King Louis XIII of France is thrilled to have born to him a son - an heir to the throne. But when the queen delivers a twin, Cardinal Richelieu sees the second son as a potential for ... See full summary »
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King Louis XIII of France is thrilled to have born to him a son - an heir to the throne. But when the queen delivers a twin, Cardinal Richelieu sees the second son as a potential for revolution, and has him sent off to Spain to be raised in secret to ensure a peaceful future for France. Alas, keeping the secret means sending Constance, lover of D'Artagnan, off to a convent. D'Artagnan hears of this and rallies the Musketeers in a bid to rescue her. Unfortunately, Richelieu out-smarts the Musketeers and banishes them forever. Richelieu enlists D'Artagnan to look after and protect the young prince. Meanwhile, de Rochefort learns of the twins and Richelieu's plans, and kidnaps the twin, raising him in secret. Many years later, with Richelieu dead and the young prince crowned King Louis XIV, Rochefort launches his plan. The king is kidnapped, replaced with his twin, put in an iron mask so as not to be recognized, and led off to a remote castle to be held prisoner. Louis XIV is able to ... Written by
Theron Trowbridge <Tmonk@concentric.net>
In the prologue the four musketeers stand in a framing device, as a medieval stage booth, and D'Artagnan steps forward and speaks to the audience, then steps back and resumes his position with the other three, who remained motionless; after the mid-point intermission, the same situation is repeated, with D'Artagnan speaking again to the audience, finishing with the words, "once more, once more . . . ", after which the film resumes with the title card "20 years later". These were the first lines of dialogue ever spoken on film by Douglas Fairbanks, in his last silent film. See more »
Douglas Fairbanks and his "fond farewell to the swash-buckling silents"
One of the best versions of The Man in the Iron Mask and one of Douglas Fairbanks' best films too. Details-wise, The Iron Mask might deviate from the book but the spirit of the story still remains, and in a much better way than most of the versions that followed it. It does feel rushed at times, and William Bakewell does do much better as the good twin than the evil twin, as the good twin he is sincere but as the evil twin he does over-egg the pudding too much. The sets and costumes are beautiful with the attention to detail authentic, while the photography is equally effective like the shadowy effects in the prison scenes that are most atmospheric. Carl Davis' score fits the action very well and sounds sweeping in an appropriate way. The film is written in a snappy way, the story is as fun, energetic, exciting and tense as the story of The Man in the Iron Mask is, the ending is genuinely moving(and not just mildly, this is emotional stuff) and the action is rousing and leaves you at the edge of your seat biting your nails and cheering for the heroes. Douglas Fairbanks is an as ever lively presence, with stunts and athletic moves that are the envy of anybody regardless of their age, but brings also pathos to his performance as well. In support, everybody is very good but Nigel De Brulier is broadly venomous, Margarite De LaMotte will leave you really identifying with Constance and rooting for her and Ulrich Haupt is a sinister Rochefort but with somewhat a charm of his own. All in all, well worth looking out for, Fairbanks' touted farewell to silent swash-bucklers is an excellent film. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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