These days, far too often do audiences take for granted the skill and planning that goes into making a fight sequence in a film seem believable. When done right, movie fight choreography can redefine the way that viewers respond to on-screen action. In our era of CGI, wirework and jaw-dropping stunts, cinematic fights offer more bang for the buck than ever before. But a large portion of what we see today can be traced back to 1948’s The Three Musketeers — a hugely influential masterpiece that helped pioneer the art of movie fight choreography.
Originally released in October of 1948 (and earning over $8,000,000 in box office receipts), MGM’s lavish and colorful adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel follows adventurous young provincial noble D’Artagnan (Gene Kelly) as he encounters romance and intrigue when he joins royal guardsmen Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young), and Aramis (Robert Coote) to fight injustice in the court of France’s King Louis XIII.
With a star-packed supporting cast that included Lana Turner, June Allyson, Angela Lansbury, Frank Morgan, and Vincent Price, The Three Musketeers became the gold standard for action/adventure pictures of the era, and in many ways, it still is due to its far-reaching cultural impact. It has just been released on DVD from the Warner Archive Collection, ensuring that future generations will get to immerse themselves in the film’s swashbuckling thrills, glorious dialogue and eternal message of friendship.