It’s unfortunate that we may never see another film like the 1929 version of The Iron Mask. This film made its debut when talking films were starting to come out and was one of the first swashbuckling talkies, not to mention the first talkie starring Douglass Fairbanks. It was also released on the cusp of film and stage, and is a work of art in all respects.
The Iron Mask is an adaptation of The Man in the Iron Mask, which pulls from the last section of the novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père. It is one of the adventures of The Three Musketeers.
The above video is from YouTube, but you can also find it at Archive.org, and through Google Video. They made two versions of this film, one with voice narration (seen above, which came later) and the original silent version that has musical accompaniment in place of narration (you can watch the original silent version here).
Every Friday we sift through the public domain vaults to find a hidden gem from the past. All films featured for Free Movie Friday are free and legal to watch (in the U.S. at least).