The Iron Mask
February 21, 1929
This film has the interesting distinction of occurring at the very end of the silent movie era and the dawn of the “talkie”. In this way, you have a silent movie – where you don’t actually hear what the characters are saying – but you still have sound effects and a voice over narration. It gave it sort of a news report feel – where you see what’s happening in the background of the narration. The story is based on part of the novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas. You get a little bit of the Four Musketeers story and a little bit of the Man in the Iron Mask legend.
I thought that this movie’s take on the legend was very interesting and slightly different than any of the other versions I have read about. In this film Queen Anne gave birth to twins (only one of which most people knew about) – one was the future King Louis XIV and the other was only know as “the other one”. The interesting twist in this storyline is that “the other one” took over the King’s place and King Louis XIV became the Man in the Iron Mask. After d’Artagnan rescued him from his prison and they proved the false King, “the other one” was put in the iron mask and sent off to prison. So in this story, both of the twins had been the Man in the Iron Mask.
I also thought that the producers were at least slightly successful in attempting to give a little bit of the political reason for hiding the twin. I had not watched any of the musketeer movies and I enjoyed the “all for one, one for all” aspect of it, but this movie primarily focused on d’Artagnan.
Overall, while this may not have been the most detailed and plausible Man in the Iron Mask movie, I very much enjoyed the medium in was presented in. It was a fun, swashbuckling, old-school adventure. Douglas Fairbanks was a good narrator and I enjoyed his portrayal of d’Artagnan and I loved his short lived relationship with Constance (played by Marguerite de la Motte) – that was a fun romance!
This movie is available in its entirety on YouTube OpenFlix or on demand on Netflix.
Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court