Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Overlooked Movies -- The Man in the Iron Mask

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I can't resist a movie about the Three Musketeers.  So naturally I like The Man in the Iron Mask.  Don't worry, Leonardo DiCaprio isn't one of the Musketeers.  They're played by Jeremy Irons (Aramis), Gerard Depardieu (Porthos), and John Malkovich (Athos).  They're all older now, not serving as Musketeers, but their friend D'Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne) is and has become the Captain.  Now if I'd been casting a movie about this group, one of the last people I'd have thought of would've been John Malkovich, but he's excellent, as are the others.  Leo is King Louis XIV, and [SPOILER ALERT] he's also Louis' twin brother, Phillipe.  [END OF SPOILER ALERT]

I suspect that most of you know the plot of this story already, but maybe not from having read the book.  I haven't read the book, either, but I did read the Classics Illustrated comic book long ago.  From what I've been told about the book and from what I remember about the comic book, the movie's not exactly true to its source.   That doesn't matter.  It has swordfights and derring-do, and that's what counts.

The plot is pretty complicated in the telling, although it simple enough to watch it play out in the movie.  Raoul, Athos' son and new Musketeer, is in love with a woman whom Louis falls for.  He always gets what he wants, even if it means pulling a King David and sending a new Musketeer off to the front lines to be killed.  When that happens Athos vows revenge.  He tries to go it alone, but that doesn't work out well.  Porthos and Athos decide to help, so they dust off their old uniforms and decide to replace the king with someone else.  There's this rumor, see, about a prisoner in an iron mask . . . .

I won't say anything else about the plot, in case there's someone reading this who doesn't know how things play out.  Okay, I will say that several people die, and they're not always the right ones (or the ones I wanted to see die, at any rate).  This isn't a great movie, but it's a good bit of fun.  It's worth watching just for the cast and costumes.  Check it out. 

10 comments:

Daniel Stumpf said...

Haven't seen this. I have fond memories of the James Whale film though.

Max Allan Collins said...

I love THREE MUSKETEERS movies, too. But that recent/current British series lost me.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

This one was OK. Even Leo wasn't terrible.

Jeff

Bill Crider said...

Al, I liked the first season of the current British Three Musketeers show, but I haven't watched the second season. Maybe I didn't like it as much as I thought.

George said...

I saw this movie when it first came out. Great action! But you're right about the complicated plot.

Don Coffin said...

Not exactly the first time (or the last):
http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&q=the+man+in+the+itoon+mask&s=all

Max Allan Collins said...

The Louis Hayward MAN IN THE IRON MASK is wonderful.

Bill Crider said...

I saw that one when I was a kid and loved it. I thought about it the whole time I was writing the comments about the more recent one.

Gerard said...

I'm pretty sure there is a WISHBONE TV adaptation and novelization of MAN IN THE IRON MASK. I don't think I am confusing it with the THREE MUSKETEERS episode. I did read the fine novelization of that MUSKETEERS episode.

Bill Crider said...

That's a classic, all right.