LikeTelevision presents - The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Leslie Howard as Sir Percy Blakeney, Merle Oberon as Lady Marguerite, Nigel Bruce as the Prince of Wales, and Raymond Massey as the evil Chauvelin. Based on the classic literary work by Baroness Orczy - the movie is delightful screen adaptation of the story of Sir Percy Blakeney, a foppish fool in the English aristocracy who is secretly a courageous hero that saves some French aristocrats from Reign of Terror. Using guile, wit and an endless array of cunning disguises - the Scarlet Pimpernel (Sir Percy) becomes an unlikely hero who is hunted by the dastardly Chauvelin (Raymond Massey), who wants to introduce the Pimpernel to the Guillotine.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The
Directed by - Harold Young
(1934) - B&W - 94 min
Leslie Howard does a great job at portraying the foppish nature of the fashion freak Sir Percy, who defines the phrase - clothes horse. In a quick turnabout - he becomes the heroic leader, the Scarlet Pimpernel who is a brave leader of men. Merle Oberon is just awesome. Her beautiful face and gentle smile kept me riveted to the screen. When her brother is kidnapped, she develops a contempt for her husband Sir Percy's foolishness, and longs for someone strong like the Pimpernel. Ironic, they are one in the same. Written in part by the great Robert Sherwood, the story is well told, brilliantly acted and overall, a terrific adaptation a classic work of literature.
Intro, B&W, opening credits etc. Our story becomes with a guillotine montage - as French women knit away, pause to watch the next beheading, cheer and go back to their knitting. You see, only the rich people are getting murdered as the oppressed become the oppressors. And lurking in the shadows is an unlikely hero known only as The Scarlet Pimpernel played by Leslie Howard. By day - he is Sir Percy Blakeney, a fashion crazy English aristocrat who is married to the most beautiful French woman in the court Lady Marguerite, played by Merle Oberon. This foppish routine is just a ruse to avoid detection, because if the Scarlet Pimpernel is caught, he will be killed.
Leslie Howard as Sir Percy, the aristocratic English dandy who knows how to tie a cravate
Lady Marguerite has a fainting spell - just a ruse to get the secret document for Chauvelin
The plot thickens - we meet the evil Citizen Chauvelin, one of Robespierre's henchmen during the Reign of Terror - who has been charged with capturing the elusive Pimpernel and introducing him to the National Razor, better known as Madame Guillotine. But the clever tactics of the Pimpernel prove too daunting. Unfortunately for Sir Percy, his lovely wife is growing tired of the foolish follower of fashion and she longs for someone brave and strong like the Scarlet Pimpernel, especially when Chauvelin takes her brother, Armand St. Just hostage.
Elementary Mr. Watson - you need better cuffs. Nigel Bruce plays the Prince of Wales
Chauvelin sets a trap for the Pimpernel - but he is too clever that. Meanwhile, Sir Percy pens an exquisite poem about the Pimpernel.
We seek him here, we seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell?
That demmed Elusive Pimpernel.
Scarlet Pimpernel, The
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Merle Oberon as the fetching French woman Lady Marguerite, Sir Percy's wife
The story really gets exciting as we are presented with a never ending series of twists and turns. I won't spoil it... just enjoy the show.
Raymond Massey as Chauvelin, one of Robespierre's top henchmen
Oh my - and oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive. Things get very dicey for the elusive Pimpernel as Chauvelin is hot on the trail and seems to hold all the cards.
Lady Margurite sees the Pimpernel ring in one of Sir Percy's portraits
The conclusion - will the Pimpernel get caught, will the beautiful Lady Marguerite get killed with her brother? Watch the exciting end to this classic story. Bravo!
Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard as the smashing English couple, the Blakeneys
the old hag, one of the Pimpernel's many disguises