The Three Musketeers (1948)

125-27 mins | Drama | 26 November 1948

Director:

George Sidney

Writer:

Robert Ardrey

Producer:

Pandro S. Berman

Cinematographer:

Robert Planck

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The opening title card reads: "Metro-Goldwn-Mayer Presents Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers. " A written onscreen prologue to the film reads: "In the year of Our Lord 1625, William Shakespeare was not long dead, America not long settled, and the calm of France not long for this world. A Gascon villager was preparing to go forth and shake that world till its teeth rattled." A Dec 1947 HR news item noted that director George Sidney planned to shoot his own version of the film with a 16mm camera, alongside the studio's 35mm cameras, but no further information regarding a 16mm version has been found. A Dec 1947 article in NYT indicates that a representative of the National Catholic Legion of Decency, an organization that monitored the interests of the Church in motion pictures, objected to the characterization of Cardinal Richelieu in M-G-M's planned adaptation of Dumas' story. In a letter to M-G-M producer Pandro S. Berman, the organization stated its objection to the cardinal being portrayed as a "worldly and unscrupulous man" and urged the studio to remove the character from the film. The NYT article notes that Berman refused to remove the character from the film but promised he would use great caution in all sensitive matters pertaining to the story. Berman also indicated that "Constance," who is the married mistress of "D'Artagnan" in the novel, would be unmarried in the film version.
       A contemporary news item in HR notes that Roy Rowland filled in as director of the film's screen tests in Dec 1947 while Sidney was recovering from an illness. A 12 ... More Less

The opening title card reads: "Metro-Goldwn-Mayer Presents Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers. " A written onscreen prologue to the film reads: "In the year of Our Lord 1625, William Shakespeare was not long dead, America not long settled, and the calm of France not long for this world. A Gascon villager was preparing to go forth and shake that world till its teeth rattled." A Dec 1947 HR news item noted that director George Sidney planned to shoot his own version of the film with a 16mm camera, alongside the studio's 35mm cameras, but no further information regarding a 16mm version has been found. A Dec 1947 article in NYT indicates that a representative of the National Catholic Legion of Decency, an organization that monitored the interests of the Church in motion pictures, objected to the characterization of Cardinal Richelieu in M-G-M's planned adaptation of Dumas' story. In a letter to M-G-M producer Pandro S. Berman, the organization stated its objection to the cardinal being portrayed as a "worldly and unscrupulous man" and urged the studio to remove the character from the film. The NYT article notes that Berman refused to remove the character from the film but promised he would use great caution in all sensitive matters pertaining to the story. Berman also indicated that "Constance," who is the married mistress of "D'Artagnan" in the novel, would be unmarried in the film version.
       A contemporary news item in HR notes that Roy Rowland filled in as director of the film's screen tests in Dec 1947 while Sidney was recovering from an illness. A 12 Dec 1947 LAT news item announced that Sydney Greenstreet and Sonya Tufts had been cast. HR production charts include Frances Gifford in the cast, but she was not in the film. According to a Jan 1948 HR news item, Lana Turner initially refused her assignment and was briefly suspended by M-G-M as a result. The picture marked Turner's first screen appearance in a color feature. While a Feb 1948 DV article put the final cost of the film at $4,000,000, it is more likely that the cost was closer to the $2,500,000 figure listed in modern sources. The Three Musketeers opened to mostly favorable reviews, with several reviewers commenting on the film's unusual tongue-in-cheek approach. The NYT reviewer likened Turner's portrayal of "Lady de Winter" to a "company-mannered Mae West" and noted that "more glittering swordplay, more dazzling costumes, more colors or more of Miss Turner's chest have never been seen in a picture than are shown in this one." The film received an Academy Award nomination in the catagory of Best Cinematography.
       Modern sources relate the following information about that film: screenwriter Robert Ardry was displeased with Sidney's irreverent approach to the Dumas story and objected to the spoof elements that were added to the film. Robert Taylor and Ricardo Montalban were originally announced to play two of the musketeers, and Greenstreet was set to play the third. During Turner's suspension, M-G-M began a search for her possible replacement and, at one point, considered actress Alida Valli, who was then under contract to David O. Selznick. In her autobiography, June Allyson notes that she did not feel comfortable doing a period piece, and that she tried to get out of her assignment in the picture. A biography of Kelly noted that Belgian fencing champion Jean Heremans, who appears in the film as the cardinal's guard, taught Kelly how to fence. Kelly's biography also noted that during the filming of a bedroom scene, Kelly flung Turner onto a bed with such force that she fell to the ground and suffered a broken elbow. Some filming took place at Busch Gardens in Pasadena, and at the Cheviot Hill golf course near Culver City, CA. According to the NYT obituary for stuntman Russell M. Saunders, Saunders acted as Kelly's stunt double in the film.
       Among the many film versions of Dumas' story are the 1914 Film Attractions Co. production, directed by Charles V. Henkel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.4457); the 1921 Douglas Fairbanks production, directed by Fred Niblo (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921- 30; F2.5665); the 1935 RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. production, directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Walter Abel, Paul Lucas and Margot Grahame (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.4618); Richard Lester's 1974 Twentieth Century-Fox production starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain and Raquel Welch; and the 1993 Buena Vista release, directed by Stephen Herek and starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell and Rebecca de Mornay. According to a 1962 news item in DV , Gene Kelly was planning to play D'Artagnan again in a Carlo Ponti production entitled Cyrano and D'Artagnan . The film, which was to co-star Peter Sellers as Cyrano, was never made. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Oct 1948.
---
Daily Variety
13 Feb 48
p. 12.
Daily Variety
13 Oct 48
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1962.
---
Film Daily
13 Oct 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jan 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jan 48
p. 20.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Feb 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 48
p. 7, 9
Los Angeles Times
12 Dec 1947.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 Jun 48
p. 4189.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Oct 48
p. 4349.
New York Times
7 Dec 1947.
---
New York Times
18 Jan 1948.
---
New York Times
21 Oct 48
p. 33.
Variety
20 Oct 48
p. 11.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Richard Simmons
David Bond
Frank J. Marlo
Jean Louis Heremans
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Fill-In dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
Orch collaboration
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Montage seq
MAKEUP
Hair styles designed by
Hair styles designed by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Grip
STAND INS
Voice of man offstage
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les trois mousquetaires by Alexandre Dumas, père (Paris, 1844).
MUSIC
Music based on themes by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers
Release Date:
26 November 1948
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 19 November 1948
New York opening: 20 November 1948
Production Date:
25 January--5 May 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 September 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1844
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
125-27
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13112
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1625, D'Artagnan, an eager young swordsman living in the small village of Gascon, France, sets out for Paris to seek a better life. In Paris, D'Artagnan meets Treville, the captain of King Louis XIII's musketeers, and asks to join Aramis, Porthos and Athos, the king's best musketeers, by whom he had been good-naturedly fooled on the road to Paris. Treville initially rejects D'Artagnan's request, but D'Artagnan later secures his place with the elite musketeers after fighting a series of duels and proving himself to be an expert swordsman. Soon after joining the musketeers, D'Artagnan learns that Cardinal Richelieu, the king's first minister, is secretly betraying the king and is determined to wage war against England. Treville is aware of Richelieu's betrayal but warns D'Artagnan that the king's position is tenuous and that D'Artagnan must not humiliate or provoke Richelieu's men. One day, Monsieur Bonacieux, D'Artagnan's landlord, asks D'Artagnan to look after his goddaughter Constance while he is away on a journey. Bonacieux tells D'Artagnan that Constance, who is one of the queen's maids, is in constant danger and that she is being followed by Richelieu's men. Before leaving on his journey, Bonacieux shows D'Artagnan a secret door in the apartment floor through which he may spy on Constance. When D'Artagnan sees Constance for the first time, he falls instantly in love with her. Late at night, after hearing screams from the apartment below, D'Artagnan dashes downstairs to rescue Constance and single-handedly fights off several of Richelieu's men. D'Artagnan is badly beaten in the fight but he quickly forgets his injuries when Constance gives him a small kiss. He then professes his love for Constance and they ... +


In 1625, D'Artagnan, an eager young swordsman living in the small village of Gascon, France, sets out for Paris to seek a better life. In Paris, D'Artagnan meets Treville, the captain of King Louis XIII's musketeers, and asks to join Aramis, Porthos and Athos, the king's best musketeers, by whom he had been good-naturedly fooled on the road to Paris. Treville initially rejects D'Artagnan's request, but D'Artagnan later secures his place with the elite musketeers after fighting a series of duels and proving himself to be an expert swordsman. Soon after joining the musketeers, D'Artagnan learns that Cardinal Richelieu, the king's first minister, is secretly betraying the king and is determined to wage war against England. Treville is aware of Richelieu's betrayal but warns D'Artagnan that the king's position is tenuous and that D'Artagnan must not humiliate or provoke Richelieu's men. One day, Monsieur Bonacieux, D'Artagnan's landlord, asks D'Artagnan to look after his goddaughter Constance while he is away on a journey. Bonacieux tells D'Artagnan that Constance, who is one of the queen's maids, is in constant danger and that she is being followed by Richelieu's men. Before leaving on his journey, Bonacieux shows D'Artagnan a secret door in the apartment floor through which he may spy on Constance. When D'Artagnan sees Constance for the first time, he falls instantly in love with her. Late at night, after hearing screams from the apartment below, D'Artagnan dashes downstairs to rescue Constance and single-handedly fights off several of Richelieu's men. D'Artagnan is badly beaten in the fight but he quickly forgets his injuries when Constance gives him a small kiss. He then professes his love for Constance and they seal their love with a real kiss. Later, D'Artagnan follows Constance to her secret rendezvous with the English Duke of Buckingham. In a fit of jealousy, D'Artagnan challenges the duke to a duel, but the duel is called off when D'Artagnan learns that the furtive meeting has been arranged to deliver the duke to Queen Anne, with whom he is engaged in a secret affair. Before the duke returns to England, Anne gives him a keepsake of twelve large, perfectly matched diamond studs, which the king has given her as a gift. When Richelieu learns from one of his agents that Anne gave the studs to the duke, he sends an accomplice, the beautiful Lady de Winter, to England to steal two of the diamonds so that he can expose the affair and force the king to consent to a war with England. Determined to prevent the affair from being exposed, Constance sends D'Artagnan to England to get the studs before Richelieu finds them. D'Artagnan promises to return with the jewels before the banquet at which the queen is expected to be wearing all her diamonds. D'Artagnan enlists the help of the other musketeers to get the jewels back, and as soon as they arrive in England they engage Richelieu's men in a battle. D'Artagnan arrives at the duke's estate too late, and discovers that two of the diamonds have already been stolen by Lady de Winter. While Lady de Winters set out to deliver the diamonds to Richelieu, the king's musketeers search for Athos, who, in a fit of depression over his past, has gotten violently drunk. Following several misadventures, the musketeers take exact duplicates of the missing gems, which have been made by the duke's jeweler, to France in time to deliver them to the Queen for the banquet. His scheme foiled, Richelieu exacts his revenge by arresting Constance and holding her captive. Richelieu refuses to release Constance until D'Artagnan consents to join forces with him as his lieutenant. When D'Artagnan refuses, Richelieu instructs Lady de Winter to use her persuasive charms to seduce him. The other musketeers later condemn D'Artagnan for consorting with Lady de Winter in order to continue his romance with Constance. D'Artagnan, however, insists that he is merely trying to win Lady de Winter's confidence to find out where Constance is being held. D'Artagnan devises an elaborate scheme to trick Lady de Winter into revealing Constance's whereabouts, but he later undermines his own scheme when he succumbs to Lady de Winter's charms and reveals his plan. Meanwhile, the queen's aides find and release Constance and deliver her to D'Artagnan's quarters. A hasty wedding is arranged between D'Artagnan and Constance before Constance is sent to Buckingham for safety. Soon after, the war between France and England breaks out, and Lady de Winter follows D'Artagnan to England, determined to exact revenge against him for tricking her. Warned of Lady de Winter's treachery, the Duke arrests her and places her under Constance's supervision. When D'Artagnan learns of the arrest, he races to the Duke's estate, hoping to prevent a tragedy. He arrives too late, however, as Lady de Winter has killed both Constance and the Duke. The musketeers eventually find Lady de Winter, who it is revealed, was once married to Athos, and after delivering her to the executioner, they fight off the last of Richelieu's men and bring the war to an end. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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