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George Sidney
Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Vincent Price
Writing Credits:
Robert Ardrey

D'Artagnan and his Musketeer comrades thwart the plans of Cardinal Richelieu to usurp King Louis XIII's power.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 2/15/2022

Looking at London Short
What Price Fleadom Short
• MGM Radio Promo
• Trailer


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The Three Musketeers [Blu-Ray] (1948)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 8, 2022)

Published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers has received numerous cinematic adaptations. 1948 provided one of these, with an all-star cast to boot.

Set in France circa 1825, country bumpkin D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly) heads to Paris to seek adventure as a member of King Louis XIII’s (Frank Morgan) guard. When he arrives, he immediately sparks the ire of musketeers Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young) and Aramis (Robert Coote), but after he shows his talents, all become pals.

Cardinal Richelieu (Vincent Price) plots to thwart the rule of King Louis. This sets the musketeers into action, as they work to preserve the King’s authority.

Got that? Good – now throw that synopsis out the window, as the 1948 Musketeers barely cares about its plot.

Not that the movie becomes some kind of narrative free-for-all, as it does follow the story I describe. However, the film digresses so often that the overall tale becomes lost in the sauce and less important than one might expect.

Really, the 1948 Musketeers exists as little more than a broad romp, one with a surprising emphasis on comedy. In the film’s opening moments, we sense that the filmmakers won’t pursue a dramatic version of the story, as our introduction to D’Artagnan comes packed with goofy stabs at humor.

From there, the 1948 Musketeers becomes a pretty even mix of humor, romance and action. It always remains on the lighter side, though, as even with literal life and death stakes on display, the film lacks much sense of danger or menace.

Which comes as no surprise with Kelly in the lead. The 1948 Musketeers seems tailored for his talents, as Kelly’s D’Artagnan comes across as a perky charmer who feels more like a dancer than a swordsman.

Kelly’s fencing skills feel unconvincing, but his nimble athleticism carries the day. The 36-year-old Kelly seems far too old for the part, but his charisma allows us to ignore this.

As noted, the 1948 Musketeers comes with a solid cast. In addition to those already mentioned, we find notables like Lana Turner, Angela Lansbury, June Allyson and Keenan Wynn.

All play their roles in a broad, borderline campy manner that matches the film’s tone. Really, the 1948 Musketeers often plays more like a parody of the genre than anything else, and the actors’ approach makes sense in this setting.

I can’t claim that this turns into a definitive version of The Three Musketeers, but it becomes an enjoyable one – at least if you find yourself open to a light, comedic presentation. Silly but fun, this winds up as a likable effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

The Three Musketeers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The disc offered a glorious Technicolor presentation.

In terms of sharpness, the movie usually demonstrated nice delineation. If any softness appeared, it remained too modest to make a difference, so this turned into a distinctive image.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and no edge enhancement became apparent. Grain remained appropriate, and no specks, marks or other defects showed up at any time in this fresh presentation.

Colors were strong. I thought flesh tones were a bit on the brown side, but that was a reflection of Technicolor – and too much makeup. Otherwise, the hues tended to be vivid and full.

Blacks seemed deep and dense without too much heaviness. Shadow detail worked similarly well, as dimly-lit shots were appropriately clear and thick. I found little about which to complain here and thought the Blu-ray brought the movie to life in a dazzling manner.

The DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Musketeers appeared fine for its era, and speech felt appropriate. The lines showed age-related thinness, but they were always perfectly intelligible and without edginess.

Effects resembled the dialogue. Those elements lacked much depth but they were without notable problems.

Music was acceptable for its age, as the songs and score tended to be a bit tinny. There wasn’t much range to the music, but again, that stemmed from the limitations of the very old source. This became a perfectly adequate mix for its vintage.

As we shift to extras, we find two shorts from 1948. Looking at London runs 10 minutes, nine seconds and gives us a look at the famed city circa the era. We get a glossy but fun view of England in the late 1940s.

What Price Fleadom goes for six minutes, 57 seconds and provides a cartoon from Tex Avery in which a stray dog lives in peaceful co-existence with a flea until said louse spies a sexy parasite on another pooch and jumps ship.

That’s an interesting concept for a cartoon, but not an especially successful one. Though Fleadom milks a few laughs, it fails to become anything memorable.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate an MGM Radio Promo. This audio feature lasts 14 minutes, four seconds and focuses on the career of actor Lana Turner.

This means we mainly find sound clips from Turner’s movies, all as an attempt to promote Three Musketeers. While I appreciate its presence for archival reasons, the “Promo” remains pretty dull.

One of umpteen adaptations of the novel, the 1948 Three Musketeers stands out due to its light, borderline campy feel. This plays to the strengths of those involved and allows the movie to deliver a fairly fun and frothy adventure. The Blu-ray boasts stunning visuals as well as adequate audio and a smattering of bonus materials. Expect a mostly enjoyable presentation here.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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