Support Filmtracks! Click here first:
iTunes (U.S.)
eBay (U.S.)
This Week's Most Popular Reviews:
   1. Romeo & Juliet
   2. Hobbit: Unexpected Journey
   3. The Phantom of the Opera
   4. Lady in the Water
   5. Harry Potter: Sorcerer's Stone
   6. Moulin Rouge
   7. Gladiator
   8. Titanic
   9. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
   10. Thor: The Dark World
Newest Major Reviews: Best-Selling Albums:
   1. Chappie
   2. Fifty Shades of Grey
   3. Night/Museum: Secret/Tomb
   4. The Imitation Game
   5. Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies
   1. Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
   2. City of Ember
   3. Jack the Giant Slayer
   4. Indiana Jones Collection
   5. King Kong Lives
Section Header
The Man in the Iron Mask
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:
Nick Glennie-Smith

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Suzette Moriarty

Milan Records

Release Date:
March 10th, 1998

Also See:
The Rock
The Lion King
Crimson Tide
Nine Months

Audio Clips:
2. Heart of a King (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

4. The Ascension (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

13. All For One (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

15. Raoul and Christine (0:28):
WMA (188K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Regular U.S. release. Some initial difficulty finding it internationally was reported.


The Man in the Iron Mask
•  Printer Friendly Version
Used Price: $0.01

Sales Rank: 201042

Buy from

or read more reviews and hear more audio clips at

  Compare Prices:
eBay Stores
(new and used)
(new and used)

  Find it Used:
Check for used copies of this album in the:

Soundtrack Section at eBay

(including eBay Stores and listings)

Buy it... if you listen regularly to The Rock and seek a compilation of the best parts of that score slightly restructured into a more listenable package.

Avoid it... if the Hans Zimmer style of powerful masculinity, simple harmonies, and synthetic constructs doesn't fit your notion of a period film score.

The Man in the Iron Mask: (Nick Glennie-Smith) It had been nearly twenty years since the last of Alexandre Dumas' novels about the famed Musketeers was translated to the big screen. The 1998 film The Man in the Iron Mask represented screenwriter Randall Wallace's directorial debut; his only other film at the helm over the following ten years would be We Were Soldiers. His own screenplay based on Dumas' material would fail in its attempt to squeeze so many plot elements into one film, and with its poor character development and relative lack of action, The Man in the Iron Mask would travel only as far as its five major male leads could take it. Ultimately, that journey wouldn't last long, and part of the film's lack of longevity was due to critics' bashing of the film's modern edge. Wallace was keen on bringing that updated style to 1662 France, and one member of his production team who was thoroughly modern was composer Nick Glennie-Smith. A graduate of Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures team, Glennie-Smith had arranged and contributed music for a variety of Zimmer's mid-1990's projects. His most notable role would be in the 1996 score for The Rock, and his was involvement in that score that would land him in The Man in the Iron Mask by Wallace's request. The assignment would immediately raise eyebrows, for Glennie-Smith was obviously one of the last people to be associated with period music at a time when Patrick Doyle, George Fenton, James Newton Howard, and David Hirschfelder were dominating the genre with superior results. Despite suggestions by Glennie-Smith that he looked to Handel and Haydn (among other classical composers) for inspiration in composing this score, any competent pair of veteran film music ears will, by contradiction, identify the inspiration as none other than Zimmer. This score is nothing more than an extension of The Lion King and The Rock, with some poor attempts at baroque dance music that sounds anything other than genuine. Nevertheless, the important aspect of The Man in the Iron Mask to keep in mind was that the masculine sound of Hans Zimmer's Crimson Tide was extremely popular at the time, and as such, this score was greeted with great enthusiasm by listeners wanting to hear the power of The Rock without the wailing electric guitars.

Learn about

In retrospect, The Man in the Iron Mask is far less satisfying. Golden Age film music collectors identified the problems with the score immediately in 1998, and with the stagnant Zimmer sound bothering some of the younger generation in the following years, scores like this one are simply too repetitive. Its themes are extremely simplistic in their harmonic progressions. The primary theme, heard boldly in "Surrounded" and a few places thereafter, is a simple re-working of the title theme for The Rock, with most of the instrumentation left intact. Casual ears, in fact, will not be able to discern any difference between the opening tracks of the two scores. A secondary theme that dominates "The Ascension" shares significant chord progressions with the "wondrous" theme from The Lion King. A flute theme introduced at the end of "All for One" is almost identical in structure and performance to the similar Irish-styled theme in The Rock. Remaining themes in The Man in the Iron Mask will all raise comparisons to other Zimmer scores, including fragments from Backdraft. Most striking is the use of the electronic bass, guitars, synthetic keyboarding, and trademark deep male chorus in a period film; this instrumentation, while combined well with a traditional ensemble (closer in style to The Lion King's combo sound), will simply not suffice for the 17th Century for some listeners. Glennie-Smith and Wallace contemplated licensing symphonic performances of Handel and Haydn for the handful of cues in the score that simply could not use portions of The Rock, but Glennie-Smith decided in the end to attempt recreations himself. This was an unfortunate move, and his lack of style in his baroque imitations causes three almost laughable cues on album. On the positive side, however, Glennie-Smith did indeed take that powerful and modern Zimmer style of action and package it into one of the most easily digestible forms until Zimmer would do so again himself in King Arthur several years later. If you can turn off your brain and forget the score's constantly derivative nature, it's a surprisingly enjoyable listening experience. It may be dumb, but it accomplishes what Wallace wanted. Over its 50 minutes on album, it will provide a "best of" compilation of ideas from The Rock, with filler material that is sufficient outside of the baroque attempts. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.35 Stars
Smart Average: 3.25 Stars*
***** 259 
**** 295 
*** 318 
** 174 
* 116 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Interesting and unusual orchestral solution...
  Sheridan -- 8/25/06 (1:46 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 50:34

• 1. Surrounded (3:48)
• 2. Heart of a King (3:19)
• 3. The Pig Chase (3:28)
• 4. The Ascension (0:50)
• 5. King for a King (6:21)
• 6. The Moon Beckons (2:15)
• 7. The Masked Ball (1:28)
• 8. A Taste of Something (3:58)
• 9. Kissy Kissie (2:08)
• 10. Training to be King (1:38)
• 11. The Rose (2:20)
• 12. All Will Be Well (1:07)
• 13. All For One (4:40)
• 14. Greatest Mystery of Life (1:48)
• 15. Raoul and Christine (1:51)
• 16. It is a Trap (2:46)
• 17. Angry Athos (1:55)
• 18. Raoul's Letter (1:01)
• 19. The Palace (0:27)
• 20. Raoul's Death (1:32)
• 21. The Queen Approaches (1:52)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert contains lengthy notes about the score by Richard Henderson, including the excerpt below:

    "The score for the romantic drama The Man In The Iron Mask was composed by emerging talent Nick Glennie-Smith. Extensively educated in classical music beginning at the age of eight as a chorister at New College, Oxford (one of the main Cathedral choir schools in his native England), Nick furthered his education through music scholarships. He ultimately left school with a passion for rock 'n roll and electronics. Performing in bands led to life as a top session Musician in London, where he worked with the likes of Paul Mcartney, Tina Turner, Phil Collins and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. With Encouragement from his friend, composer Hans Zimmer, Nick worked in Los Angeles as co-composer, arranger and conductor on several hit films, including The Lion King, Crimson Tide, Nine Months and The Preacher's Wife, among others. He has most recently scored the 1996 summer block-buster The Rock, as well as Home Alone 3.

    In rising to the challenge of scoring The Man In The Iron Mask, Nick found himself linking elements of his classical training to the musical vocabulary of modern rock music. "The film is set in 1662," notes Nick, "but it also incorporates some very modern filmic devices. I wanted to have the classical stuff as a backdrop. For instance, there's a ten minute sequence in the film depicting a masked ball, I didn't think that guitars and other modern instruments would be appropriate at all. So I wanted to create a score with a classical foundation that was capable of having modernity wrapped around it at any time. There are occasional guitars, electric basses and synths and percussion that wouldn't have been standard in a Renaissance Court band, but when it came to action sequences, there was no reason the score shouldn't be as modern sounding as you might want it to be. Not that there are car chases - there aren't even carriage chases in the film! It's not swashbuckling all the time - much of the film has a darker emotional tone."

  All artwork and sound clips from The Man in the Iron Mask are Copyright © 1998, Milan Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 3/25/98 and last updated 7/6/07. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.