The Three Musketeers (1948)
Here’s something many of you don’t know about me: I love “guy’s” films. Films that are more likely to capture the fancy of a guy rather than a girl. I don’t know any girls who would watch and enjoy a swashbuckling Errol Flynn film, immerse themselves in the exciting naval history of Mutiny on the Bounty, get excited over a Western, or get emotional over a war film. They’d most likely fall asleep within the first fifteen minutes. Recently, I’ve added another guy’s film on the list: The Three Musketeers.
I’ve always loved the book by Alexandre Dumas, so seeing this film was a must for me. At first, I was apprehensive about it because seeing Gene Kelly as top billed automatically made me assume this was going to be a musical version of this beloved story (can you imagine? Dear God…) but thankfully it wasn’t. Gene Kelly didn’t even dance in this film, unless you consider his fancy footwork while swordfighting as dancing.
AND SPEAKING OF GENE KELLY…I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see the theatrical re-release of Singin’ in the Rain on Thursday!!! And I CRIED. Cried tears of joy! It was absolutely beautiful to see a classic film on the big screen, like the way it was seen back in 1952! The feeling was indescribable, and I had goosebumps all up my arms the entire time. The only other time I’ve seen a classic film in the movie theater was The Wizard of Oz when I was six years old. It was my all-time favorite film growing up, and I still treasure it! But I digress…
I’m sure many of you already know the plot of The Three Musketeers: d’Artagnan (Kelly) is a provincial man who travels to Paris to join the king’s guards, the Musketeers. He befriends lovable yet mischievous Musketeers Porthos (Gig Young), Aramis (Robert Coote), and Athos (Van Heflin). Together the inseparable friends go on an adventure to thwart Cardinal Richelieu’s (Vincent Price) plans to usurp the king’s power. On the way, d’Artagnan finds love with Constance (June Allyson) the goddaughter of his landlord, and he has to deal with evil femme fatale Milady deWinter (Lana Turner).
Gene Kelly often said he liked himself in this film and that d’Artagnan was his favorite non-musical role. However, he was a little…meh for me in this film. He was athletic and funny, but at some points I felt that he overdid it and he annoyed me at those times (like when he first sees June Allyson’s character…puh-leez). I also wasn’t fond of his little mustache. It looked like a smudge of dirt on his face rather than facial hair.
See what I mean about the weird mustache? At least the other musketeers have slightly better ones…
The Three Musketeers is notable for being Lana Turner’s first color film. Now, I’m not a really big fan of Lana Turner at all. I never saw anything special in her and I think that her acting is mediocre at best. But she really outdid herself here! The Technicolor suited her beautifully, and she was pure evil as Milady. The only thing tht bothered me about her character was that her stupid fake mole kept changing places throughout the film, but that’s the makeup department’s fault. Props to Lana!
Even though Milady is the bad gal of this film, I liked her way more than I liked June Allyson’s character, Constance. She was so…sweet. TOO sweet. Sickly, sugary, almost fake sweet. Actually, not sugary, but substitute sugary. Like Splenda or Sweet N’ Low. How did d’Artagnan love her!? A fun fact: in the original novel, Constance was the landlord’s wife, not his goddaughter. But of course, the Legion of Decency would’ve never allowed a married woman to be in cahoots with another man. Shame really, I probably would’ve found her more interesting, or at least more human, if they kept the original storyline. And June Allyson’s face bothers me a lot. It’s like it’s missing something. Eyelashes, perhaps. Or eyebrows.
Now onto my favorite performances. I already spoke about Lana Turner’s, so I’ll talk about my other two favorite characters here. My favorite Musketeer was definitely Van Heflin’s Aramis. He was funny yet he tugged at your heartstrings as well. Heflin gave a great, unfairly overlooked dramatic performance here. I found myself tearing up from him at some points, and I found a lot of truth in the things he said. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but he is the most developed characterwise of the Musketeers and has the most poignant story in the film.
Another favorite character of mine is the villain, Cardinal Richelieu. Because he was played by the King of Cool, Vincent Price. And everytime Vincent Price is in a film, you automatically love him, no matter how evil his character is.
All in all, this is an okay film. It’s a fun take on Dumas’ novel and there are great performances, but by the supporting characters rather than the main ones. And Vincent Price and his cat are definitely worth it.