29 April 2017 | coolantic
Scary for a U certificate
Saw this in 1963 at our local fleapit. Which specialised in featuring Italian "cheapo" epics, usually starring Steve Reeves or Gordon Scott. This simply featured a load of foreigners and was, as usual, dubbed into English but was filmed in striking colour. At the age of 11 I was unfamiliar with the Dumas "Iron Mask" story, so this was new to me and I thought it a great adventure yarn, even though it covered the familiar kids' TV territory of a baddie trying to cheat the rightful heir out of his inheritance, with local bandits coming to the rescue. However, I was unnerved by the actual iron mask into which our hero's head was jammed. It looked grotesque and its designer casually commented on the fact that the prisoner's beard would eventually suffocate him. I had nightmares for weeks! Later, the prisoner is forced to stand in the hot sun which causes the mask to heat up, tormenting him further. And all the time the tight fit of the mask prevents him from uttering anything but unintelligible yelps. Also, in one scene, an innkeeper's pretty daughter has her face slashed by a rapier-wielding henchman of the wicked Duke. Pretty strong stuff for a universal certificate at the time! My misgivings about the mask caused me to feel a teensy bit sorry for the villain when, inevitably at the end of the film, his aristocratic head is forced into the hideous device. Love to see it again though.