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Film / The Three Musketeers (1948)

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The Three Musketeers is a 1948 film directed by George Sidney, based on the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

The All-Star Cast includes Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan, Van Heflin as Athos, Gig Young as Porthos, Robert Coote as Aramis, Vincent Price as Richelieu, Lana Turner as Milady de Winter, June Allyson as Constance Bonacieux, Frank Morgan as King Louis XIII, Angela Lansbury as Queen Anne, and Keenan Wynn as Planchet.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Richelieu starts laughing when he sees the carte blance he wrote for Milady and realizes how D’Artagnan has trapped him.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Athos’s history with Milady is altered so her initial crimes were committed after she married him and he was the one who turned her over to be branded after discovering them.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Felton never kills Buckingham and dies at Milady's hands.
  • Adaptational Job Change: This film always refers to Richelieu as the prime minister, and avoids mentioning his religious career. This was due to pressure from Christian groups, but seems to be unique in that this is the only (or one of few cases) where Richelieu has been subjected to this.
  • Adaptational Name Change: The name Milady de Winter married Athos under is stated to be Charlotte rather than Anne.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Bonacieux is presented as a man sincerely concern for the safety of his goddaughter rather than a cowardly Jerkass.
  • Adaptation Distilation: The film merges Milady's imprisonment by Buckingham and her deception of Constance at the convent.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the novel, D'Artagnan's love interest Constance is (unhappily) married to his landlord. In this film, she is the landlord's unmarried goddaughter instead and marries D’Artagnan.
  • Adapted Out: Although the film sticks close to the text some plot elements were removed
    • Lord de Winter, Milady's brother in law and his subplot.
    • Felton's role in Buckingham's murder
    • Bonacieux's subplot as a spy for the Cardinal is cut.
    • The Executioner of Lille's specific vendetta against Milady
  • Artistic Licence – History:
    • Historically, the Siege of La Rochelle had the French besieging the Huguenots inside the town, while here the English are the ones besieging the French. While historically, Buckingham did make efforts to aid the Protestant defenders of La Rochelle, there never was any open state of war between England and France at this period.
    • Felton, Buckingham's assassin in history and Dumas is killed off and isn't the one who kills Buckingham.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Constance is murdered by Milady leaving D'Artagnan a widower and the quartet are forced to resign from the Musketeers and part ways, still they are able to avenge themselves on Milady and avoid any punishment.
  • Bowdlerize: The religious aspects of the original book are largely removed. Richelieu is never referred to as a Cardinal. The young priest Milady seduced is only obliquely described as a man living in seclusion and sworn to celibacy and her former status as a nun is omitted. The conflict between the French Catholics and the Protestant Huguenot at La Rochelle is changed to a war between the French and the English with the English besieging La Rochelle.
  • Chandelier Swing: D'Artagnan does a chandelier swing during a fight scene.
  • Combat Parkour: Gene Kelley gets to show off his agility.
  • Composite Character:
    • Constance takes Felton’s role as Milady’s jailer.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: D'Artagnan completely dominates Jussac in a Humiliation Conga lasting several minutes. Jussac fares slightly better in their second encounter, but does not survive.
  • Death by Adaptation: Jussac is killed by D’Artagnan.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Bonacieux only has one scene.
    • The other Musketeers servants(Grimauld, Mousqueton, and Bazin) only appear during the ride to London. Still better than most adaptations.
  • Evil Chancellor: Prime Minister Richelieu.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Unlike the book, Milady goes to her death quietly after Athos kisses her farewell.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Sadly Constance fails to realize how vindictive Milady is...
    Athos: "They set an angel to watch Satan."
  • Graceful Loser: Richelieu takes his defeat with good humor and allows the Musketeers to peacefully resign, even restoring Athos' estates and giving d'Artagan a diplomatic commission.
  • Large Ham: Gene Kelly goes absolutely bonkers as d'Artagnan, especially in the fight scenes.
  • Mood Whiplash: Most of the film has a very comedic tone, but then the third act comes...
  • Named by the Adaptation: Athos’ real name is given as Robert.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Athos stops Porthos and Aramis from interfering D'Artagnan's "duel" with Jussac just so they can sit back and enjoy.
    Athos: "Gentleman! No, come watch."
  • Right-Hand Cat: Richelieu, the Evil Chancellor plotting to destroy both the Queen and the Musketeers, has a cat that he holds and pets.
  • Villain Respect: Richelieu is impressed enough by D’Artagnan’s skills, he wants him for his own guard.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Richelieu is doing what he thinks is best for France, including ordering the assassination of Buckingham to stop a bloody war.