The Iron Mask. 1929. USA. Directed by Allan Dwan. 95 min.
Story by Elton Thomas (Douglas Fairbanks). With Douglas Fairbanks, Marguerite De La Motte, Dorothy Revier, Nigel De Brulier. We are proud to open To Save and Project 2014 with the North American premiere of The Iron Mask, a major restoration from MoMA’s film archive supervised by Peter Williamson, Preservation Officer, and based on the original camera negative given to MoMA in 1935 by Douglas Fairbanks. A stand-alone sequel to Fairbanks’s 1921 hit The Three Musketeers, The Iron Mask was, in the words of its director, Allan Dwan, “the last of the big silents,” and the swashbuckling action—superbly filmed by Dwan, one of the great masters of the seamless classical style—leads gracefully into a poignant farewell to silent films and the larger-than-life figures who inhabited them. Midway through production, Fairbanks decided to yield in part to the rapidly emerging demand for talking pictures and added three spoken sequences to the film. Thanks to the recent rediscovery of the missing soundtrack discs, The Iron Mask can now be heard for the first time since 1929 with all of the spoken sequences, as well as Hugo Riesenfeld’s symphonic score, restored to their original fidelity. Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.