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 alert D'Artagnan, who realizes that only his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis can help him, so he reunites the Musketeers to derail Rochefort's nefarious plot but at a heavy toll.
Running Time: 95 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
It's a silent film, so I was a little hesitant at first as to whether or not I would be able to get into it and really enjoy it. After all aside from seeing little clips of Charlie Chaplin movies and Nosferatu, I really have never watched a silent film.
The Iron Mask has Dumas' Musketeers separated by the King of France. The King is adamant about keeping the birth of his son's twin a secret. He has ordered exile for anyone who even remotely knows about the twin and even sends the twin son to Spain. "Twin sons could mean a revolution" exclaims the King.
All that planning falls apart though when an evil representative from the King's court secretly plots to usurp the new King with his twin brother (who has become quite evil himself) many years later.
The two succeed and the evil brother is placed on the throne while the actual King is imprisoned. Fearing any type of recognition, the new King places an iron mask over the head of his brother so no one can tell who he is.
It is up to the noble D'Artagnan and his Musketeers to save the King and remove the evil twin from the throne.
I was really worried up into about twenty minutes of the film. I was having a hard time following a long because I'm just not used to silent films. After twenty minutes I had adjusted and really got into the story. The action is superb for a film this old and reading the cards with the story and dialogue became second nature after a while. It was as easy to get into this film as any other.
How to review the acting is going to be another story. How can one when he's only seen a couple of silent films? All I know is that the facial expressions, movement and sincerity was all there to go along well with the story. If they had been wooden I probably would not have been able to get into it. Throughout the film I began to care more and more about the characters which is really what an Alexandre Dumas story is about, not just the action, but your attachment to the swashbuckling heroes. Epionions.com
Every time I see the ending, my eyes mist, especially as I realize we're seeing Fairbanks'last silent work, which makes it all the more touching. Allan Dwan was a master, and an unappreciated one. This is more than likely his finest work, and one that doesn't seem to get its proper due. A must see if you haven't already.
Alexandre Dumas pere
MArguerite De La Motte
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