Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Overlooked Movies -- The Purple Mask

How I overlooked this movie in the  '50s, I'll never know. It's the kind of thing I would ordinarily go out of my way to see.  Maybe it didn't play in my hometown.  It's yet another riff on the Scarlet Pimpernel, and it's a pretty good one.  As you can see in the poster on the left, the cast is dandy, and the movie's in Cinemascope and Technicolor.  I don't think it's a spoiler to reveal that the face behind the purple mask belongs to Tony Curtis, who doesn't wear it often, anyway.  Curtis plays Rene de Traviere, who appears to be quite the fop (Curtis has fun with these scenes) but who's really an expert fencer.  There's no trailer online, but the clip shows that Curtis isn't bad in the role if you care to check it out.

The Purple Mask is on the side of the royalists in Napoleon's France, and he gets involved in a plan to rescue the uncle of the lovely Laurette de Latour from Napoleon's dungeons. Instead, he's imprisoned with the uncle, and so is Laurette, but it's all part of the Mask's clever plan.  Curtis gets a big kick out of the part, showing by his tone and facial expressions that he's miles ahead of everybody else when it comes to plotting and counter-plotting.  

The movie ends with a sword fight at the guillotine between Curtis and Brisquet (Dan O'Herlihy), a deadly fencer.  I'm not telling how it turns out.

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit. It's nothing special, but the cast and the production values make it worth a look.

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