6. The Man in the Iron Mask

6-the-man-in-the-iron-maskBackground info

Title: The Man in the Iron Mask
Director: Randall Wallace
Year: 1998
Run time: 2hrs 11m

“Louis XIII, King of France, had a son, Louis, who succeeded his father to the throne. But, known to very few, the heir had a twin brother, Philippe, hidden away after birth and forced to languish in prison, his identity unknown behind an iron mask. His brother, now grown and King Louis XIV, proved to be both corrupt and a tyrant. Louis sends Athos’ son, Raoul off to certain death in war, so that he could have his woman for himself. Athos, together with two of the other Musketeers, Porthos and Aramis, swear revenge. Only D’Artagnan remains loyal to the crown, but will he join his former compatriots to free Philippe from prison, kill the king, and put Philippe on the throne in his place?”

Live blog

0:42 – I always worry about historical type films because there tend to be a lot of people in them, and I get confused. This one has five (maybe six?) people on the front cover.
2:09 – Ooh, a musketeer. Is that what this film is about? I didn’t realise.
5:53 – I am already confused.
8:36 – Is it right that the King of France doesn’t have a French accent?
9:53 – I wonder if it is a little bit childish to still get excited about movie characters that share my name? Steven King did ruin it for me, after all.
19:17 – I have got my head around all the different people now. Phew.
24:33 – Now I’m feeling slightly uncomfortable that all this regal French stuff is just making me think of the Doctor Who episode with Lady Pompadour.
33:53 – Despite it trying to tell me what appears to be quite an important story, this film seems to be devoid of any serious drama. Is that bad acting? Bad writing? Both?
36:02 – He comes charging in and stabs some people, intent on killing the King and avoids going to prison?
49:24 – I’m not one for picking holes, naturally, but he has unfeasibly clear skin for one who has lived in a mask for however long… six years.
59:52 – At first, I thought maybe I was on D’Artagnon’s side and the others were being stupid. Now I really like the other three.
1:05:31 – It’s taken an hour, but I am just at the point where I can say this film isn’t so bad.
1:21:16 – I find masked balls creepy. So, I imagine, would the man who’s been wearing an iron mask for six years? Perhaps not.
1:31:21 – The King’s mother gets all dressed up and spends literally five minutes in public before retiring to her room again. What an effort!
1:44:26 – I have elevated the status of this film from not bad to actually quite good. If only the first hour hadn’t been so yawnsome.
1:45:29 – In those days, how did he get his hair to stay back behind his ears without pins? I’m assuming they didn’t have hairspray in the 1600s?
1:49:54 – Ah, I can sense some kind of emotional self-sacrifice coming up and I don’t like it.
1:51:55 – Oooh, sword fight! This might actually be the first real blood we’ve seen all movie.
1:52:44 – I wonder how agile and effective one can be in a fight with an iron mask on.
1:54:23 – WHAT? Somehow I didn’t see this coming! But, surely neither is the king then?
1:56:50 – How could all of the musketeers been compelled to fudge their shots like that? Is there some sort of musketeers code? Maybe they talked about it beforehand.
2:02:38 – Forgive me for being stupid, but why are they called the Three Musketeers when there were four of them?


I knew that this film wasn’t particularly well liked, and had read somewhere that although the critics hated it, it certainly made a fair share of money. I guess that has more to do with the pretty Leonardo though?

The first hour was a waste of time, and even though she’s got my name, I felt the Christine/Raoul thing was an unnecessary distraction. I would have liked to see more on how they trained Philippe up to be like Louis, and his discovery. They packed a lot of story in a relatively short space of time, and it didn’t quite flow properly.

Rating: 2/5.



  1. Jordan Allen

    Funny. I am currently reading Dumas’ Three Muskeeters so I think I can answer your question as to 3 and not 4 Musketeers. The three Muskeeters – Aramis, Athos and Porthos – are three foot soldiers in the King’s bodyguard regiment (Known as the King’s Musketeers) that are supposed to be armed with a musket and sword. Hence, Three Muskeeters as opposed to The Three Pikemen (soliders armed with a big spear) D’ Artagnan spends the entire first book trying to prove himself worthy of joining the (King’s) Musketeers but overdoes it to the point that once D’ Artagnan does join the (King’s) Musketeers, it is as an officer, either 2nd or 3rd in command of the Musketeers.

    Technically, as D’ Artagnan is not armed with a Musket, (officers did not go around shooting people in those days) he is still not a Musketeer, so there is just his three musketeer friends that everyone calls the Three Musketeers.


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