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The Purple Mask (1955)

Approved | | Adventure, History | 28 October 1955 (Belgium)
In 1803 France, Napoleon Bonaparte (Robert Cornthwaite) orders the capture of notorious highwayman "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who routinely rescues imprisoned nobles and harasses the Revolutionary officials.


H. Bruce Humberstone (as Bruce Humberstone)


Oscar Brodney (screenplay), Paul Armont (play) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Rene de Traviere aka The Purple Mask
Colleen Miller ... Laurette de Latour
Gene Barry ... Capt. Charles Laverne
Dan O'Herlihy ... Brisquet
Angela Lansbury ... Madame Valentine
George Dolenz ... Marcel Cadonal
John Hoyt ... Rochet
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Andre Majolin
Robert Cornthwaite ... Napoleon Bonaparte
Stephen Bekassy Stephen Bekassy ... Baron De Morleve
Paul Cavanagh ... Duc de Latour
Myrna Hansen Myrna Hansen ... Constance de Voulois
Allison Hayes ... Irene de Bournotte
Jane Howard Jane Howard ... Yvonne de Tressy (as Betty Jane Howarth)
Carl Milletaire Carl Milletaire ... Edouard


France, 1803: eleven years after the Revolution, a royalist underground is led by a new "Scarlet Pimpernel", the "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who rescues nobles in distress and kidnaps Napoleon Bonaparte's (Robert Cornthwaite's) officials for ransom, aided by the spy services of a group of lovely models headed by Laurette de Latour (Colleen Miller), Duc de Latour's (Paul Cavanagh's) daughter. But even she doesn't know the Purple Mask's real identity as foppish dancing master Rene de Traviere. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The life and loves of adventure's greatest rogue!


Adventure | History


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Dame Angela Lansbury and Gene Barry appeared in an episode of "Murder, She Wrote" (1984) entitled "Test of Wills" which aired 26 November 1989. See more »


The cart enters a French forest to the sound of an Australian kookaburra. See more »


Referenced in The Patty Duke Show: The History Paper Caper (1965) See more »

User Reviews

Long live the king!Down with the usurper!
2 December 2020 | by ulicknormanowenSee all my reviews

1803 was an important date for the royalists : the count de Lille , future Louis the XVIII th ,then in exile , confirmed his claim to the throne as a monarch by divine right ; but unlike what the purple mask says to the noble he rescues in the first sequence ,the terror was over since 1794 ,after the fall of Robespierre;there were aristocrat conspiracies ,notably by Cadoudal an ex-chouan leader (counter -revolution in Vendée ),and the Duke of Enghien ,but only the first one was guillotined ,because he was born a commoner ;the nobles were shot ,imprisoned or exiled ;the scene when the aristocrats are waiting to be beheaded is an anachronism ,and could have taken place ten years before.Napoleon's most famous cop,Fouché ,is represented here by Brisquet whose part is small in the screenplay.

Forget French history ; there was at the time ,a huge conspiracy to abduct Napoleon himself but it failed and the culprits were arrested and chastised . In the movie, they only kidnap a politician to hold him to ransom to get money to help the nobles flee from their homeland (or prepare the usurper's fall) ; thanks to Tony Curtis, who possesses dynamism and charm aplenty , the movie is quite entertaining,supported by a good cast '(Angela Lansbury,Gene Barrry) ,and a smart screenplay (the purple mask is particularly astute in his would be arrestation);on the other hand ,Robert Cornthwaite is rather ill-at -ease as the emperor.And Colleen Miller is no match for Janet Leigh .

But the principal makes it a good swashbuckler for a rainy day.

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Release Date:

28 October 1955 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

Die purpurrote Maske See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

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