When French King Louis XIV (Beau Bridges) learns that his twin brother, Philippe (Beau Bridges), could usurp his crown, he sets out to imprison him in the Bastille prison but four loyal musketeers are protecting Philippe.
King Louis XIV (Beau Bridges) has without his knowledge a twin brother, Philippe (Beau Bridges), but when he is told, he immediately locks up his brother in the Bastille. The King wants to increase his popularity and stages an assassination against himself where Philippe is dressed as King Louis. But Philippe manages to escape the assassination and everybody believes him to be the real King.Written by
D'Artagnan was portrayed by Cornel Wilde in this movie and was the latest of many screen appearances for one of the most popular heroes of all time. First, beginning in 1915, D'Artagnan was portrayed in several early Biograph one and two-reelers. D'Artagnan made a major screen debut in the first lavish version of The Three Musketeers (1921) with Douglas Fairbanks in the role. Fairbanks also returned to the part in the initial screen version of The Man in the Iron Mask (1928). Walter Abel portrayed the first D'Artagnan in a movie with sound in The Three Musketeers (1935), and a short time afterward, Don Ameche had filled the adventurer's boots in the book's second re-adaptation, The Three Musketeers (1939), a movie that featured The Ritz Brothers. The production notes for this movie stated: "But Cornel Wilde probably brings the greatest authority to the character as a skillful fencer, who, at an early age, won National Fencing Championship titles and even landed himself a position on the U.S. Olympic Games Fencing Team," See more »
I may be getting married, but I'll be damned if I'll miss a full day's hunting just for that.
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In the longer version, titled Behind the Iron Mask, Sylvia Kristel, Beau Bridges and Ursula Andress are credited simultaneously (in this order). However, Bridges' name is positioned slightly higher on screen than the two ladies. This way it can appear that either Bridges is top billed (being the highest credit of the three) or Kristel (when reading from left to right). A similar construction was employed during the opening credits of Jaws (1975) for it's three leads. See more »
The US release, running 1 hour and 44 minutes, was cut from an original version released overseas, running 1 hour and 56 minutes. Scenes excised from the US release:
An extended scene of Louise de la Valliere's striptease for Louis XIV, exposing her full nudity.
A scene of the Four Musketeers in their prison cell. They play a game of dice, tricking their jailers by inviting them into their game, then restraining them and grabbing their keys for release. Their escape is short-lived, as they see a party of rifle-aiming guards awaiting them. The Captain flatters their ingenuity, but urges them to return to their cell.
An intro to the Musketeers and Philippe in the wine cellar of Bernard's Inn. They come out of hiding in empty wine casks.
An extended scene of the Spanish Ambassador being fatally assaulted by the horse in the stable.
A love scene of Philippe and Marie Theresa in bed together.
A dressed Philippe seeing Marie Theresa sleeping in bed. She awakes.
An extended scene of Marie Theresa dressing, exposing her breasts.
A love scene of Louis and Louise in bed together. The exposed Louise questions Louis' decision to let Philippe live. Louis argues that he is his brother, but assures her that he will eventually die in the Iron Mask, perhaps strangling in the long beard he will grow inside it.
An extended scene to Fouquet watching Colbert and Marie Theresa's Spanish-language conversion. He brings out a spy.
An extended scene of Colbert heading to Bernard's Inn. Fouquet's spy follows Colbert. Bernard plays dumb to the spy's questions.
An extended scene of Louis trying to rape Marie Theresa. The two fall off the bed with Marie Theresa moving away from his grasp (to drug Louis' goblet)
An extended scene of Louise being stood up in her dinner date with Louis. She shouts at the musicians to stop.
An extended scene of the Musketeers meeting with Marie Theresa. D'Artagnan throws his cloak around the breast-exposed princess.
Fouquet shows Colbert the rack, demonstrating its work by pulling a stuffed dummy apart.
An extended scene of Aramis' death. He is able to throw his Parrying Dagger at his assailant, killing him.
An extended scene of Philippe's duel with Louis. Philippe is able to wound Louis in the thigh.
Since the copy I acquired of this film bears the year of copyright as 1977, I can only assume it was delayed by 2 years because it was preceded by the 1977 TV version of THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK – given that the title under review is merely another adaptation of this classic Alexandre Dumas tale! Made on a grand scale, with a large and international star-studded cast, the film apparently intended to ape the jokey style of Richard Lester's recent two-part (1973/1974) rendition of Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". However, director Annakin was too much of an old-style film-maker to make that work and, in any case, his handling is generally uninspired – merely content to let the script (reworking James Whale's superior 1939 version!), the actors and Jack Cardiff's gorgeous color photography tell the tale, as it were (aided, of course, by Riz Ortolani's suitably rousing score).
Amusingly, top billing here goes to the ladies: heroine Sylvia Kristel (fresh off the erotic "Emmanuelle" series, she even gets away with some very mild nudity!) and villainess Ursula Andress (at the tail-end of her stardom really but surprisingly enthusiastic). Incidentally, one of the novelties here is that Andress' Mademoiselle La Valliere (I was not familiar with the character when I encountered her in J. Sheridan LeFanu's "The Room In The Dragon Volant", which I subsequently turned into a script!) gets much more screen-time than her equivalent in the 1939 'original'; indeed, the two women have a number of confrontations throughout – notably when Andress sets a falcon on Kristal. The male lead, however, was a gross miscalculation as Beau Bridges' style of acting is too modern to pass muster in a period romp and in this company (though he must have relished getting close to two beauties such as he is flanked by here)! A measure of the (cynical) times, however, is the fact that the assassination attempt on the King (for which, being aware of it, he has deliberately sent his unwitting twin) resolves itself not by a persuasively sympathetic speech as in the 1939 version but rather a full-bloodied yet highly improbable action sequence! The Four Musketeers, then, are played up as much older than in the earlier version (they still get involved in plenty of derring-do but only 2 expire at the end): Cornel Wilde is D'Artagnan, Jose' Ferrer Athos, Lloyd Bridges (yes, Beau's dad!) Aramis and Alan Hale Jr. in his own real-life father's old role as Porthos – interestingly, 27 years prior to this, Wilde and Hale had appeared together in a similar swashbuckler, actually playing the sons of their respective characters here, AT SWORD'S POINT (1952)!
Likewise, an over-age Rex Harrison 'replaces' Walter Kingsford as the Musketeers' court insider – though the muddled script fails to properly explain the reason behind the beating he receives towards the end! Ian McShane, on the other hand, is perhaps too young for the villainous Fouquet and, again, he emanates from a school of acting which jars with the rest of his colleagues (though he is certainly fun to watch). Olivia De Havilland (in her final theatrical appearance), then, is something of an embarrassment – popping up in a couple of scenes (confronting one Bridges and acknowledging another) as the former Queen-turned-Nun and Bernard Bresslaw (who seems to have strayed in from the "Carry On" series) is a blind inn-keeper! The prologue depicting the children's birth and enforced separation has been dropped here – presumably to instill an air of mystery into the proceedings; oddly, too, the all-important mask is given an impossibly clunky design (looking very much like a cooking-pot!). Finally, I have just realized that the version of the film I acquired and watched was 13 minutes short of the full-length running-time!
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