The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

110 mins | Adventure | 11 August 1939

Director:

James Whale

Writer:

George Bruce

Cinematographer:

Robert Planck

Editor:

Grant Whytock

Production Designer:

John Ducasse Schulze

Production Company:

Edward Small Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

According to an article in Var , Sigrid Gurie and Frances Dee were tested for the female leads in this picture, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was considered for the title role. News items in HR add that this picture, budgeted at $1,000,000, was Edward Small's biggest picture on his UA program. Art director John DuCasse Schulze designed 46 set plans for the picture. Lud Gluskin and Lucien Moraweck were nominated for Academy Awards for their original score. Among the many versions of the Alexandre Dumas novels are The Iron Mask , a 1929 United Artist's production directed by Allan Dwan and starring Douglas Fairbanks (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.2737); a 1977 television drama The Man in the Iron Mask directed by Mike Newell and starring Richard Chamberlain; a 1998 Invisible Studio production directed by William Richert and starring Edward Albert; and a 1998 MGM/UA release, also entitled The Man in the Iron Mask , starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Randall ... More Less

According to an article in Var , Sigrid Gurie and Frances Dee were tested for the female leads in this picture, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was considered for the title role. News items in HR add that this picture, budgeted at $1,000,000, was Edward Small's biggest picture on his UA program. Art director John DuCasse Schulze designed 46 set plans for the picture. Lud Gluskin and Lucien Moraweck were nominated for Academy Awards for their original score. Among the many versions of the Alexandre Dumas novels are The Iron Mask , a 1929 United Artist's production directed by Allan Dwan and starring Douglas Fairbanks (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.2737); a 1977 television drama The Man in the Iron Mask directed by Mike Newell and starring Richard Chamberlain; a 1998 Invisible Studio production directed by William Richert and starring Edward Albert; and a 1998 MGM/UA release, also entitled The Man in the Iron Mask , starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Randall Wallace. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Jun 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Jun 39
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 39
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 39
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
28 Jun 39
pp. 1-9.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Jul 39
p. 42.
New York Times
14 Jul 39
p. 11.
Variety
9 Dec 38
p. 3.
Variety
28 Jun 39
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A James Whale Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Fencing dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Adapted from The Man in the Iron Masque , Part 3 of the novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père (Paris, 1848-50).
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 August 1939
Production Date:
26 February--25 April 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Edward Small Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 July 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8985
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5260
SYNOPSIS

In the palace of Louis XIII, all France awaits the birth of the heir to the throne. When the queen gives birth to twin sons, however, Prime Minister Jean Baptiste Colbert orders the birth to be kept secret and banishes the second infant, Phillipe, to Gascony under the care of the trusted D'Artagnan. Louis, the first born, is crowned King of France, and before his twenty-first birthday, has established a reputation as a profligate and tyrant. Louis is served by the treacherous Nicholas Fouquet, who has blackmailed his way to become Minister of Finance. When D'Artagnan opposes Louis's exhorbitant tax hikes, the King orders his arrest. D'Artagnan and the rebels are brought to Paris where Louis meets his twin brother Phillipe. Intrigued by the resemblance, the King proposes that Phillipe impersonate him in exchange for the lives of his friends, and thus allow the King to be two places at once. As Louis, Phillipe wins the heart of Louis's fiancée, Maria Theresa of Spain, but when the real Louis continues his affair with his mistress, Mlle. de la Valliere, the humiliated Maria Theresa flees to Spain. Colbert pleads with Phillipe to pose as the King and bring her back for a union between France and Spain. Phillipe agrees, and after persuading Maria Theresa to return, he frees D'Artagnan and the other musketeers. Furious, Louis orders Phillipe's execution, but when Fouquet reveals that they are brothers, the King diabolically devises a fiendish iron mask and locks Phillipe in the notorious Parisian prison the Bastille, imprisoned in the mask. When D'Artagnan returns for Phillipe, Colbert reveals Phillipe's identity to Maria Theresa and induces her ... +


In the palace of Louis XIII, all France awaits the birth of the heir to the throne. When the queen gives birth to twin sons, however, Prime Minister Jean Baptiste Colbert orders the birth to be kept secret and banishes the second infant, Phillipe, to Gascony under the care of the trusted D'Artagnan. Louis, the first born, is crowned King of France, and before his twenty-first birthday, has established a reputation as a profligate and tyrant. Louis is served by the treacherous Nicholas Fouquet, who has blackmailed his way to become Minister of Finance. When D'Artagnan opposes Louis's exhorbitant tax hikes, the King orders his arrest. D'Artagnan and the rebels are brought to Paris where Louis meets his twin brother Phillipe. Intrigued by the resemblance, the King proposes that Phillipe impersonate him in exchange for the lives of his friends, and thus allow the King to be two places at once. As Louis, Phillipe wins the heart of Louis's fiancée, Maria Theresa of Spain, but when the real Louis continues his affair with his mistress, Mlle. de la Valliere, the humiliated Maria Theresa flees to Spain. Colbert pleads with Phillipe to pose as the King and bring her back for a union between France and Spain. Phillipe agrees, and after persuading Maria Theresa to return, he frees D'Artagnan and the other musketeers. Furious, Louis orders Phillipe's execution, but when Fouquet reveals that they are brothers, the King diabolically devises a fiendish iron mask and locks Phillipe in the notorious Parisian prison the Bastille, imprisoned in the mask. When D'Artagnan returns for Phillipe, Colbert reveals Phillipe's identity to Maria Theresa and induces her to get the key to the mask. While Louis is in a drunken stupor, Maria Theresa slips the key from around his neck and D'Artagnan and the musketeers sneak into the Bastille and free Phillipe. In retribution, Phillipe forces Louis to wear the mask of his own making and locks him away in the Bastille. On the day that Phillipe is to marry Maria Theresa, Louis manages to send a message to Fouquet, telling him of the switch. After sending his men to free Louis, Fouquet denounces Phillipe as an impostor. Learning that Louis is enroute to the palace, Phillipe and the muskeeters ride to meet the King and ambush his carriage. In the ensuing fight, the musketeers meet their death in defense of their country, and Louis's coach plunges over a cliff, taking him to his death. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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