AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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At Sword's Point
Alternate Title: Sons of the Musketeers
Director: Lewis Allen (Dir)
Release Date:   Feb 1952
Production Date:   mid-Dec 1949--early Feb 1950
Duration (in mins):   80-81
Duration (in feet):   7,290
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Cast:   Cornel Wilde (D'Artagnan)  
    Maureen O'Hara (Claire Athos)  
    Robert Douglas (Duke de Lavalle)  
    Gladys Cooper (Queen)  
    June Clayworth (Countess Claudine)  
    Dan O'Herlihy (Aramis)  
    Alan Hale Jr. (Porthos)  
    Blanche Yurka (Madam Michon)  
    Nancy Gates (Princess Henriette)  
    Edmond Breon (Queen's chamberlain)  
    Peter Miles (Louis)  
    George Petrie (Chalais)  
    Moroni Olsen (Old Porthos)  
    Boyd Davis (Dr. Fernand)  
    Holmes Herbert (Mallard)  
    Lucien Littlefield (Corporal Gautier)  
    Claude Durkin (Pierre)  
    Joseph Hall (Father Luvoir)  
    Pat O'Moore (Monk)  
    Al Cavens (Ledoux)  
    Mickey McCardle (Queen's messenger)  
    George Magrill (Captain of guard)  
    Bert Hicks (Captain of guard)  
    Barry Brooks (Captain of guard)  
    Fred Aldrich (Executioner)  
    Ned Davenport (Regent guard)  
    Tristram Coffin (Regent guard)  
    John McKee (Regent guard)  
    Fred Kohler (Regent guard)  
    George Holmes (Regent guard)  
    Don Turner (Regent guard)  
    Gregg Barton (Regent guard)  
    Keith McConnell (Captain regent guard)  
    Eric Alden (Captain regent guard)  
    Allen Mathews (Captain regent guard)  
    Glen Gallagher (Captain regent guard)  
    Reginald Sheffield (Cardinal)  
    Julia Dean (Mme. D'Artagnan)  
    George Plues (Planchet)  
    Leo McMahon (Captain)  
    John Epper (Coachman)  
    Tanis Chandler (Mimi)  
    Dewey Robinson (Torturer)  
    Richard Glyn (Mistaken king)  
    James Metcalfe (Sergeant of the guard)  
    Ed Hinton (Sergeant of the guard)  
    Georgia Clancy (Florette)  
    Peter Michaels (Guard)  
    Gregory Marshall (Henrique)  
    Art Dupuis (Servant)  
    Philip Van Zandt (Jacques)  
    Serena McKinney (Maid)  

Summary: In 1648, in the wake of Cardinal Richelieu's demise and the approaching death of the Queen, France is plunged into political chaos. The Queen's most power-hungry opponent is the Duke de Lavalle, who, as a leading member of the Council of Noblemen, is scheming to marry the Queen's daughter Henriette and kill the young Prince. Because Lavalle has murdered every royal messenger who has tried to deliver pleas for help to the King of Spain, the Queen sends her guards to find the Musketeers, four brave men who aided her when she was young. Unknown to the Queen, all of the Musketeers have either died or are too old to return to service. Three of the Musketeers--D'Artagnan, Aramis and Porthos--have grown sons, however, and the young men eagerly respond to the Queen's summons. The fourth Musketeer, Athos, sends his daughter Claire, an expert swordswoman, who dresses in men's clothing. When they all meet at the same inn at which their fathers used to rendezvous, the three young men assume Claire is a man and prepare to room with her. Terrified at the prospect, Claire suddenly lets down her long hair and orders the men to sleep in the stables. The next morning, some of Lavalle's men enter the inn looking for the Musketeers and, without identifying themselves, the new Musketeers challenge them to a sword fight. Later, at the palace, the Musketeers introduce themselves to the Queen, who is surprised but grateful. The Queen asks the Musketeers to escort Henriette to Spain, so that Spain can safely force the Council of Noblemen to reject Lavalle. The sickly Queen then reveals the location of the monastery at which her son has been hiding. Unknown to the Queen, her daughter's trusted lady-in-waiting, Countess Claudine, is a spy for Lavalle and is aware of the Musketeers' plan to abduct Henriette from Lavalle's men. Ordered by the Queen to return home, Claire pledges her love to D'Artagnan before she and the others head off in opposite directions. The three remaining Musketeers then descend on the carriage on which Henriette is traveling, but are trapped by Lavalle's men. Riding nearby, Claire joins the ensuing fracas and is arrested along with the other Musketeers. In prison, Lavalle tries to torture Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan into revealing the Prince's whereabouts, but they, and Claire, remain silent. Desperate to break them, Lavalle orders that the Musketeers be executed one by one, starting with D'Artagnan. Just before he is to die, however, Lavalle offers to spare the Musketeers if the Queen gives him permission to marry Henriette. The Queen accepts Lavalle's terms, and the Musketeers are freed. To Lavalle's shock, a veiled Claire takes Henriette's place at the wedding ceremony, while the other Musketeers whisk Henriette to the inn. There, they hear that the Queen has died. Dressed as a boy, Henriette then leaves with the Musketeers for the monastery, one step ahead of Lavalle's guards. The imprisoned Claire, meanwhile, is befriended by Claudine, who helps her to escape and, after declaring that the other Musketeers are dead, coaxes her into revealing the Prince's location. Before leaving with Claire, Claudine gets word to Lavalle, whose men race to the monastery, arriving ahead of the Musketeers. When Claire sees Porthos guarding the road to the monastery, she deduces Claudine's betrayal and alerts Porthos. Claudine is captured and taken to the inn, where she confesses Lavalle's plan to murder the Prince. To determine where Lavalle has taken the Prince, Claire poses as a seductive barmaid and lures one of Lavalle's guards into a trap. After the man reveals that the Prince is being held at Lavalle's heavily guarded castle, the Musketeers scour the countryside, soliciting aid from the peasantry. While the peasants prepare to storm the castle, the Musketeers convince Claudine that they are surrendering and allow her to deliver them to Lavalle. Moments before the castle is besieged, the Musketeers take Lavalle by surprise, while Claire grabs the Prince. During the ensuing fight, Lavalle takes the Prince hostage, but D'Artagnan outmaneuvers him and kills him in a sword fight. With the crown finally secure, the Musketeers pledge their loyalty to the new King. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lewis Allen (Dir)
  William Dorfman (Asst dir)
Producer: Sid Rogell (Exec prod)
  Jerrold T. Brandt (Prod)
Writer: Walter Ferris (Scr)
  Joseph Hoffman (Scr)
  Aubrey Wisberg (Story)
  Jack Pollexfen (Story)
Photography: Ray Rennahan (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Jack Okey (Art dir)
Film Editor: Samuel E. Beetley (Film ed)
  Robert Golden (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  William Stevens (Set dec)
Costumes: Edward Stevenson (Gowns)
Music: Roy Webb (Mus)
  C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Sound: John Cass (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Make Up: Mel Berns (Makeup artist)
  Larry Germain (Hairstylist)
Color Personnel: William Fritzsche (Technicolor col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 8/2/1952 dd/mm/yyyy LP1590

PCA NO: 14308
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  col: Technicolor

 
Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Historical
 
Subjects (Major): Assassination
  France--History--17th century
  Musketeers
  Nobility
  Royalty
  Usurpers
 
Subjects (Minor): Barmaids
  Castles
  Escapes
  Executions
  Impersonation and imposture
  Imprisonment
  Inns
  Male impersonation
  Monasteries
  Peasantry
  Spies
  Sword fights
  Torture
  Traps

Note: The working title of this film was Sons of the Musketeers . According to a Sep 1946 HR news item, independent producer-director Walter Colmes purchased Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen's screen story for $25,000. In Mar 1947, HR announced that Republic, a studio with which Colmes frequently co-produced pictures, had purchased the story. By Oct 1949, the story had been acquired by Jerrold T. Brandt, according to HR . Long-time character actor Alan Hale, Sr., father of Alan Hale, Jr., who played "Porthos" in the picture, was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the role of "Porthos, Sr." but died on 22 Jan 1950 before completing the part. Moroni Olsen, who portrayed "Porthos" in RKO's 1935 film The Three Musketeers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ), replaced Hale, Sr. In late Sep 1950, HR announced that Cornel Wilde was returning from England to star in added scenes. The exact dates of the added scenes have not been determined. According to modern sources, RKO producers Norman Krasna and Jerry Wald oversaw the retakes at the request of RKO head Howard Hughes. For information about other films featuring the "Musketeer" characters, see entry for the 1948 M-G-M picture The Three Musketeers in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   2 Feb 1952.   
Daily Variety   23 Jan 52   p. 3.
Film Daily   4 Feb 52   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Sep 1946.   
Hollywood Reporter   20 Mar 1947.   
Hollywood Reporter   7 Oct 1949.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Dec 1949.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jan 50   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jan 50   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   3 Feb 50   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Sep 50   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Dec 51   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Jan 52   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Jan 52   p. 1214.
New York Times   10 Apr 52   p. 37.
Variety   23 Jan 52   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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