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For other films based on the same story, see The Man in the Iron Mask (film).
The Iron Mask
Directed by Allan Dwan
Written by Jack Cunningham
Alexandre Dumas (novel)
Douglas Fairbanks
Starring Belle Bennett
Douglas Fairbanks
Marguerite De La Motte
Dorothy Revier
Vera Lewis
Rolfe Sedan
William Bakewell
Distributed by United Artists
Release date(s) 21 February 1929
Running time 95 min
Country  United States
Language part-talkie
English intertitles

The Iron Mask (1929) is a part-talkie film adaptation of the last section of the novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père, which is itself based on the French legend of The Man in the Iron Mask.


The 1929 part-talkie version, titled The Iron Mask, was the first talking picture starring Douglas Fairbanks, though until recently it was usually shown in an all-silent version. It starred Fairbanks as d'Artagnan, Marguerite De La Motte as his beloved Constance (who is killed early in the film to protect the secret that the King has a twin brother), Nigel De Brulier as the scheming Cardinal Richelieu, and Ulrich Haupt as the evil Count De Rochefort. William Bakewell appeared as the royal twins.

Fairbanks lavished resources on his final silent film, with the knowledge he was bidding farewell to his beloved genre. This marks the only time where Fairbank's character dies at the end of the film, with the closing scene depicting the once-again youthful Musketeers all reunited in death, moving on (as the final title says) to find "greater adventure beyond".

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction. [1]

The original 1929 release, though mostly a silent film, actually had a soundtrack: two short speeches delivered by Fairbanks, and a musical score with a few sound effects. In 1952 it was reissued, with the printed intertitles removed and a narration voiced by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. added. The original film included a scene in which d'Artagnan tells the young King of an embarrassing adventure involving him and the three musketeers. The story is told in flashback but the 1952 version has it in chronological order with the scene with the King cut out.

In 1999, with the cooperation of the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art, Kino Video released a DVD of the 1929 version. No film copy with the soundtrack of the Fairbanks speeches existed, but phonograph records of them did exist, so using digital techniques the sound from these was synchronized with film footage. For this reissue, a new score was commissioned from composer Carl Davis. The Kino disc also includes excerpts from the 1952 version, some outtakes from the original filming, and some textual background material from the program for the 1999 premiere showing of the reconstruction.


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