In 1803 France, Napoleon Bonaparte (Robert Cornthwaite) orders the capture of notorious highwayman "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who routinely rescues imprisoned nobles and harasses the Revolutionary officials.
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France, 1803: eleven years after the Revolution, a royalist underground is led by a new "Scarlet Pimpernel", the "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who rescues nobles in distress and kidnaps Napoleon Bonaparte's (Robert Cornthwaite's) officials for ransom, aided by the spy services of a group of lovely models headed by Laurette de Latour (Colleen Miller), Duc de Latour's (Paul Cavanagh's) daughter. But even she doesn't know the Purple Mask's real identity as foppish dancing master Rene de Traviere.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Have a real fondness for swashbuckling/adventure/historical films, some of which being part of my childhood and still hold up well today, so that was one of my reasons for seeing 'The Purple Mask'. The other being that it was part of my initially accidental quest (having seen many of his films popping up in my recommended for you section) to see more Tony Curtis films, he was not the greatest of actors at this point but he was always a very likeable actor and improved all the time.
'The Purple Mask' is not one of his best films or best performances, everybody else involved have similarly done better. That being said, 'The Purple Mask' is still lots of fun, and achieves in its goal at being an entertaining and amiable film that doesn't take itself too seriously or try to be anymore than it needs to be. Not one of my favourite films by all means but it is a very hard film to dislike.
It may be nonsense in some of the story and it may be a touch talky at times.
Angela Lansbury also has next to nothing to do in a thankless role and it did come over that she had not wanted to do the film (apparently that was actually the case too), a waste of a great actress.
However, Curtis goes for it and is athletic and has boundless energy, he carries 'The Purple Mask' very well regardless of him not being completely fitting in the setting. Coleen Miller is very charming, Gene Barry is his reliable self and the villains are appropriately antagonistic. John Hoyt is a standout and Robert Cornthwaite was a surprising choice for Napoleon but coming off reasonably well. The chemistry is great.
Visually, 'The Purple Mask' looks great, sumptuously designed and costumed with lots of vibrant colour and the photography is suitably lavish. The score is suitably lively and the direction assured. The short length and fast pace thankfully works in 'The Purple Mask's favour. The story has a lot of energy and charm, even with the silliness, and the script doesn't get too camp.
On the whole, lots of fun. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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