The Iron Mask (1929)
INTRODUCED BY SILENT FILM HISTORIAN AND PRESERVATIONIST KEVIN BROWNLOW.
Featuring a print restored under Brownlow’s supervision, with a stereo musical score composed by Carl Davis and the original sound prologue by Mr. Fairbanks.
In celebration of its book and exhibition honoring Douglas Fairbanks, the Academy presented a rare screening of “The Iron Mask,” in which Fairbanks reprises his role as d’Artagnan from “The Three Musketeers.”
In the late 1920s, the public’s infatuation with the new sound technology was rapidly propelling “talkies” to box office dominance. Fairbanks nonetheless defied the trend and forged ahead with one last silent film, “The Iron Mask”; he was determined to mount the finest production possible and make a triumphant exit from silent cinema in the swashbuckling film style he had perfected during his career. Ironically, his beautifully designed, romantic adventure can now be seen as a farewell to the silent era itself.
Cast Douglas Fairbanks, Leon Bary, Stanley J. Sandford, Gino Corrado, Belle Bennett, Marguerite de la Motte, Dorothy Revier, Vera Lewis, Rolfe Sedan, William Bakewell. Directed by Allan Dwan. Story Elton Thomas (Douglas Fairbanks). Based on The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas, and the memoirs of d’Artagnan, Richelieu, and de Rochefort. Scenario Editor Lotta Woods. Cinematography Henry Sharp. Film Editing William Nolan. Art Direction Laurence Irving. Consulting Production Designer William Cameron Menzies. Costumes Maurice Leloir. The Elton Corporation. United Artists. 35mm. Silent. 103 min.
Kevin Brownlow is widely regarded as the preeminent historian of the silent film era. His books include The Parade’s Gone By; The War, the West and the Wilderness; Hollywood, the Pioneers; Behind the Mask of Innocence; David Lean; and Mary Pickford Rediscovered. His documentaries include “Hollywood,” “Unknown Chaplin,” “Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow,” “Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius,” “D.W. Griffith: Father of Film,” “Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic,” and “Garbo.” Most famous among his many silent film restoration projects is Abel Gance’s 1927 epic “Napoleon.”