Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
I saw this years ago and remember it as good. I bought it recently and rewatched and yes
on 24 April 2015
I saw this years ago and remember it as good. I bought it recently and rewatched and yes, it is still good, and Chamberlain is splendid as as the dual character. But it is sombre and the finale is very scary and made me think just how shocking and unbearable it must have been for the original "man in the iron mask". Dumas discovered a note had been found when the Bastille was taken by the populace at the start of the French Revolution, that referred to "the man in the iron mask" and a prisoner number. So far as I know, nothing more was ever learned about this prisoner. This movie shows just how appalling such a fate would be. The original book is atmospheric enough but Chamberlain brings this to terrifying life.
I personally much prefer the quite lighthearted version (the story somewhat changed) with the same title but starring Jeremy Irons and others. My favourite musketeer is always Aramis, and Irons is a simply brilliant Aramis, bringing out just how clever Aramis is and how ambitious and brilliant.
Unfortunately, the only one of our musketeer heroes to appear in this Chamberlain Man in the Iron Mask is d'Artagnan and his original actions in the Dumas story are much changed. The script is manged well to ensure it all makes sense, but it isn't the original story and the lack of Aramis in particular as the grand schemer, and the lack of what happens to Athos and most particularly to Porthos is very unfortunate.
I imagine there were budgetary issues that made the producers cut the story to the bare minimum and on that level if's excellent.
Yes, there is a problem for me as doubtless for some others that Chamberlain had earlier played Aramis in the Lester version of the Three Musketeers.... it's a bit disconcerting to see the same actor as now the royal twins. Given a choice, I prefer Chamberlain in this movie as in the Lester movie he was a bit too tall, although he acted the part with perfect humour and charm.