"The Three Musketeers" (1948) has got to be the best screen adaptation of the beloved Dumas literary classic. I had all but given up hope to have this on dvd! Gene Kelly is brilliant in the lead roll as D'Artagnan, and petite June Allyson (Little Women (1949) his love interest, Constance. Their comic performance in this classic is one not to be missed! The beautiful Lana Turner and the devious Vincent Price give a touch of elegant charm as the villains. Filmed in gorgeous Technicolor, this MGM jewel is one for the collection!
Also included is the Gregory Peck seafaring tale, "Captain Horatio Hornblower," in which Peck gives a fine performance. In 1807, unflappable Capt. Hornblower (Peck) of the British Navy is sent on a secret mission to divert Napoleon's Spanish allies by sponsoring a megalomaniac's Central American revolution. After a hard voyage, unexpected complications force Hornblower to revise his plans...and play reluctant host to the beautiful sister (Virginia Mayo) of the Duke of Wellington. Sea-battles, remarkable adventures, and a star-crossed romantic interlude follow.
A stellar cast give fine performances in another literary classic brought to film in the 1949 "Madame Bovary." French author Gustave Flaubert (James Mason) is on trial for writing the "indecent" novel "Madame Bovary." To prove that he wrote a moral tale, Flaubert narrates the story of beautiful Emma Bovary, (beautiful Jennifer Jones (Duel in the Sun (1946) an adulteress who destroyed the lives of everyone she came in contact with. The film also stars French actor, Louis Jourdan (GiGi (1958) and Van Heflin (Possessed (1947)
Two versions of the literary classic, "The Prisoner of Zenda" are also included. David O. Selznicks's 1937 version is a classic swashbuckler. Maj.Rudolph Rassendyll, (Ronald Colman) which is Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king. While doing so, his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his younger brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia (lovely Madeleine Carroll) the cousin's betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé.
The 1952 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda" stars Stewart Granger as Maj Rudolph Rassendyll, and Deborah Kerr as the Princess Flavia. The story is beautifully filmed in Technicolor with Granger and Kerr giving fine performances, especially Granger that excelled in swashbuckling tales such as this and my personal favorite, "Scaramouche (1952).
The sixth and final literary classic brought to film is the 1962 version of "Billy Budd." Billy (Terence Stamp) is an innocent, naive seaman in the British Navy in 1797. When the ship's sadistic master-at-arms (evilly played by Robert Ryan) is murdered; Billy is accused and tried. Great performances by Peter Ustinov, Melvyn Douglas, Terence Stamp, and especially Robert Ryan, who certainly deserved what he got!
Any serious dvd collector of classic Hollywood films will definitely add these gems to their library and be glad that they did!