and the decision to sustain her satanic nature throughout was a great asset to the film and true to the spirit of the original Dumas delineation...
Kelly's D'Artagnan was just as Dumas portrayed him-a 17th-century country bumpkin who combines cockiness with courage, ingenuity and a fine gift of swordsmanship... His first meeting with the three musketeers; their consternation at finding that each is to fight a duel with the newcomer at almost the same hour; their sudden enduring friendship with the country lad; D'Artagnan's romance with Constance (June Allyson), the Queen's lady-in-waiting-all this leads into a rapid succession of adventures on land and sea, in tavern, court and boudoir, as they slash their way through a dozen ambushes to save the Queen's honor and to foil the scheming Prime minister and his evil accomplice in their plot to dethrone the King...
Van Heflin is powerful enough in his colorful role as Athos, a man in love with a woman who was evil, selfish, death, poison, a lady whom he don't dare to forgive...
Vincent Price is exciting as the strong Cardinal... I remember him whispering to the weak King quietly at the end of the film: 'I am the State your Majesty. I am France!'
Loaded with spectacular Swordsplay, and with excellent action scenes, and under George Sidney's good direction, this colorful swashbuckling adventure romance is visually great entertainment...
on May 23, 2000
I own four different movie versions of The Three Musketeers and this one is by far my favorite. It leaves out some of the trickier moral issues of the original story (it was shot in 1948 after all), but manages to leave in all the action and swordplay. The good news is that the action is all very good and all the players do excellent jobs, particularly the Musketeers. The best news of all is that you can watch this one with your kids with very few worries.
This is a great family film. It's also romantic enough to be a great "date" movie if you're spending the evening in.
on March 4, 2001
I first saw this movie when I was 8 years old and I also saw the Ritz Brothers version when I was 8.When I was 13 I saw the Michael York Version and the Walter Abel.I think this is one of the best versions because it has the entire book covered in 125 minutes.Many of the versions of this novel don't cover the entire novel(EXAMPLES:1935 Walter Abel,1939 Don Ameche,1950 Robert Clarke version and two Mexican versions from 1942 and 1959 and the silent versions of 1916 and 1922.).This version had some great acting Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan he resembled the character more than Michael York (I like Michael York he did a great job but he didn't look like the character described in the book).Lana Turner was great as Milady de Winter.Van Heflin perfect as the saturnine alcoholic woman hater Athos.Gig Young did a great job as Porthos.Robert Coote one of the first to show the priestly side of Aramis.Vincent Price excellent as Cardinal Richelieu a role he reprised 12 years later for a CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie with Maximillian Schell as D'Artagnan.I like June Allyson but she and Frank Morgan were lost in this production.Angela Lansbury and John Sutton excellent as the Queen and her English lover Lord Buckingham.A note to fans of this version.Robert Taylor was first choice as Athos.Alida Valli was second choice for Milady de Winter if things hadn't worked out with Lana Turner.Ricardo Montalban was first choice for Aramis and Sidney Greenstreet first choice for Cardinal Richelieu.Errol Flynn was considered for D'Artagnan but considered to old by 1947 for the part.1947 was when this production was on the drawing board.Angela Lansbury did want the role of Milady de Winter but MGM chose otherwise.She would have been excellent.This is a great version.For those who like the complete story check out two part Richard Lester version,the 2 part French 1961 version,the 1999 145 minute on video stageplay and the Douglas Fairbanks 2 part version 1921 and 1929(also known as Iron Mask which deals with the second half of 3 Musketeers and the Man in the Iron Mask story.The Richard Lester series also has a third part The Return of Musketeers.
on December 25, 2002
I found this movie on TV one night after falling in love with the story of the Musketeers, and nearly threw a fit when my dad made me go to bed in the middle of it. It has certain aspects that the 3musketeers/4musketeers movies leave out suchs as hints to Arimis' background and the fact that all four Musketeers had servents. A six-star movie!
on August 1, 1999
And in my opinion, no one has done it better since. When I first saw this movie as a child, I fell so in love with Gene Kelly that I never recovered! (Oh, sure, I flirted with Paul McCartney for a while, but I came back to Gene!!) As far as I'm concerned, no one but Douglas Fairbanks (that's Sr., not Jr.) could even touch Kelly's performance in this, for pure graceful athleticism. Michael York and Chris O'Donnell look like a couple of cows compared to Kelly's speed and grace. Oh, yeah, and did I mention that Lana Turner is stunning in this, and Vincent Price is a delightfully nasty Cardinal Richelieu, or that Angela Lansbury is unbelievably beautiful as the Queen of France? This would go on my list of the 100 best movies ever made!!
on March 27, 2000
Fun swordplay, elaborate costumes, great romance. In spite of some awkward moments, it's an enjoyable movie, and special fun for Kelly fans. Much better than some recent efforts. The recent Man in the Iron Mask, for example, can't touch it for action, especially swordplay. Kelly's D'Artagnan and Constance "meet cute" and he also manages some sexy moments with Lana Turner. However, I can't help picturing how great Angela Lansbury would have been as Milady de Winter. Anyone who's ever seen her as the scheming maid in Gaslight, or against Katherine Hepburn as the other woman in State of the Union, knows that she was wasted as the virtuous queen. And if Turner had played Constance, what a battle of the divas it would have been!(Picture the scenes when Buckingham makes Constance her guard.) If only the casting could have been changed... But it's a fun movie for all of that.
on January 23, 2016
I have loved this movie for years, but I think I may have to purchase the physical DVD. I bought it for my streaming library, but it keeps freezing. Very poor quality stream, but the movie is a classic. Gene Kelly is practically luminous as D'Artagnan--he lights up a room with that gorgeous smile of his. And Lana? Evil as they come, but SO beautiful...a wonderful Lady de Winter. She and Van Heflin always make great movies (watch Green Dolphin Street), and have fabulous chemistry. It isn't the movie...it's just the format that leaves a lot to be desired.
on February 11, 2008
If you only know Gene Kelly as a famous dancer, then you have reason enough to see this film. In the role of D'Artagnan, a young romantic out to unleash himself on the world, Kelly's is a presence to be savored. His amazing agility and commitment to his role pay off in unspeakably rich ways during the film's many swash-buckling scenes. He leaps across roofs, off and onto balconies, and across villain-filled rooms with the kind of effortlessness one only sees in comic books. He owns the physically impossible to an extent that would make Jackie Chan blush. Watching this film for the first time, I found it difficult to believe that he accomplished all of this unaided in the age before computerized special effects. Kelly is the real deal.
Unfortunately, that's where my praise of this film ends. Though filled to the brim with legendary actors and taken from a brilliant novel, this film fails to shine on any other level. George Sidney takes a character-rich adventure of light idealism and dark villainy, and translates it into a trite, feel-good comedy adventure. Just as the Technicolor of the film takes away the rich shadows and replaces them with shiny colors, so too does the film take away those subtle hues of character and replace them with smiling, laughing heroes and unhappy looking villains. Turner manages to impress me when she isn't being directed to deliver over-the-top performances, yet command performers like Vincent Price and Van Heflin, though given an abundance of screen time, are never really given an opportunity to shine. Price's Richilieu is just a mean guy with a french accent. Athos's rich conflict with Lady de Winter is thoroughly underplayed in order to keep this smiling swash-buckling adventure light. And the choice of Frank Morgan (a highly talented comedian) to play the king seals the guarantee that this film has little intention of delivering any level of substance by the close.
George Sidney's Three Musketeers features some of the best swash-buckling I've ever seen on the silver screen and absolutely nothing more. Even with Gene Kelly's amazing physical performances, the film offers very little to inspire a second watching. Were we in the late 1940s, this would have been a fun Friday evening's diversion at the movies, but it is not a film for the ages.