The part of D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers (1948) is incredibly physically demanding and athletic. It’s hard not to include the actor and stunt double for the role as they both come together to make a perfect whole. If you look closely, there is hardly any room in the film for a stunt double, as Kelly rarely has his back to the camera. He admits in several interviews that although he did most of his own stunts, there was just one aspect of the character he wouldn’t do, he wouldn’t ride a horse. So the nod for 1948 goes to Gene Kelly and his stunt double Dave Sharpe for this film.
In a Reflections interview in 1991, Kelly said, “In Three Musketeers I did practically every one of my stunts, but I never rode the horses. I’m a bad rider. The horses threw a lot of the riders. I was chicken to get on a horse, so I used a double.” In the Hollywood Album, he wrote, “Every time I think about The Three Musketeers I want to groan…ouch! I feel sore and stiff at just the thought of it. Never become a film actor if you are allergic to work. D’Artagnan was quite a guy, but I wish he had taken things more calmly. I had to go into training for that picture just like a prize fighter before a fight. …We studied two hours a day with Jean Heremans, the national fencing champion of Belgium, to learn how to fence. What a genius he was. When he had finished with us we, who were greenhorns, were able to fight with one hand tied behind. It was hard work.”
Dave Hardin Sharpe probably holds the honor of being in more films (albeit, often uncredited as a stuntman) than any other person in Hollywood history. Sharpe’s film/TV resume, if complete, would likely total more than 5000 entries. Ranks with Yakima Canutt as Hollywood’s premier stuntman. Sharpe told film historian Mark Hall, “When Shana Alexander interviewed me for Life magazine in 1952, she gave up after 4,000. At one time or another, I’ve worked for every studio in Hollywood, for almost every director with most of the actors and actresses.”
The Three Musketeers is directed by George Sydney for Loew’s.
Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):
History of film companies as defined by Wikipedia: Loew’s – Loews Theatres, aka Loews Incorporated (originally Loew’s), founded in 1904 by Marcus Loew and Brantford Schwartz, was the oldest theater chain operating in North America until it merged with AMC Theatres on January 26, 2006. From 1924 until 1959, it was also the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. The Loews name is still used by AMC in many markets. Its slogan was “Thank you for coming to Loews, sit back and relax, enjoy the show!!!”, which was used in the chain’s theater policy ads from the 1980s through the 1990s, when Sony rebranded the chain.
The company was originally called “Loew’s”, after the founder, Marcus Loew. In 1969, when the Tisch brothers acquired the company, it became known as “Loews”.
To provide quality films for his theaters, Loew founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) in 1924, by merging the earlier firms Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions. Loew’s Incorporated served as distribution arm and parent company for the studio until the two were forced to separate by the 1948 U.S. Supreme Court ruling “United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.”. The two companies officially split in 1959.