The Iron Mask ★★★

All for one, one for all
Among twins and treachery.
Friendship into the beyond.

One of the theories I’ve been working out with Dwan is regarding his approach to action and comedy. In short, Dwan appears to prefer long shots that capture everything in the frame than ones that are highly edited together. These sequences give his action a bit of awkward messiness to them, but one that I see as a virtue. There’s something both exciting and a bit amusing about seeing everything feel at once very fake but also a bit honest. Working with Fairbanks here, Dwan emphasizes the teamwork aspects of the four musketeers and friendship. It is only by working together they can accomplish their tasks of preserving France. My unfamiliarity with either of Duras’s novels keeps me from assessing the quality of the adaptation, though the narrative kind of falls dead when Fairbanks is off screen. But would make a good double feature with WS Anderson’s equally fun adaptation.

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