George Nader’s 24 year acting career comprised a selection of impressively varied and diverse productions. Between 1950 and 1974 he worked on the stage, in movies and on the small screen. He appeared in movies and TV shows made in a variety of different countries, including the USA, Germany, the Philippines and others.
From uncredited bit-parts to star turns, his career also featured all manner of different kinds of role. It is one of his leading roles, and a title role to boot, that we’re going to focus on here. The year was 1962 and Nader was to take on the role of D’Artagnan; a character originally featured in Alexandre Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’.
The Secret Mark of D’Artagnan
The Secret Mark of D’Artagnan was an Italian-French adventure movie released in 1962. The film borrowed characters and themes from the novel ‘The Three Musketeers’ by Alexandre Dumas. It was not, however, an adaptation of Dumas’ work. Instead its plot told a story supposedly from the time between ‘The Three Musketeers’ and Dumas’ sequel ‘Twenty Years After’.
That placed the film’s story in 1632 and saw Nader’s D’Artagnan take centre stage. He is tasked with a dangerous mission by Cardinal Richelieu, who had previously been an enemy of the musketeers. D’Artagnan must investigate and thwart a violent plot against King Louis XIII, perpetrated by a band of villainous noblemen.
Old ally, Porthos comes to D’Artagnan’s aid in his mission and the two work together to uncover the truth of the plot. Plenty of swashbuckling action ensues, as does no little romance when the musketeers meet the beautiful daughter of a nefarious duke and her equally beguiling friend.
Ultimately, D’Artagnan succeeds in uncovering the nobles plotting against the King. To point them out to the Cardinal and the crown, he gives each an elaborate scar on their forehead with his sword. In the shape of an ‘X’, that scar is the secret mark that gives the film its name.
George Nader’s Co-Stars
The Porthos to Nader’s D’Artagnan was played by Italian Mario Petri. Petri starred in 18 motion pictures between 1960 and 1965 but was actually best known as an operatic bass-baritone. He performed in operas all around Europe and was most renowned for his performance of Mozart and Rossini roles.
The two major female parts in The Secret Mark of D’Artagnan were played by Magali Noël and Alessandra Panaro. Panaro played Diana, the beautiful daughter of the Duke of Montserrat. Noël took the role of Carlotta, one of Diana’s friends. The pair initially nursed D’Artagnan back to health after a fight and ultimately became the love interests of he and Porthos. The Italian Panaro’s acting career was largely limited to Italian films in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Noël, meanwhile, was a French actress and singer who had an extraordinarily long-lived career. Between 1951 and 1980, she acted in multilingual films of all shapes and sizes, including under the direction of the legendary Federico Fellini. Throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, she continued to work in a range of different TV movies.