|Genre: Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Drama, Romance|
Directed By: George Sidney
Written By: Robert Ardrey
In Theaters: 20 Oct. 1948
On Disc/Streaming: 6 March 2007
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures
Box office: $8,412,000
Lana Turner as Milady, Countess de Winter
Gene Kelly as d’Artagnan
June Allyson as Constance Bonacieux
Van Heflin as Athos
Angela Lansbury as Queen Anne
Frank Morgan as King Louis XIII
Vincent Price as Richelieu.
Keenan Wynn as Planchet
John Sutton as the Duke of Buckingham
Gig Young as Porthos
Robert Coote as Aramis
Reginald Owen as Treville
Sol Gorss as Jussac, an officer in Richelieu’s Guards (uncredited)
Ian Keith as Rochefort, Richelieu’s chief henchman.
Patricia Medina as Kitty, Lady de Winter’s maid
Richard Stapley as Albert
Byron Foulger as Bonacieux (uncredited)
Gil Perkins as Felton (uncredited)
Dick Simons as Count de Wardes (uncredited)
Robert Warwick as d’Artagnan Sr. (uncredited)
Alberto Morin as Bazin (uncredited)
“The Three Musketeers” is a Technicolor adventure film adaptation of the classic novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père, written by Robert Ardrey, which starred Gene Kelly and Lana Turner.
The film is today best remembered by many movie fans for its outstanding fight choreography in the combat sequences, which has been used as inspiration for movie fight scenes ever since.
D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly), an inexperienced Gascon youth, travels to Paris to join the elite King’s Musketeers. On his way, he encounters a mysterious lady at a roadside inn. When he picks a fight with one of her escorts, she becomes suspicious and has him knocked unconscious. His letter of introduction from his father to de Treville (Reginald Owen), the commander of the Musketeers, is burned. When he awakens, he continues on to the city.
In Paris, he nevertheless presents himself to de Treville, who recognizes d’Artagnan’s description of one of his assailants and, saying “A man is sometimes known by the enemies he makes,” makes him a cadet. The young Gascon spots the very man and in his haste to confront him, annoys three of the most skillful Musketeers: Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young) and Aramis (Robert Coote). Each challenges him to a duel. At the appointed place, upon learning they are all there to duel the same man the master swordsmen are amused by the newcomer’s audacity. Before they can begin, however, they are interrupted by Richelieu’s guards, who try to arrest the Musketeers. Outraged that the three are outnumbered, d’Artagnan joins them in dispatching their foes, displaying his superb swordsmanship in the process. As a result, he is welcomed into their ranks.
Later, d’Artagnan rescues (and falls in love with) Constance Bonacieux (June Allyson), a confidante of Queen Anne (Angela Lansbury). The queen had been given a matched set of twelve diamond studs by her husband, King Louis XIII (Frank Morgan). Foolishly, she gives them to her lover, the Duke of Buckingham (John Sutton), who is also the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Knowing of the queen’s indiscretion, Richelieu (Vincent Price) sees a way to persuade the King to go to war with Britain. Richelieu arranges a ball and suggests to Louis that he have the Queen wear the diamonds.
D’Artagnan and his three friends volunteer to travel to Britain to retrieve the jewels, but along the way, they are ambushed by Richelieu’s men. One by one, the Musketeers are forced to stay behind to hold off their pursuers. Finally, only d’Artagnan and his servant Planchet (Keenan Wynn) are left to reach the Duke. However, Richelieu had already sent the beautiful Milady, Countess de Winter (Lana Turner) to work her wiles on His Grace and steal two of the studs. Fortunately, the Duke’s jeweler is able to make replacements quickly and d’Artagnan races back to France. He arrives just in time to save the Queen from disgrace.
Admiring d’Artagnan’s resourcefulness, Richelieu has Constance abducted in an attempt to enlist him in his service. He also assigns de Winter to help persuade the young man. D’Artagnan tries to learn where Constance is being held from Milady, but begins to fall under her spell instead. When Athos discovers that the Countess de Winter is actually his treacherous wife, he tries to warn d’Artagnan, but is not believed. Then d’Artagnan finds out that Athos was telling the truth: He sees a brand on Milady’s shoulder, the mark of a common criminal, just where Athos had told him he would.
Fighting breaks out between Britain and France. The Queen succeeds in freeing Constance and sends her to Buckingham for safety. When the war goes against him, Richelieu gives de Winter a carte blanche and sends her to Britain to assassinate his foe. The Musketeers learn of the plot and send Planchet to warn the Duke. Athos confronts Milady and recovers the carte blanche as proof of Richelieu’s treachery. De Winter is imprisoned by the Duke and placed in the custody of Constance, but when the latter lets her guard down de Winter kills first her, then Buckingham. Athos and d’Artagnan arrive too late to save them.
D’Artagnan and Athos return to France with a self-imposed mission: find the Countess de Winter and give her justice for the murders of the Duke of Buckingham and Constance. They lose track of her on the road to Lille and return to Paris. Captain de Treville informs them that de Winter has not been seen in the city, and warns the Musketeers that she is under Richelieu’s protection; if they continue their vendetta, if they are not killed they will have to flee to Spain as wanted men. They elect to proceed after Aramis recalls a conversation between Milady and Richelieu concerning the granting of a title and an estate near Lille.
Caught once again by the Musketeers at that estate, the ancestral home of Athos, she begs for mercy but finds none, even though her husband still loves her despite her many crimes. Seeing this, she calms herself and walks with dignity to her execution. The Musketeers are ambushed by Richelieu’s men, captured, and returned to the Royal Court for judgment.
As Richelieu is about to have them sentenced to death by the king, d’Artagnan produces the carte blanche. Richelieu is compelled to recommend to King Louis that he grant Aramis’s wish to enter a monastery; Porthos, an introduction to a rich widow; Athos, the restoration of his title and lands; and d’Artagnan, a commission as a Musketeer and a mission to England, for “the English lead too dull a life.” The four, dismissed by the King, stride from the throne room in triumph.
Lana Turner, as Milady, was dressed to the nines and heavily bejeweled for her beheading sequence.
Lana Turner plays Milady the Winter.
“The Three Musketeers” marked Lana’s long overdue starring debut in a Technicolor feature.
Apart from the superb camera work accorded Lana, her appearance as Milady is noteworthy for another reason: it’s the only scarlet woman she’s ever played who had absolutely no redeeming graces. Turner’s femme fateles were always allowed their big regeneration scene – but not Milady. Uncharacteristic of MGM’s protective measures towards its players in those days, Milady was one of the few deep-dyed villainesses ever to escape the whitewashing treatement ordained by the studio to gain audience sympathy for a valuable star playing a “heavy.” Milady, however, reamined Evil Incarnate from first reel to last 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.
Walter Plunkett’s costumes for Lana were enticing in his palette of greens, violet, coral and turquoise, with colored jewel adornments to de-emphasize the low necklines. And Del Armstrong, her makeup man, and Lana came up with some “beauty marks” in the shape of hearts, circles and moons and tried them out on different locations of her face.
You can watch the film here.
Lana Turner did a lot of movies. She really loved being a moviestar.
Here are the most important films in which she starred. Just click the links for more info, photos and videos.
20 April 1937: A Star Is Born
9 Oct. 1937: They Won’t Forget
24 Oct. 1937: The Great Garrick
1 Jan. 1938: The Adventures of Marco Polo
22 July 1938: Love Finds Andy Hardy
12 Aug. 1938: Rich Man, Poor Girl
9 Dec. 1938: Dramatic School
28 April 1939: Calling Dr. Kildare
18 Aug. 1939: These Glamour Girls
29 Sept. 1939: Dancing Co-Ed
19 April 1940: Two Girls on Broadway
19 July 1940: We Who Are Young
25 April 1941: Ziegfeld Girl
12 Aug. 1941: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
2 Oct. 1941: Honky Tonk
18 Febr. 1942: Johnny Eager
27 Aug. 1942: Somewhere I’ll Find You
1 April 1943: Slightly Dangerous
19 Aug. 1943: Du Barry Was A Lady
13 Nov. 1943: The Youngest Profession
23 Aug. 1944: Marriage Is a Private Affair
8 March 1945: Keep Your Powder Dry
1 Oct. 1945: Week-End At The Waldorf
2 May 1946: The Postman Always Rings Twice
5 Nov. 1947 : Green Dolphin Street
1 Nov. 1947: Cass Timberlane
29 April 1948: Homecoming
20 Oct. 1948: The Three Musketeers
1 Sept. 1950: A Life Of Her Own
2 March 1951: Mr. Imperium
5 Sept. 1952: The Merry Widow
25 Dec. 1952: The Bad And The Beautiful
25 Aug. 1953: Latin Lovers
1 May 1954: Flame And The Flesh
7 Sept. 1954: Betrayed
13 May 1955: The Prodigal
4 June 1955: Sea Chase
14 Dec. 1955: The Rains Of Ranchipur
12 Jan. 1956: Diane
13 Dec. 1957: Peyton Place
30 Jan. 1958: The Lady Takes A Flyer
2 May 1958: Another Time, Another Place
30 April 1959: Imitation Of Life
23 June 1960: Portrait In Black
19 July 1961: By Love Possessed
2 Nov. 1961: Bachelor In Paradise
25 Dec. 1962: Who’s Got The Action?
24 Febr. 1965: Love Has Many Faces
27 April 1966: Madame X
30 April 1969: The Big Cube
7 Nov. 1974: Persecution
27 Oct. 1976: Bittersweet Love
31 Oct. 1980: Witches Brew
21 May 1982: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Lana’s biography “Lana, the Lady, The Legend, The Truth“, “The Films Of Lana Turner” by Lou Valentino and “Lana Turner, The Memories, The Myths and The Movies” by Cheryl Crane.