Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Pimpernel Smith

I watched Pimpernel Smith the other night with my siblings. I think I smiled the whole way through... except for the times when I laughed and other times when I screamed, “PERCY! Oh, I mean, HORATIO!!”

Pimpernel Smith stars Leslie Howard (Sir Percy Blakeney, The Scarlet Pimpernel (1932), Ashley Wilkes, Gone With the Wind) and a lot of other actors I didn't recognize but enjoyed nonetheless. It's pretty much the story of the Scarlet Pimpernel set in Nazi Germany. Instead of innocent arisos, a mysterious man saves innocents destined for concentration camps. Epic, right?!

My Opinion
I was a little nervous about Pimpernel Smith at first. I mean, it's set in Nazi Germany! I didn't know if it would be okay for my younger siblings to watch, but we all agreed to start it and if anything came up, we'd turn it off and watch it with my dad. Also, I wasn't sure they'd do Sir Percy justice. If they got my favorite literary hero wrong, I'd probably be more than a little mad. (Not to mention that I'd never watch another Leslie Howard film ever again!!)

Boy, was I wrong!

When the credits first rolled, I noticed that not only had Leslie Howard starred in it, but he also directed and produced it. Then, the first scene started. The Scarlet Pimpernel character (who they never called anything like that) saved a man, and all you could see were shadows. Soon after, Professor Horatio Smith appears on the screen. He's a very absent-minded professor, interested only in antiques and his upcoming excavation. The instant he showed up, I knew I liked him. No, it wasn't Sir Percy, it wasn't Anthony Andrews, and it wasn't even Leslie Howard as Sir Percy. But I liked him anyway. A lot. Soon, things happened that made me like him a lot more. : )

There is also a romantic aspect of the film, which didn't really develop until the end and even then didn't really finish - which worked out in a very cool way. The young woman's name was Ludmilla. (I only knew that was her name because I looked in the ending credits... I don't think they ever say it in the movie...) She's been appointed by General von Graum to find out the identity of this mysterious man in exchange for the life of her father, who is in a concentration camp. (See the parallel?)

A few of my favorite scenes were ones that involved a train (“You're the bravest man I've ever known!”), a scarecrow (talk about nerve-wracking!), and a ball invitation (“They match!”). However, one of my favorite scenes was in the end. The entire “You are doomed.” scene. We actually skipped back to the opening of the scene and watched it a second time because it was so cool! So very like Sir Percy! It's exactly what he would say, too!

"We Germans fear nothing."
"Ah. Because you have a pistol?"
"Yes, I have a pistol. It has eight bullets. Eight lives."
"And I have twenty-eight lives..."

I'd better stop before I start quoting the entire thing...

Ooh... one more! Horatio actually said, “Yours, I believe.” I nearly shrieked again!

Just So You Know...
A few slight warnings. There are some not-very-good statues and paintings depicting women that are very scantily dressed. It's basically just Professor Smith's Aphrodite statue that he found (both the actual one in the first few minutes when he shows up for the first time, staring at it, then the photograph he shows Ludmilla), and the paintings in General von Graum's office. I just told my younger brother to close his eyes. Nothing really important happens in those scenes that you have to watch – it's okay if the guys just listen. Also, my sister said that Horatio smoked too much... but it plays a key part in the last scene. One more thing – there are no scenes about what actually goes on in a concentration camp and only a little blood from when a character gets shot. Nothing really major, except for the statues and paintings.

Pimpernel Smith is a movie that I'd totally recommend to any TSP fan. It's not too hard to find, either – you can wait a few days to get it in the mail from Netflix (I think it might even be streaming), or you can watch it on YouTube here.


"Don't worry - I shall be back!"


Anna Grace said...


WOOHOO!!! YOU POSTED!!! :D Now I need to go finish the movie.... *dashes away to load new window with Netflix on it* I want to see the ending!!

Btw, I totally loved the scarecrow scene. I have always hated scarecrows (thanks to a Dr Who episode I saw once...) and my eyes grew wide when the head moved. O.o *grin*

Ooh! And I liked the face-powder scene! *bursts into a fit of laughter* Didn't he buy her a whole pound on it??!


P.S. Wow! This was actually a shortish comment! O.O

Alexandra said...


(Ally instantly makes TSP/Doctor Who connections. Much, much squealing involved)

So I want to see this SO BAD. Must look up on YouTube NOW. Stories set in another time period/updated (Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story, for example) are some of my FAVORITES, so I knew I'd love Pimpernel Smith! Anyway. Cannot WAIT to see it. :)

Miss Melody Muffin said...

Thanks for the excellent review! This movie definitely just went on my 'to watch SOON' list!!

I'd heard of it before but just didn't know much about it.

Now I simply have to find, ok, MAKE the time to see it very soon.

Miss Dashwood said...

Oooh, this sounds AWESOME! Now I REALLY want to see it-- I'll recommend it to my dad for our next family movie night. Thanks so much for the info about whether it's family-friendly or not, btw-- often it's hard to find information like that. :D

Hayden said...

Ha! This sounds hilarious! I'll have to look it up :)

Anonymous said...

Yay! Another Scarlet Pimpernel inspired movie! This has got me excited. : ) I know that there were some books written about a man saving people from concentration camps, kind of along the lines of TSP, but I didn't know that there was a movie! Thanks for the review about it. I don't have younger siblings to watch out for, but I'm a little squemish about violence and blood, etc. : )Thanks so much!!

~Lily of the Valley

Anonymous said...

Anna Grace - I know, right?! Heehee. The ending is, like, THE BEST PART!! : )

Yes! The scarecrow scene was really good, too, even if it was only about three minutes long.

Oh, yeah! The powder! Forgot about that... YES!! Teehee. Her FACE! HA!!

Alexandra - It's really good. (But I've already said that...) Me, too!

Miss Melody Muffin - You're welcome! It was fun to write! And it's worth your time - especially if you love all things remotely to do with Sir Percy. : )

Amy - It is!! : ) You're welcome. I find that hard, too. Have you ever heard of Plugged In? They do movie reviews - mostly newer movies. We look up those reviews all the time.

Hayden - Yup! I laughed so hard!

Lily of the Valley - I heard that, too! There isn't much blood - just a little. : ) You're welcome!


Petra said...

I'm so glad you reviewed Pimpernel Smith. As a fan of the Scarlet Pimpernel and an admirer of Leslie Howard, I've wanted to see it for a long time, but didn't know much about it. Your review makes me want to find a copy straight away!