28 July 2014 | dbdumonteil
Fanciful variation on one of the most famous secrets of French history. The action takes place in 1703 (that's what we are told when the film begins) and Colbert (God preserve him) wants to buy the duchy of Pignerol ,unbeknowst to the old Duke .A sadistic villain ,a count,is slowly poisoning the lord and covets her daughter and is looking forward to raking it.
Did the screenwriters open a history book?It's dubious:they would have learned that Colbert died in 1683(!),so he was not able to write a letter in 1703! Most of the historians do not think the famous prisoner was wearing an iron mask ;he was imprisoned for more than thirty years and with such a thing,he would have died of blood poisoning ;he probably would wear a (velvet) mask during his transfers and sometimes during the day.
Alexandre Dumas made him the Sun King's twin brother .That was also Voltaire's opinion.
Forget history ;the iron mask is here the duke's son ,and the title is thoroughly justified by the rather smart ending.As for the rest ,it's a cross between Robin Hood (André and his men ,complete with priest ;the villain who oppresses the poor ) and Dumas 's "La Tulipe Noire" (the unfortunate prisoner and the hangman's daughter who takes pity on him).There's the obligatory comic relief -here represented by a so called Bavarian, the interrupted wedding,and all the available clichés of the swashbuckler.But the cinematography is impeccable,the movie is not unpleasant ,the kind of stuff you forget just after watching it