Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Three Musketeers (1948) with a cast of favorites

Just passing along a quick movie recommendation, the 1948 version of The Three Musketeers, starring Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, June Allyson, Van Heflin, Angela Lansbury, Vincent Price, and a cast of favorites.

By far the best and worst thing about this version is the casting of Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan, the dashing young French swordsman. In acting scenes, Gene Kelly is a completely ridiculous choice for D'Artagnan. He's such an iconic American presence and emanates such a distinctly American charisma that he's pretty much the least Gallic actor I can think of for the role, short of casting John Wayne -- which, I have to admit, would make for a really interesting and terrible movie, now that I think of it.

But in the fencing scenes Kelly is nothing short of amazing. He is just unbelievably athletic and quick and graceful. It's pretty much everything that made some of his best dancing scenes so memorable, but with a sword.

Fortunately, the rest of the movie is so well cast and so likeable that it becomes relatively easy to overlook the oddity of the smiling 36-year-old Irish American actor trying to project the angst of a French teenager. Lana Turner has a fabulously juicy role as the beautiful and treacherous Lady de Winter, and a lot of other familiar faces tear up the scenery with equal enthusiasm. Vincent Price is especially good as scheming Cardinal Richelieu.

It also makes a really good family film. Not in the "everything is innocuous and bland" Disney kind of way, but in the sense that there's lots in there to entertain both kids and adults alike, without containing anything too terrible for the youngsters to see.

So, flaws and all, I say check it out. It's coming on cable again in just a couple of weeks.

Next cable showing: Wed., June 10, 12:00 PM, TCM (Turner Classic Movies)
Netflix Listing: The Three Musketeers (1948)
IMBD: The Three Musketeers (1948)

1 comment:

  1. I, too, enjoyed what I saw of this film, falling asleep on our comfy sofa half way through.