The Man in the Iron Mask
Oscar-nominated Randall Wallace (Braveheart) made his directorial debut with this adaptation of the 1848 classic by Alexandre Dumas (1802-70), featuring Leonardo DiCaprio in a dual role. Years have passed since the Three Musketeers, Aramis (Jeremy Irons), Athos (John Malkovich), and Porthos (Gerard Depardieu) fought together with their friend D'Artagnan (Gabriel Byrne). The arrogant, tyrannical King Louis XIV (Leonardo DiCaprio) desires the beautiful Christine (Judith Godreche), so he orders her suitor Raoul (Peter Sarsgaard), the son of Athos, off to face death at the front. He also sends Aramis to kill the leader of a Jesuit rebellion. Louis is unaware that his loyal protector and informant, D'Artagnan, is the secret lover of his mother, Queen Anne (Anne Parillaud). Louis' younger twin brother, Philippe (also DiCaprio) is the man in the iron mask, imprisoned for the past six years. Arthos and Porthos plan to free Philippe, abduct Louis and replace him by putting Philippe on the throne. French location scenes include the Chateau de Fontainbleau. Previous adaptations: Allan Dwan's The Iron Mask (1929) with Douglas Fairbanks, the 1939 James Whale version with Louis Hayward, Patricia Medina in Lady in the Iron Mask (1952), Henri Decoin's Le Masque de Fer (1962), Mike Newell's 1976 TV movie with Richard Chamberlain, and Ken Annakin's The Fifth Musketeer (1978, aka Behind the Iron Mask) with Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Sylvia Kristel, Ursula Andress, Cornel Wilde, Jose Ferrer, Rex Harrison, and Olivia de Havilland. A second film titled The Man in the Iron Mask was released in 1998, a low-budget effort from director William Richert.