Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There Never Was a Time I Didn't Love You...the Lost Percy/Marguerite Duet

Hey, everyone, long time no see. Life, ya know.

I'd been thinking it had been way too long since a post, and then randomness happened and voila, I have post material.

A loooooooooong time back...in fact, it was my very first post on The Day Dream...I wrote my thoughts on the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Now, while my thoughts/feelings on it have changed quite favorably in some areas since then, there are some major quibbles I still have with it.

One of the biggest ones was the fact that there was no real love duet between Percy and Marguerite, which was severely annoying. I mean, "All I Ask of You", "Something Good", "Somewhere", "As Long as You're Mine"...in any story about love and romance there's always one big number between the leads that's this big awesome song about their love. And then you have Percy and Marguerite, famous for how utterly, passionately in love they were, and they don't have a love duet? Sure, there's the awesome "When I Look at You" on Marguerite's side, and "She Was There" for Percy, but together? One little measly, meaningless song they sing at the wedding, and that's IT. It's not even a big awesome song.

THEN. I was randomly reading stuff on the musical on the Internet last night, and what should I stumble across but the concept cast recording, made before the show actually went to Broadway. I'd seen the thing millions of times, but never paid much attention. But for some reason I actually paid attention to the song titles, and realized there were several songs I'd never heard before, and of course started googling them. What I found basically has put me on fangirly cloud nine all evening (and WHY did they cut it?! It's SO much better than the song they had in the end). It's a gorgeous song that perfectly expresses the journey that their love goes through in the course of the story and how, even through the hurt and the misunderstanding and the broken trust, when it seemed like Percy was cold and Marguerite indifferent, in reality, "there never was a time I didn't love you."

And of course there had to be a vid. :D Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Legacy of Baroness Orczy

This past week, I was able to share a movie with my dear friend, Maribeth.  Together, we sat upstairs and laughed and giggled while watching the old movie, Pimpernel Smith.  This film meant a lot to us for several reasons — it was a conjunction of an inspiring historical figure, a  favorite novel, and an unintentional legacy left by a baroness.  Together, these three seemingly unconnected bits made an extraordinary impact on the world.

Six years ago, Maribeth introduced me to an often-overlooked historical figure, Raoul Wallenberg.  Through his work with the War Refugees Board at the Swiss embassy in Budapest, Hungary,  Wallenberg was able to save the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the last year of WWII.

A couple years later, I returned the favor and introduced Maribeth to a fabulous book which quickly became one of our favorites: The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I’m not going to spoil the plot in case you haven’t read the book yet (you should!), but I will tell you this.  The Scarlet Pimpernel is a historical fiction/adventure/romance/mystery novel set during the French Reign of Terror.  It is the story of a mysterious person known only as The Scarlet Pimpernel who saves French aristocrats from the guillotine.  Meanwhile, the French are desperately trying to find the Scarlet Pimpernel and stop his successful rescues.

Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála ”Emmuska” Orczy de Orczi was born in Hungary in 1865.  Her family moved to England when she was 15.  She later married Englishman Montague MacLean Barstow.  Baroness Orczy is best known for her book, The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Now to tie all these bits of stories together.  The Scarlet Pimpernel was made into several films, most notably the 1934 film starring Leslie Howard.  Then, in 1941, Howard starred in a modernized remake set during the current WWII called Pimpernel Smith.  In it, the superficially boring Professor Smith rescues people from concentration camps and Nazis arrests. The film reached Sweden in 1942, but was soon banned by the Swedish Census Board who feared that it would jeopardize the country’s neutrality.  But one man was able to see the show with his half-sister at a private screening.  On the way home, this Swiss told his sister “I want to do exactly what he [Prof. Smith] did.” (Linnéa, Sharon. Raoul Wallenberg: the man who stopped death. Philadelphia and Jerusalem: The Jewish Publication Society, 1993.)

Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest with a mission — a mission inspired by Pimpernel Smith.  From July 9, 1944 through January 17th, 1945, Raoul worked tirelessly to save the thousands of Jews left in Budapest from SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann’s systematic extermination.

“In all, 120,000 Jews of Budapest survived the “final solution”. They were the only substantial Jewish community left in Europe. At least 100,000 of these people owed their lives directly to Raoul Wallenberg.” (www.raoulwallenberg.org/raoulwallenberg_aheroforourtime.htm.html)
 
Raoul Wallenberg saved thousands of Hungarian Jews because he was inspired by the film Pimpernel Smith, which is based off the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel which was written by Baroness Orczy — a Hungarian.  Isn’t that just AMAZING?

The Baroness Emmuska Orczy and Raoul Wallenberg

The Lord used a baroness, a 319 page book, an actor of Jewish Hungarian decent (I’m not joking!), and a Swiss architect to save thousands of lives during the dark days of WWII.  I don’t know if Baroness Orczy knew the legacy she had left through her books when she died in 1947, but for us Scarlet Pimpernel fans, knowing the far-reaching effects of the story makes it even better.

(As a side note for SP fans, you might want to check out Orczy’s novel Pimpernel and Rosemary set during the Nazi occupation of  Hungary during WWI.   Pretty cool huh?  You can read the summary and the entire book here.)

Emily Gracen is a homeschool graduate, college student, blogger, and bookworm. While not busy studying, she enjoys creating tiny things, watching (and quoting) Pixar movies, playing Ultimate Frisbee, English country dancing, and chatting with her college buddies. She blogs over at Becoming Emily about her interests, passions, and the things she finds beautiful.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hayden!

Today is a very special day on The Day Dream....it's Miss Hayden's birthday!  We're all here today to send her a special message of our own... and since we never do things the small way if we can help it, we're broadcasting our love for Hayden on the public Internet for all to see and so Hayden can blush as we gush.  You see I'm a bit of a poet, and you did not know it...  {And this is a day late, but... hey, we're a chronically late bunch.  At least it's still June.}


Dear Hayden,
From the moment I stumbled across your blog a year and a half ago, I knew you were a kindred spirit.  Your wit and vivacity, your way with words, your excellent taste in period dramas :D and your overall joie de vivre made me want very badly to get to know you and to be your friend.  Because you seemed like such a sweet, fun person... definitely one of the race that knows Joseph.  And you know what?  My instincts were right.  I've loved getting to know you better over the last nineteen months or whatever it's been, and I wish you a splendiferous twentieth year! (GASP.  TWENTIETH YEAR.  TWENTIETH. YEAR.  DO YOU FEEL OLD YET.)
Love,
Amy (Miss Dashwood)

*

HAYDEN!!  Happy Birthday!!  I’ve loved reading your posts and emailing you over the past year or so and have greatly enjoyed getting to know you!  (I became a huge Henry Tilney fan because of your post about the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey....  Thanks a lot!)  Anyway, here’s wishing you a wonderful birthday!!  May the dreams that you wish come true.  : )
-Eowyn-

*

HaydenHaydenHayden....HAPPIEST of birthdays! Cannot believe you're NINETEEN...that seems really grandmaish of me, doesn't it? Hehe. I just meant that I can't believe we're all getting so OLD. Sheesh. I am so, so thankful for the the wonderful friendships the Lord has brought into my life through blogging, and I am so thankful for you! You're such a lovely person, and this beholder is enchanted! Hope your birthday was completely amazing, and hoping and praying that this year will be fantastic. So what are you waiting for? Allons-y! :)
Love ya, fellow Leaguette!
~Ally

*

Hayden,
C.S. Lewis once said, 'Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one!"'  That is what I thought upon first meeting you.  When I discovered your blog (through a link on Amy's or Ally's sidebar) you were just gearing up for your Around the World in 80 Days blog party.  My first thought was, "There is someone else who likes Jules Verne as much as I do?!"  I continued to say, "What!  You too?" as I discovered other interests we shared: costumes, writing, classic literature, Sherlock Holmes, The Avengers, Jane Austen, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Narnia, Middle-Earth and many others.   All at once, my life was different because I met you and you became a friend.  :)
Hope your birthday was magnificent, wonderful and fantastic!!!!  And may the year ahead for you be warm and real and bright!
~Melody

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If Percy Went Postal...



Sooooooo the other night I was watching an episode of Columbo, which if you didn't know, is a mystery series about a police detective (Peter Falk, whom you may be more familiar with as the grandfather on The Princess Bride) who solves crime. This particular episode was called "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine", and it was about him solving a particularly bizarre case where a man was murdered by a magician's guillotine. The murderer was none other than (SPOILERS)...our own Anthony Andrews (yes, Leaguettes, I think we can say he's "ours"...and yes, that was the whole reason why I watched the episode. I am not ashamed...).

Of course, as a fangirl I found it highly amusing (in a highly morbid way) that Anthony Andrews would be a murderer who used...a guillotine. Of all things, ya know. Makes you wonder (even though I haven't yet found any evidence to support my suspicion) if it was a coincidence. Probably not. But it is funny. He was a delicious villain, have to admit. Enjoyed it immensely - and I have to admit at giggling when he stroked the guillotine and went on about how it would be "a dreadful way to die". Call it Percy cracking. The stress of being the Pimpernel finally getting to him. Percy murders with a gullotine! Horrors! Whatever. Anyway. Just a tidbit I thought y'all might enjoy. :D

(and THANK YOU so much to everyone for the wonderful birthday surprise! I love our wee community so much...you all made my day!!!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

We Interrupt This Program for a Birthday...


Sink me, m’dears, if it isn’t an auspicious day today!  The courier arrived only this morning with news that one of the League’s most loyal female members (one who calls herself a Leaguette, a deuced pretty name if I do say so, though it doesn’t rhyme in any places) is celebrating the anniversary of her birth, and in honor of the occasion I thought it appropriate to take pen in hand and commemorate the day.

M’dear Alexandra--

You have reached the noble age of four-and-twenty, a fine age if I remember correctly, which I don’t.  I suppose I must have been a grand chap at four-and-twenty, but sink me, I can’t recall a bit of it.  Let us hope you will grace the year with a more memorable presence than I ever did. 

Now is the time to make something of your life.  
Evil and injustice, you see, have not died quite yet. Not many have both the intelligence and the desire to fight it.   As a friend of mine in possession of a peculiar blue box once said, “Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice.... and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on... we’ve got work to do!”   Perhaps you may think I am not serious, but I am.  Deadly serious.  If I believe in just one thing, I believe in you.  

Dashed inconvenient, your living in America, you know.  I'd pop across the pond to wish you many happy returns of the day in person if I could, but I fear my yacht wouldn't survive the journey.  However, I've got a handful of young admirers who seem quite delighted to take the task upon themselves, and one of them--a muffin, a melody, something of the sort--has written a pretty little thing that rhymes in four places to express our sentiments, don't you see.  And if a rhyme rhymes, it makes a poem, if you follow me.

They seek her here, they seek her there
The Leaguettes seek her everywhere
The birthday girl they all must tell
Happy Birthday, Miss Pimpernel!

*tosses gorgeous imaginary birthday cake and heaps of lovely pretend presents* Yours, I believe.

Much love,

along with
Eowyn, Miss Melody Muffin, Miss Dashwood, Hayden and Maria Elisabeth

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1937)


You seek him here, you seek him there
And you're serenely unaware
He's at your elbow lunching well
That Elusive Pimpernel!

Well how do ye do? Anna here! I haven't commented in quite some time and I'm sad about that fact. Sink me, I am! As you may recall the last time I posted, I was nearly cast out of the League for daring to suggest that Percy had faults. ;) Well, today's post won't be so controversy....I don't think. As the title says, I am doing a movie review on the wonderful "Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel" from 1937. I had never really heard of it before a few days ago - or I had but thought it'd be dreadful since Leslie Howard wasn't in it - but I gave it a try anyway. Oh my. It was so much better than I was expecting! Without further ado -- my review! {Sink me, I'm a poet, and you did not know it, what!} Also, excuse all the pictures...I went a little over-board. *wink*

Plot
I died from laughter when I saw this cover. He's not Zorro! What's with his mask??
And They're not in Arabia...so what's with her dress?? o.O Also - look at the top writing.
Robespierre is executing any one he even suspects of being a traitor, and now he is fed up with the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel. He informs Chauvelin that if he does not catch or kill the Englishman then it will not go well with Chauvelin. Taking the hint, Chauvelin gets a French actress to go over seas and spy out Blakeney {who he of course knows is the Scarlet Pimpernel since this movie is supposed to be a sequel to the '34 Leslie Howard film}. After playing a trap on Marguerite, the actress and her helpers kidnap Marguerite and take her across the channel to France -- knowing that Percy will soon follow. Gathering his League together, Sir Percy goes to Paris to rescue his wife - who is now with child. <3
Chauvelin: "Help me!" Percy: "Help you!? I've got to get my wife out of here!"
So I read somewhere that it's based after the books "The Elusive Pimpernel" and two others which I haven't read, yet. It made me quite happy since, of the three books I have read {The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Elusive Pimpernel, and El Dorado}, The Elusive Pimpernel is by far my favorite one. Yes, even the illustrious El Dorado is a little below TEP. :) 


Sir Percival Blakeney
The first scene with him certainly does not make him jump to the top of the list of "Amazing Sir Percy's" since he is playing cricket and has the worst outfit in the history of worst outfits! {Yes, it's worse than his cravats from the '34 TSP...if that is even possible.} But the moment he actually started talking, he gradually grew on me. Now I really love him. True, he's no Anthony Andrews or Leslie Howard {who are in my book are tied as equally perfect Sir Percy's - yes. I did just say that}, but Barry K Barnes is very, very good and close to them. 
The coat he's wearing has little flowers all over it.....Scarlet Pimpernels, to be precise.... *snort* Real discrete there, Percy.
My only issue with him? He looks too scared and startled at times - which is very unlike Percy. I also wish he played the fop a little more -- but, the majority takes place in France, so yeah. He does have some pretty good disguises, though! My favorite is when he plays a half-deaf guy. *smirk*


Marguerite Blakeney
Sir Andrew, Marguerite, and I believe that's Hastings or Tony {it usually is}.
She was good. She's not quite up there with Jane Seymore or Merle Oberon, but she is good. I think that Sophie Stewart, the actress in this one, is a little too foolish and naive for my liking - and she's lacking that strength she has in the book and which Jane and Merle pulled off so marvelously. But then again, Jane and Merle didn't make her all that naive, and Marguerite is a little naive and foolish in the book - so....perhaps Sophie is not so bad after all.... ;)

Sir Andrew Ffoulkes

As you may or may not know {probably not}, Andrew is my favorite of the League {I named my red camera after him *wink*}. Well, I should say, he's my favorite followed closely by Armand {Don't stone me!}. I always loved his close-knit friendship with Percy in TSP'34 {which I grew up watching since I was about ten}, and since the books states that Percy thought of him as his best friend - well, of course I loved him even more!

Thus, you can imagine the fan-girly squeal I let out when I saw Sir Andrew in this movie. He was played by Anthony Bushell -- the same guy who played his character in TSP'34!!! As much as I do love the awkward Andrew Ffoulkes from TSP'82, I don't believe anyone played him better than this guy. Of course Sir Andrew was simply amazing in this movie, too. <3

Chauvelin
Francis Lister as Chauvelin
Oh my goodness, I loved him -- and I have never felt even a teensy-weensy bit bad for him in the other adaptations, nor the book. I really believe they captured his character well. It definitely shows that he is in danger of his life if he doesn't capture or kill the Scarlet Pimpernel, yet at the same time not making him the victim. He also respects Percy - which I like....not sure how book-accurate that is, though. Very well done, in my mind. 
He's also got an extremely funny line where he says something and it rhymes. Then he laughs and goes "Ha! That rhymed! I must have been around that Blakeney fellow too long! I should write it down and see if I can put it to use later." Of course Sir Percy is sitting right next to him in a disguise...which makes that bit even funnier. *giggle* He's so much better than Chauvelin from TSP'34. So much better. But then again, I don't care for that actor, so....maybe that's why..... *wink* This Chauvelin is great, though. Simply great!
James Mason as Jean Tallien and Margaretta Scott as Teresa Cobarrus.

Look! It's a young James Mason! In case you're not sure who James Mason is, he was in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest" as the bad-guy who was after Cary Grant. :) He was also in about a hundred other films. He's got a really cool deep voice. :) 

My Thoughts
I loved it. In my mind, it is only slightly below the '34 and '82 versions and equal to "Pimpernel Smith", which Eowyn reviewed. It's harder to compare this to the two well-known ones because it is a different story line. As I said before - I love it. Would I recommend it to all ages? Absolutely! Unlike the '34 adaptation, there is no language in it! *glares at the screenwriter of the Leslie Howard film for making Chauvelin use dreadful language near the end*. And unlike the '82 adaptation, there are no questionably inappropriate scenes *glares the those writers now*. I'll stop now before I give anything good away. :) 


Oh, and guess what? You can watch the entire movie on youtube, here. Have you seen it? What are your thoughts on it? Have you even heard of it? Let me know! 
Sink Me!
~Anna 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Percy Day Blog Series on inklings press

Hello, all!

In honor of the second annual Sir Percy Day, I decided to do a blog series that lasted all day long.... In order to have the full measure of awesomeness. : D

Part One: Quotes By and About Sir Percy
Part Two: Clips from The Scarlet Pimpernel
Part Three: Screencaps from The Scarlet Pimpernel
Part Four: The Scarlet Pimpernel Reboot Dream Cast

Notice: None of this was endorsed by The Day-Dream.  However.  The light of rebellion was ablaze in someone's eyes (*cough* Amy *cough*), so I reposted.  Enjoy!

INTO THE FIRE!!
~Eowyn~

"A quote is a handy thing to have about...

"... saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business."
~A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne always put things so well.  :D

Today is Percy Day, as proclaimed by the lovely Anne-girl of Scribblings of my Pen, and so in celebration of this auspicious occasion we would like to share with you some of our favorite TSP quotes.   Quotes by and about Percy, naturally.   This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list.  Please do comment with YOUR favorites!


***


Marguerite bowed her head in silence. There was nothing more she could say, no plea that she could urge. Indeed, she had understood, as he had begged her to understand. She understood that long ago he had mapped out the course of his life, and now that the course happened to lead up to a Calvary of humiliation and suffering he was not likely to turn back, even though, on the summit, death was all ready waiting and beckoning with no uncertain hand; not until he could murmur, in the wake of the great and divine sacrifice, the sublime words, “It is accomplished.” 
~El Dorado


Blakeney watched him for a moment or two without speaking. His face through all the grime and disfigurement wore that expression of infinite sympathy and understanding of which he, of all men, appeared to hold the secret, the understanding of other people's troubles and difficulties, and that wordless sympathy which had so endeared him to his friends.
"Help you, my dear fellow," he now said. "Of course, we'll all help you, if you want us. What are we here for but to help each other, as well as those poor wretches who are in trouble through no fault of their own?"
~Sir Percy Leads the Band


"Ah?" quoth Sir Percy airily.  "The inevitable has always been such a good friend to me."
~The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel



But remember that in life there is always one supreme moment when Chance--who is credited to have but one hair on her head--stands by you for a brief space of time; sometimes that space is infintitesimal-- one minute, a few seconds--just the time to seize Chance by that one hair.
~El Dorado


I love you with my whole soul, with every fibre of my being, more than life and eternity, but I could not love you, dear, so much, loved I not honour more. With the help of my faithful lieutenants I will bring those defenceless women safely to England according to my pledged word, then my arms will close again around you and you will feel my whole soul in a kiss. 
~Mam'zelle Guillotine (spoke--er, written--by the man himself!)


He had no need to tell her that duty and friendship called, that the call of honour was once again—as it so often has been in the world—louder than that of love. She understood and she knew, and he, with that supersensitive instinct of his, understood the heroic effort which she made.
~Lord Tony's Wife


"A man talking to himself is ever in a sorry plight... he is either a mad man or a fool."
~The Elusive Pimpernel (Percy himself again!)


"Which would have been a pity, my dear M. Chambertin," Blakeney rejoined gravely. "I should not like you to forget me.  Believe me, I have enjoyed life so much these past two years, I would not give up those pleasures even for that of seeing you and your friends have a bath or wear tidy buckles on your boots."
"You will have cause to indulge in those pleasures within the next few days, Sir Percy," Chauvelin rejoined drily.
"What?" Sir Percy exclaimed.  "The Committee of Public Safety going to have a bath? Or the Revolutionary Tribunal?  Which?"
~The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel



"Nay, my friend," said Sir Percy, speaking more especially to Déroulède; "if you only knew how simple it all was! Gold can do so many things, and my only merit seems to be the possession of plenty of that commodity."
~I Will Repay


"Percy," whispered Armand, "Marguerite does not know?"
"Of course she does not, you young fool," retorted Percy lightly. "If you try and tell her I think I would smash your head."
~El Dorado


"You see, my dear M. Chambertin," the voice which he dreaded most in all the world said suddenly in his ear, "I would not forgo the pleasure of bidding you au revoir."
~Sir Percy Hits Back




New Trailer!

It's Percy Day, y'all, and the celebration is on at several of the Leaguettes' main blogs!  Stay tuned for some more Percy-themed posts later this evening-- for now, you can enjoy the trailer for the new TSP1982 DVD release.  SQUEEEEEEP.   Makes me want to go watch it again... oh, wait, I AM watching it at present...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dissection of a Character: Chauvelin {The Scarlet Pimpernel Blog Series, Part 4}

(This is Part 3 of Jo Coleman's blog series on The Scarlet Pimpernel, relating to the original book by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the 1934 film version and the 1982 film version. You can see part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and the original post on Jo's blog here.)

What is it about Chauvelin that interests me so, and has intrigued many for years?

Firstly, I believe, is his resolve. He has set out to accomplish something, and will achieve it at all costs. It is horribly fascinating to watch how coldly and cruelly he sets the trap for Marguerite, and how nonchalantly he quietly takes the knowledge of the demise of her entire world, and leaves.

Ugly Chauvelin
Chauvelin, from the 1934 movie adaption.

He had received a rebuke and a snub, but his shrewd, fox-like face looked neither abashed nor disappointed; on the contrary, a curious smile, half sarcastic and wholly satisfied, played around the corners of his thin lips.

This man, this Pimpernel, who Marguerite has so idolized, is eventually known to him to be none other than her own husband. Yet Chauvelin had a purpose, something greater in his mind than the ties of an old friendship, or love, as was the case of the 1982 adaption.

C_smiling
Chauvelin, from the 1982 movie adaption.

But, above all, Chauvelin had a purpose at heart. He firmly believed that the French aristocrat was the most bitter enemy of France; he would have wished to see every one of them annihilated: he was one of those who, during this awful Reign of Terror, had been the first to utter the historic and ferocious desire “that aristocrats might have but one head between them, so that it might be cut off with a single stroke of the guillotine.” And thus he looked upon every French aristocrat, who had succeeded in escaping from France, as so much prey of which the guillotine had been unwarrantably cheated.

In fact, I think in the 1982 movie version, there was another current running in Chauvelin’s desire to kill The Scarlet Pimpernel once he finds out it is really Sir Percy Blakeney… it is, perhaps, a means to get back at Marguerite, for spurning him, for marrying a fool. She… she would never know anything different. In her eyes, he should die a fool.

c5
That moment when you see his love for Marguerite, his disbelief that she could possibly marry Sir Percy, of all people.

She looked at [Chauvelin] as he turned to speak to Desgas; she could just see his face beneath the broad-brimmed, Cures’s hat. There was at that moment so much deadly hatred, such fiendish malice in the thin face and pale, small eyes, that Marguerite’s last hope died in her heart, for she felt that from this man she could expect no mercy.
He, above all, longed to have the cunning enemy, who had so long baffled him, helpless in his power; he wished to gloat over him, to enjoy his downfall, to inflict upon him what moral and mental torture a deadly hatred alone can devise. The brave eagle, captured, and with noble wings clipped, was doomed to endure the gnawing of the rat.

pnc
How very much he despises the presence of Sir Percy. (1982 movie adaption)

Or so Chauvelin thought. As he meets Sir Percy face to face, near the end of their journeys, we find he really is frightened of the man. He has met his match in wits, a man so clever and daring that he seemed almost able to accomplish the impossible.

He had no fear for his own person, although he certainly was alone in a lonely inn with a man who was powerfully built, and who was daring and reckless beyond the bounds of probability. Chauvelin would willingly have braved perilous encounters for the sake of the cause he had at heart, but what he did fear was that this impudent Englishman would, by knocking him down, double his own chances of escape; his underlings might not succeed so well in capturing the Scarlet Pimpernel, when not directed by the cunning and and the shrewd brain, which had deadly hate for an incentive.

Unfortunately, it is Chauvelin’s complete faith in his preparations that allows the Pimpernel to ultimately slip right out from under his nose.

He is a good villain, certainly, and even more so in the 1982 movie adaption. His love that eventually turns to hate makes him sympathetic to the reader, yet his heartless cruelty makes us root that much more for the Pimpernel and cheer at Chauvelin’s demise.

c3

What do you like about Chauvelin? Which representation (movie or book) of him did you like the best?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Leaguettes All, Look at THIS!


The ORIGINAL world TV premiere advertisement for TSP1982.  I'm pretty close to drooling right now.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: The Land of Calais


Since I first met The Scarlet Pimpernel a year and a half ago, I've loved reading Baroness Orczy's original books.  Although I soon found many others who loved it just as much as I did, I never found a single bit of good published TSP fanfiction. 

With one exception.

Needless to say, I was delighted when I stumbled upon Literary Maidens Publishing and saw that Melody Grubb had published a TSP fanfiction story, The Land of Calais. 
 



Nothing but a promise from the legendary Scarlet Pimpernel himself would have induced Jeanne Andole to leave France before her family was brought to safety.  With that promise, she moves to England and joins high society, beginning a friendship with Lady Blakeney.  Yet time goes by and her family does not appear.  She begins to wonder who the Scarlet Pimpernel actually is and why he has not rescued her family.  In the middle of this perplexity Jeanne meets Chauvelin and that can only lead to trouble.  Before long Jeanne is back in France, trying to rescue her endangered family since it seems the Scarlet Pimpernel will not.  Unfortunately, Chauvelin, back to his old revolution-supporting activities, is eager to use the situation for his own advantage.  Soon Jeanne’s whole family is under arrest – and it seems there is nothing the Scarlet Pimpernel can do to help them.

This is a lovely little book.  Jeanne, with her strong faith and a tendency to jump into situations, is  easy to relate to.  Sir Percy is as laughing and self-deprecating as ever, with thankfully less of those minced oaths that I've always considered the worst of the TSP books.  Chauvelin is as evil as ever.  Marguerite  has just enough of a comeo to keep me happy, as does Lord Anthony Dewhurst.  I liked how this book was written too, with delightful echoes of  Baroness Orczy's books mingled in with Melody's own writing style. 

At 71 pages, I suppose The Land of Calais could be more accurately called a novella.  A few times (especially when there were Certain Happenings near the end) I found myself thinking that the story would have been better if it was drawn out a little more, but hey, don't we all want nice books to be longer? 

In conclusion, this sweet little book is not only a trip back to  the world and characters of the TSP stories, but also an exciting tale in its own right.  If you've ever been wishing there was more TSP fanfiction, you should definately look into The Land of Calais!

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Melody Grubb of Literary Maidens Publishing for giving me a review copy!  All opinions are my own. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Quote of the Week #5


Here, in a few sentences, the whole purpose of the League from the lips of its gallant founder himself.  I can read this over and over!


Blakeney watched him for a moment or two without speaking. His face through all the grime and disfigurement wore that expression of infinite sympathy and understanding of which he, of all men, appeared to hold the secret, the understanding of other people's troubles and difficulties, and that wordless sympathy which had so endeared him to his friends.

"Help you, my dear fellow," he now said. "Of course, we'll all help you, if you want us. What are we here for but to help each other, as well as those poor wretches who are in trouble through no fault of their own?"

 Sir Percy Leads the Band, chapter 19

Monday, March 4, 2013

Their Ethical Dilemma

 (This is Part 3 of Jo Coleman's blog series on The Scarlet Pimpernel, relating to the original book by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the 1934 film version and the 1982 film version. You can see part 1 here, part 2 here and the original post on Jo's blog here.)

the-scarlet-pimpernel-1-1
The Pimpernel, in his last great performance (and gut-wrenching scene!). My heart still jumps at the gunshots. From TSP 1982.
 
One question has intrigued me that was brought to life by this story.

In the same situation, what would I do? Would I risk my life and possibly reputation to save other people, some of whom I may not even know?

The Pimpernel and his band were not evading the clutches of merely anyone… they were defying the orders of a new government. They perhaps had a dilemma; to respect the rulings of the new government even to the point of not looking twice at the many deaths they caused (as most aristocrats in England certainly did), or defy the new government to save the lives of many, risking their own in the process.

They were not against the coming of a new government, but they were opposed to the methods it chose to employ. As we know, they did defy the new government, for saving the lives of others was more important to them than saving their own necks and simply turning a blind eye.

In those days one denunciation was sufficient: Marguerite’s few thoughtless words anent the Marquis de St. Cyr bore fruit within twenty-four hours. He was arrested. His papers were searched: letters from the Austrian Emperor, promising to send troops against the Paris populace, were found on his desk. He was arraigned for treason against the nation, and sent to the guillotine, whilst his family, his wife and his sons, shared in this awful fate.

They certainly had the option to do nothing… they were required to do nothing. As members of high society, their lives were preferable, were “set”. Being Englishmen, they would not be touched by the atrocities of France, except perhaps to lose some good friends (not to say that is minor!). But they could have stayed, in their comfort, in peace.

The Scarlet Pimpernel 34 copy
Percy and Marguerite’s wedding, a common sort of party in their lives. From TSP 1982


And yet… they chose not to. Perhaps a part of it WAS simply for sport, for the rush of adrenaline it surely brought. But another part, a greater part, was strong enough to choose to defy a new government, to put their lives on the line. Perhaps the greater moral dilemma is not “should I defy this government on behalf of those they are trying to kill for no reason?” but instead “Can I sit back and do nothing while innocent people are slaughtered like animals in a meat-house?”

The answer to that second question, by the Scarlet Pimpernel and his band was, decidedly, NO.

[Marguerite, thinking of the Scarlet Pimpernel] Ah! There was a man she might have loved, had he come her way: everything in him appealed to her romantic imagination; his personality, his strength, his bravery, the loyalty of those who served under him in that same noble cause, and, above all, that anonymity which crowned him, as if with a halo of romantic glory.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel plotting and planning. (From TSP 1982
movie version)

What do you think of their moral/ethical dilemma?
 
 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars



When I posted about the letter Percy sends Marguerite in Mam'zelle Guillotine, I was struck that I had heard the line before - "I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more." Soooooz I looked it up and lo-and-behold, there it was (not only was Percy the perfect hero, he was obviously well-educated. Sigh). Originally written by Richard Lovelace in the 1600's, the poem just seemed like it could have been written about Percy and Marguerite, so I had to post it here. Enjoy. :)


  
Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
To war and arms I fly.
 

True, a new mistress now I chase,
The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
A sword, a horse, a shield.
 
 

Yet this inconstancy is such
As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.


"With the help of my faithful lieutenants I will bring those defenceless women safely to England according to my pledged word, then my arms will close again around you and you will feel my whole soul in a kiss."
~ Mam'zelle Guillotine


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sink Me! He Said It! (And Other Random Pimpernel Ramblings)



If you were to bring up the subject of The Scarlet Pimpernel to someone (especially the 1982 film), they'd most likely come back with Sir Percy's laconic catchphrase, "Sink Me!" Once you see the film, you'll never read the phrase again without hearing it in Anthony Andrews' voice. ;)

But it's been a matter of some debate whether our hero ever actually said it in any of the books. Gasp and horror, could it be he never said it?! Not 'sink me'!

Sooooo I was going through the books on Blakeney Manor (they have all the Pimpernel books online to read there, fyi) to get my head wrapped around Baroness O's writing style in prep for writing the sequel (which, let's just say, is going to be interesting as her writing style is polar opposite from mine!) and I stumbled across Mam'zelle Guillotine, which, let me add, is an absolutely delightful read. Anyway. And what should my wondering eyes behold, but this bit here...

"The Cosy Corner"? It was anything but cosy on this bleak February evening when a hooded cart drawn by a couple of horses came to a halt beneath its creaking signpost. The man who had been driving it threw down the reins and jumped down from the cart. At the back, under the hood, there were two bundles wrapped in thick blankets. Live bundles, through the thick folds of which came the sound of whimpering and little human cries: "Maman?" The man went round to the back of the cart. With infinite precaution he took up the bundles and carried them into the derelict house. Through one room, which had obviously been the public bar once, he carried the two bundles one by one, and thence into an inner room, wherein, as there was no furniture whatever, he deposited them with tender care on the wooden floor. He saw to it that the blankets covered the small human forms efficiently against the cold, and listened for a moment or two to the pathetic cries of "Maman." He then took a bottle out of the pocket of his big coat. It contained milk. Perhaps there was even a tiny, very tiny drop of brandy in the milk.

"That will comfort you, you poor kids," he murmured to himself, and insinuated the bottle into the small human mouths. There was some spluttering, but swallowing also. The man gave a quaint little chuckle. "I ought to have been a nursemaid!" he went on murmuring to himself. He waited for a few moments longer, until gradually the cries of "Maman" became more rare, and the two bundles of blankets no longer betrayed any movement through their folds. He went out of the room and gave himself a good stretch. "Sink me!" he muttered, "but I'm stiff. I never thought a woman could hit so hard."

This was none other than Sir Percy Blakeney, Bart., the prince of dandies, the enfant gâté of London and Bath society, the brilliant sportsman, and always the smartest and gayest man in town.

He said sink me!!! Hurrah!

This may not seem that big of a deal to some, but for me it was wonderful. :)

ALSO. I am in a giddy Percy-loving mood right now...I can go a while without reading and still think he's awesome and everything but then I read a Pimpernel novel and am just reminded for the umpteenth time how much I adore this hero and how he's just the bestest!!!

Review of Mam'zelle Guillotine hopefully coming fairly soon...it's really a great read and she actually explains away her infamous "for the love of the sport" that we all despise. Plus there's this really sweet bit in a letter to Marguerite that just about rivals The Letter from El Dorado.
 



"On my knees do I beg your forgiveness, my beloved, for the discomfort and suffering you are enduring now. Would I had had the heart not to listen when you said to me: 'If you go, I go with you.' Your eyes, your lips, your lovely arms held me in bonds that no man living should have dared to sever. 'If you love me, do not go,' you entreated, and your exquisite voice broke in an agony of tears. Yet I, like a madman, thought only of two little children who would need a woman's care, and thought more of them and their helpless mother, thought more of an ideal, of my duty and mine honour and of my solemn pledge to Saint-Lucque, more of all that than I did of you. 'If you love me,' you begged, 'do not go.' If I loved you! I love you with my whole soul, with every fibre of my being, more than life and eternity, but I could not love you, dear, so much, loved I not honour more. With the help of my faithful lieutenants I will bring those defenceless women safely to England according to my pledged word, then my arms will close again around you and you will feel my whole soul in a kiss."


Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. :)   

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ring the Bells on This Joyous Day!!!



Soooooooooo I was going about my business browsing through the Internet (whether or not I was watching various videos of Certain People Much Admired on This Blog and By Myself Who Are In the Picture Above shall not be addressed) when I stumbled across something that made me scream like I haven't since the first time I heard the "Sink me, I couldn't agree more" line and realized Percy wasn't dead after all.

As most of you know, we discussed last year the possibility of finding out how we could get TSP1982 back on DVD and in circulation. We piddled with ideas but life kind of got in the way and it was dropped at the wayside.

Lo and behold, on Barnes and Noble and DVD Planet it states that a DVD version is available for pre-order! The release date is April 2013!!! (It's also on Amazon)

I for one can't stop squealing. :) And yes, forget the fact that they spelled tumbels wrong or made Jane's dress blue instead of salmon.

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL IS COMING BACK ON DVD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life is good.    

Monday, February 4, 2013

Dissection of a Character: Marguerite Blakeney

(This is Part 2 of Jo Coleman's blog series on The Scarlet Pimpernel, relating to the original book by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the 1934 film version and the 1982 film version. You can see part 1 here and the original post on Jo's blog here.)

scarlet pimpernel merle oberon
I loved Merle Oberon as Marguerite… she was stunning! From the 1934 movie version.
Marguerite is arguably the most conflicted and relatable character in the story. Her terribly rent heart when forced to choose between saving her brother and protecting the Scarlet Pimpernel. The deep love she thought had died toward her husband, yet still flows as strongly as ever through her veins. Her fierce sisterly love and protection for Armand.

The most terrible decision she must make, in the short time we are acquainted with her, is the choice between the life of Pimpernel and that of her brother. A man she does not know yet has saved the lives of many others… or her own dear brother? Did she choose wrong, when she chose to give the life of the Pimpernel in exchange for the life of her brother?

Whilst she did not see [Chauvelin], there still lingered in her heart of hearts a vague, undefined hope that “something” would occur, something big, enormous, epoch-making, which would shift from her young, weak shoulder this terrible burden of responsibility, of having to choose between two such cruel alternatives.

***
Close upon eleven! The hands of the handsome Louis XV. Clock upon its ormolu bracket seemed to move along with maddening rapidity. Two hours more, and her fate and that of Armand would be sealed. In two hours she must make up her mind whether she will keep the knowledge so cunningly gained to herself, and leave her brother to his fate, or whether she will willfully betray a brave man, whose life was devoted to his fellow-men, who was noble, generous, and above all, unsuspecting. It seemed a horrible thing to do. But then, there was Armand! Armand, too, was noble and brave, Armand, too, was unsuspecting. And Armand loved her, would have willingly trusted his life in her hands, and now, when she could save him from death, she hesitated. Oh! It was monstrous; her brother’s kind, gentle face, so full of love for her, seemed to be looking reproachfully at her.
You might have saved me, Margot!” He seemed to say to her, “and you chose the life of a stranger, a man you do not know, whom you have never seen, and preferred that he should be safe, whilst you sent me to the guillotine!”

This short time is, perhaps, a defining moment in her life, reflecting such a moment in the lives of the readers as well. What would I do, one is caused to wonder, in the face of such a situation? Would I assist in the certain demise of an innocent man, or would I say no, knowing that another innocent man, my only brother, would certainly be killed in his stead?

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Jane Seymour as Marguerite was phenomenal and completely gorgeous. From the 1982 movie version.
 
She chooses her brother, we know, though it does not appease her conscience. Little does she know at the time that as she unwillingly betrays the Scarlet Pimpernel, she betrays the very man she loves; heart and soul… her own husband, Percy Blakeney! She finds out soon enough, and just as quick sets out to rescue him from the certain death Chauvelin will deal him.

One of the scenes I appreciated the most from the 1982 film adaption (which was not in the book) is when Marguerite sneaks to the library to warn the Scarlet Pimpernel that she has betrayed him to Chauvelin, and the beautiful interchange between them, in which Percy finally realizes her intentions were never to have the Marquis de San Cyr killed, and that she was used, just as she was being used in that moment to save the life of Armand.

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The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982
(This from the book, in a similar but not identical conversation.)

You thought I meant to deceive you about it all – that I ought to have spoken before I married you: yet, had you listened, I would have told you that up to the very morning on which St. Cyr went to the guillotine, I was straining every nerve, using every influence I possessed, to save him and his family.
But my pride sealed my lips, when your love seemed to perish, as if under the knife of that same guillotine. Yet I would have told you how I was duped! Aye! I, whom that same popular rumour had endowed with the sharpest wits in France! I was tricked into doing this thing, by men who knew how to play upon my love for an only brother, and my desire for revenge. Was it unnatural?”

She reveals a strength within herself, a strength he had overlooked for so long. She is the woman he’d loved from the start, fiercely loyal, compassionate, willing to take any risks for those she loves. Which she proves twice over in seeking him out after he leaves for the last time, vowing to either save his life, or die with him.

And if he failed – if indeed Fate, and Chauvelin, with all the resources at his command, proved too strong for the daring plotter after all – then at least she would be there by his side, to comfort, love and cherish, to cheat death perhaps at the last by making it seem sweet, if they died both together, locked in each other’s arms, with the supreme happiness of knowing that passion had responded to passion, and that all misunderstandings were at an end.

Marguerite Blakeney is a woman of strength, of great character. Certainly not without flaws, for none are flawless. Yet, it is through her flaws that we see her as she really is – a woman who, much like any of us, puts the life of her brother and her husband above those of anyone else. She would and does go to any lengths to save the lives of those she can, and especially those dear to her heart.

That is Lady Marguerite Blakeney.

What do you think of Lady Blakeney? Does her character resound with you?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Lasting Theme

(This is Part 1 of Jo Coleman's blog series on The Scarlet Pimpernel, relating to the original book by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the 1934 film version and the 1982 film version.  To see the introductory post, click here.  To see the post on Jo's blog, click here.)

“Theme is a statement, or series of related observations, about some aspect of the human condition, interpreted from the unique viewpoint of the author.” – Dean Koontz

The theme of a novel is the deeper layer of meaning running beneath the story’s surface. While the surface story entertains the readers, the theme helps them to reach a new understanding of some aspect of the human condition. -Harvey Chapman


1982 Movie Adaption.
1982 movie adaptation
Theme. It can often be a hard thing to pin down, to put a name to. However, I feel that The Scarlet Pimpernel has two very strong and lasting themes, and those are:

True heroism is sacrifice: being willing to put your own life on the line to save someone else’s, and it is always worth the risk.

True love is always worth fighting for.

I will only be going into the first one in this post, and save the second for a later post. I feel the stronger and more profound of the two is the first:

True heroism is sacrifice: being willing to put your own life on the line to save someone else’s, and it is always worth the risk.

This, I think, is one of the reasons this story resounds so well, and has continued to through the years. It is a tale not just of love, not just of adventure, and not just delving into politics and war. It is a tale of men risking their lives to save those whom they have no obligation to.

Sport, Madame la Comtesse, sport,” asserted Lord Antony, with his jovial, loud and pleasant voice; “we are a nation of sportsmen, you know, and just now it is the fashion to pull the hare from between the teeth of the hound.”

Ah, no, no, not sport only, Monsieur… you have a more noble motive, I am sure, for the good work you do.”

Faith, Madame, I would like you to find it then… as for me, I vow, I love the game, for this is the finest sport I have yet encountered. Hair-breath escapes… and devil’s own risks! Tally ho! And away we go!”

It is, in a sense, a game to them, yet through it all, a true and noble heart shows through their actions. They do not stop the French Revolution. They do not get into the politics or fight in a war. However, through their brave actions, they save the lives of those that they can.

But the Comtesse shook her head, still incredulously. To her it seemed preposterous that these young men and their great leader, all of them rich, probably well-born, and young, should for no other motive than sport, run the terrible risks, which she knew they were constantly doing.

The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. 1982 Movie Adaption.
The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel - 1982 movie adaptation
This is why they – especially the Scarlet Pimpernel himself – are so intriguing, why the story does not just end with the last page of the book or when the credits roll, but continues in your heart and mind long after. A man who rallies a group together who ravage Madame Guillotine and steal some from her cold embrace. A group of young men risking life and limb to give life back to innocents – people they have no obligation to.

[Marguerite] had told [Chauvelin] before that this mysterious hero of romance was the talk of the smart set to which she belonged; already, before this, her heart and her imagination had stirred by the thought of the brave man, who, unknown to fame, had rescued hundreds of lives from a terrible, often an unmerciful fate. She had but little real sympathy with those haughty French aristocrats, insolent in their pride of caste, of whom the Comtesse de Tournay de Basserive was so typical an example; but republican and liberal-minded though she was from principle, she hated and loathed the methods which the young Republic had chosen for establishing itself.

Then, when first she heard of this band of young English enthusiasts, who, for sheer love of their fellowmen, dragged women and children, old and young men, from a horrible death, her heart had glowed with pride for them, and now, as Chauvelin spoke, her very soul went out to the gallant and mysterious leader of the reckless little band, who risked his life daily, who gave it freely and without ostentation, for the sake of humanity.

This very well defines how I feel about the Scarlet Pimpernel and his band as well. They hate to see the deaths of others at the hands of those who have no inhibitions toward slaughtering men, women and children, guilty or not.

True heroism is sacrifice: being willing to put your own life on the line to save someone else’s, and it is always worth the risk.

This is what we aspire to, what we all imagine ourselves to be. Someone who would save the life of another – even if it cost our own. Someone noble of heart, who loves deeply, risks everything, and uses what we have not just in selfish indulgence, but to benefit others. This is who the Scarlet Pimpernel is.

What do you think about the theme of this book? Does it resound with you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Introducing: the Scarlet Pimpernel!

Maria's note: things have been slowing down here a little lately, and, as a remedy, I'm delighted to present Jo Coleman who's writing a seven part series on why she likes The Scarlet Pimpernel so much.  The introductory post is below, and the rest will be published every week or two.  Enjoy!



Well. Allow me to calm the pounding of my heart. I have been in something of a tizzy ever since watching both the 1934 version as well as the 1982 version within 2 days. Especially the 1982 version.

Let me back up. I read the book, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy about a year and a half ago, and I was completely enthralled. I searched somewhat half-hearted for a movie adaption, but did not attempt very strongly, mostly because I was afraid a movie adaption would destroy everything beautiful about the story.

I left it at that until a week ago, when I was wanting something to watch, and remembered a friend had sent me a movie adaption of the Scarlet Pimpernel, so I decided to watch the 1934 adaption, with Leslie Howard as Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel and Merle Oberon as Lady Blakeney/Marguerite St. Just. It was beautiful. Perfect.

So, I found the 1982 adaption and watched that one as well. My heart still hasn’t stopped its wild drumbeat. The movie did take some liberties story-wise, but (and this may be the first time I have ever said this) it was definitely for the best.

Now, I am bringing a 7 part dissection of this story, and why I feel it is one of the most perfect stories ever written and acted out. Each Monday I will bring a new part of it during my regular Monday postings.

Stay tuned for this series!

Jo M. Coleman is a 22 year old aspiring author who lives and writes in Arizona, which she loves not just for the heat, but for the inspiration she finds there as well. She has written 2 novels and is working on editing and outlining two more currently. Jo is a professing Christian, and hopes to show the love of Jesus to others through her art and writing.  You can visit her blog at jomcoleman.com