If you're looking for a tale filled with danger, romance and daring rescues all lead by a swashbuckling hero in disguise, keep reading, for the movie I gush about in this post has all these qualities and more!
If you for some reason haven't read the title, I can reveal that the movie I'm talking about is The Scarlet Pimpernel.
My father really loves the 1934 movie so I've always been familiar with the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel, but it was not until a few years ago I discovered there was a whole series of books.
I read them all in a few months so I considered myself quite the Leaguette, and it was at that time that I just happened to stumble upon the 1982 version on Youtube.
In most movies that I love, there is a specific time/scene that has me convinced that this movie is absolutely wonderful. When was that moment in The Scarlet Pimpernel?
It was when the opening credits wrote "based on the books The Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado" - as those were my two favourite books from the series, I was convinced that next to nothing could ruin this film - and I was right!
But I have already rambled too much, let's get on with the actual review!
If you are unfamiliar with the story here's a short(ish) summary:
During the Reign Of Terror a mysterious hero known as The Scarlet Pimpernel is saving many French aristocrats from the guillotine. In reality he is Sir Percy, a rich English nobleman who has everyone believing he is a complete fop. Together with a few of his trusted friends he is planning their most daring project yet: to rescue the French Dauphin.
But everything gets more complicated when he meets and falls in love with the French actress Marguerite St Just, who is also closely connected to Chauvelin - a man who has made it his personal mission to discover the identity of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Have I convinced you to watch it yet? If not, keep reading (and even if I have, keep reading anyway)
There's so many things I love about this movie that I barely know where to start...
The acting, for once, is just stellar!!
Anthony Andrews completely catches the character of Sir Percy, and plays both his personalities splendidly. One of my favourite moments is a scene where he initially is in his Sir Percy persona, but suddenly reveals he is The Scarlet Pimpernel - the way his facial expression changes and in only a split second he is transformed into a completely different person. It's brilliant I tell you!
Oh, and all his one-liners...I will try not to spoil them for you, but sink me one or two of them will slip in.
I also adore Jane Seymour's portrayal of Marguerite. She plays her with a passion, and the viewers really feel her happiness and pain.
I was very surprised when Chauvelin enters the scene and turns out to be a young Ian McKellen. I don't even think it necessary to say that I love him as well.
Yes, I know I'm supposed to dislike him, and I do most of the time, but the acting is just so good! Haven't you ever loved scenes with the villain just because the actor was doing a wonderful job?
Another thing I have to praise about the acting in general is this: This movie manages to take every romantic cliche that I dislike, and throw it all together in one movie - and I bought it all, and was not bothered in the slightest!! (A rarity indeed)
That's how good the acting is!!
From the Love at First Sight scene between Percy and Marguerite, where you can see the surprise and love in his eyes that makes his facade slip for a moment, to the concealed conversation in the library where he realises the motives behind Marguerite's actions and you can feel just how relieved he is... ( that scene made me crack up a bit, though, but it was soo over the top)
As a true book purist I am also very pleased with the way they adapted the story and weaved the 2 plot lines together. You don't even notice it's 2 books compressed into one movie.
Another thing I just love, is the way the movie pays a lot of homage to the 1934 version. I count no less than 5 scenes taken directly from that movie. (If you want to know exactly which scenes, I will gladly elaborate in a comment.)
And what more can I say about the action, the suspense, the all together brilliantness of it all that hasn't already been said?
The answer is: lots and lots! One can never say too much about this movie!
But to not turn this review into a complete novel, I will restrain myself;)
Before we finish I should briefly mention the content: there are a few execution scenes, and though nothing is shown those scenes are very intense. There is also one or 2 scenes of a couple lying half dressed in bed, but apart from that and some low necklines I don't remember anything else worth mentioning.
As a way to conclude this very long post: The Scarlet Pimpernel is a brilliant movie, and if you haven't seen it you should!! (You can watch it here)
Now, I'm eager to hear if any of you have seen this movie, and if you liked it!