the man in the iron mask

The Film: The Man in the Iron Mask

The Pairing: Queen Anne (Anne Parillaud) and D’artagnan (Gabriel Byrne)

The Romantic Moment: D’artagnan comforts Anne. The two share a bittersweet and private moment.


The rose

In other adaptations of Dumas’ musketeer trilogy, it is Aramis rather than D’artagnan who falls in love with Queen Anne.  The Man in the Iron Mask was based on the Dumas’ novels Twenty Years On and Le Vicomte de Bragelonne along with a scrap of real history. Namely the mention of a masked prisoner in the Bastille. The interesting thing about this particular romance is that we are coming into the story at its end rather than its beginning. Though Anne and D’artagnan are deeply in love, things having been so for many years they must hide their feelings and the truth about their sons’ birth or risk execution.  Their strong feelings for each other shine through in long looks and stolen moments.  Though the events of the film force them to bring that love out into the open.

There are hints from early in the film that there is a connection between the two. There is the rose that is left for Anne in her private chapel and when Anne hears about an unsuccessful attempt on her son’s life she expresses concern for D’artagnan. While discussing with the King his many mistresses, D’artagnan speaks of love as a man of experience.

D’artagnan: I think that it is possible for a man to love one woman all his life and be the better for it.

It is a bittersweet and touching story of an impossible and forbidden love that endured despite all odds. Even though it ended in tragedy.


Queen Anne learns of her son’s apparent death, blaming herself for believing the lies told to her and for agreeing to cover up his birth for the good of the kingdom.  She runs to pray for forgiveness, mourning her son and the chance she might have had to make amends with him.

praying Queen Anne mourns

Anne: My son. My son. Please forgive me. Now I can never make it right.

D’artagnan finds her distraught and goes to her side.

D’artagnan: My Lady?

He remains formal, but the concern and care in his voice are clear. Despite her grief, she finds comfort in his presence.


Anne: D’artagnan!

She smiles and throws her arms around him. D’artagnan is at first surprised by such an open show of affection but soon returns her embrace, giving in to what he truly wants. They share a passionate kiss.

Surprise Anne-and-D'artagnan-kiss

Coming to his senses, D’artagnan pulls away.

Someone will see

D’artagnan: No, no. If anyone sees, it is death.

Anne: If I don’t kiss you I die anyway.


They embrace again.


D’artagnan: I cannot bear to see you cry. Please tell me what’s wrong.

I cannot bear to see you cry

Anne realizes she cannot tell him why she is crying because he does not know about the second son. She cannot bring herself to burden him with the knowledge that he had another son he never had the chance to know. She gently and reluctantly pulls away, turning to leave.  


He calls after her.

D’artagnan: Anne, I know that to love you is a treason against France but not to love you is a treason against my heart.

D'artagnan question treacherous

Anne: Then we will both die treacherous, D’artagnan.

She gives him a sad smile and turns away. He watches her leave with visible anguish knowing that he cannot go after her.


Photo Credits: Metro Goldwyn Meyer/ 20th Century Fox

Did you like this moment? How do you feel about the way the romance ended?


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