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*

I died from laughter when I saw this cover. He's not Zorro! What's with his mask??
And They're not in 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

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!


Natasha Marie said...

Yup, basically agree with everything in your review.
It was a good film, and although Barry K. Barnes wasn't up to Leslie Howard or Anthony Andrew's Sir Percy, it wasn't too shabby.
I really didn't like Sophie Stewart as Marguerite, though. She felt all wrong for the part.
I LOVED Percy's disguises in this film! So much fun!!
Excellent review:)

Maria Elisabeth said...

Ooooooh! This is marvelous! The storyline sounds a bit like The Triumph of The Scarlet Pimpernel which is an amazing book. And it's so nice that it's on youtube! I guess I know what I'll be watching this week!

Caroline L. said...

Ooooo! Fun fun fun! *adds to youtube watch list*

Anna Grace said...

Thanks. Yeah Sophie Stewart wasn't nearly as good as the other two, but I didn't mind her too much. Glad to know you like it!

Yes, I think that was one of the books it mentioned that it was based after. Let me know what you think of it after you see it!

It is fun. You should definitely check it out.


Annabeth Dickie said...

I just watched that movie :)love it!
By the way, I have just one bad comment to make.....when you said "The coat he's wearing has little flowers all over it.....Scarlet Pimpernels, to be precise.... *snort* Real discrete there, Percy." Ummmmm the movie is a sequel to the movie "the scarlet pimpernel 1934" in which the Rein of Terror founds out WHO the Scarlet Pimpernel really is! So it realy would not matter about the flowers on his coat!!!!!
ANYWAY, the rest of the review was great :)
I agree with Natasha Marie about Sophie Stewart as Marguerite, it just was not right...
Anthony Bushell as Sir Andrew Ffoulkes!! Cool LOL I agree with you about that Andrew Ffoulkes is my favorite of the League :)
My favourite scene would be the scene when Andrew Ffoulkes comes in wounded and says that Chauvelin has got Marguerite again :) :(
Anyway, I had better stop raving now!