Friday, July 19, 2013

The Scarlet Pimpernel Movie Review


So, I was rather tentative about reviewing "The Scarlet Pimpernel" because I have the idea from a couple of blogs I've seen that there is a very dedicated fandom of TSP. I cannot claim to be a part of that fandom because I have only read one book of TSP and while it was good, that was all I have read of it. I have also seen the 1982 version starring Anthony Andrews as Sir Percy (loved him in that role, not many people could play Percy without making him incredibly annoying and completely unlikable.) And also starring Jane Seymour (love her as an actress, she's stunning! She's also Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women, which I know because of Hamlette's blog give away, so thank you again Hamlette!) Finally, Citizen Chauvelin was played by Ian McKellen to perfection.

The theme song began, and already I was very excited for this movie, as I'd heard wonderful reviews. (If you would like to hear the theme song click here.) So, it starts out in a jail, and they (the French Citizens) are taking the fallen aristocrats to Madame Guillotine. It's rather gruesome, but you don't see much, don't worry. It's only gruesome because I have an overactive imagination, and because it actually did happen during the real French Revolution under Robespierre and I think about that. I learned about that in History this year.... hmm, maybe school is helpful after all? ;)

So, anyway, for those of you who don't know the story, the Scarlet Pimpernel and his gang save aristocrats who are about to be beheaded. Because even though the Revolution had high ideals, when put into practice they became rather harsh. (Not ALL aristocrats are bad, you know!) The Scarlet Pimpernel is the despair of Robespierre and, more importantly, Citizen Chauvelin.  Every time the Scarlet Pimpernel successfully saves another French aristocrat, he leaves a little Pimpernel Flower in their place like this:


Now, how does he escape? Well, Sir Percy is wonderful at disguises. Here are just a few:




The latter is how he usually looks, but it really is a disguise, as Percy isn't really a stupid fop, but an extremely wonderful gentleman. Those are pretty amazing disguises, though. On to the romance though! His face when he catches sight of Marguerite St. Just! It's priceless! Really love at first sight and that kind of thing.


Marguerite St. Just is a famous actress, and, sadly the love interest of Citizen Chauvelin, but Percy soon successfully transfers her attentions. I really never understood how someone like Marguerite liked Chauvelin.... maybe his power interested her, or perhaps she thought the cause he was fighting for noble at first. Probably the latter. But, I don't exactly hate Chauvelin. At times, I almost feel sorry for him. Then he's slimy Chauvelin again and I'm disgusted with him. But Ian McKellen really made Chauvelin interesting. You're not sure he's terribly awful all the time.


But when Chauvelin said to Marguerite that his "first duty, my dear, is to you." I was thinking yeah RIGHT! Because, of course, that simply isn't true and I believe Marguerite knew it too. His love, like Enjolras' is to Patria, or, his country. Which would be great and all, except what they are doing is wrong.

But, I have a bone to pick with Sir Percy.... When he hears, after his marriage to Marguerite, that she "finally got revenge" on the aristocrats who hurt her brother Armand (by having the whole family beheaded), and Percy BELIEVES MARGUERITE WOULD DO SUCH A THING! No! No! No! Citizen Chauvelin's name is written all over it! I know he must be "careful" and blah blah blah because it might be true, so she can never know he is the Scarlet Pimpernel and he has to act like a foppish gentleman in his own house now too.... IT'S JUST SAD!

I felt deeply for Marguerite, especially at the picnic, when Percy doesn't stand up for her. When she runs away I practically yell GO AFTER HER! But I don't because it might disturb my whole family.

And the scene where Marguerite feels that Percy just doesn't love her anymore breaks my heart, and I was also sad when Percy says, after being wrongfully accused by Armand that he has ceased to love her, "ceased? I shall love her till the day I die... that is the tragedy." :'(

I was also sad for the poor little Prince Louis. His "catechism" at night was horrifying, to say the least. I cannot talk about it. Now, because there is so much I want to say, and I can't seem to find a way to connect it all, I will randomly just mention some of my favorite bits:

-That Marguerite is brave enough to risk so much just for the Scarlet Pimpernel, especially since she doesn't even know he's Percy, was truly amazing to me. Bravo Marguerite!

- Percy: "I shall be back, my dear Chauvelin, to haunt you."

-I must mention the best fighting scene between Percy and Chauvelin. Percy is so arrogant! haha

- Percy's sayings are just amazing! "Odd's fish, m'dear" and "Sink meh!" etc.etc.

- Percy the fop's poems: "I'm a bit of a poet, and you didn't know it!"
"They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!"

This is a really nice movie, with some adventure and suspense, romance, and historical information. The costumes are amazing and the hair is very intricate. I hope you like the movie and the review! I certainly enjoyed both!

And if you haven't watched TSP, Percy and I are judging you. Rectify this immediately! :)
Here's the link:


  1. I desperately want to see this, but my library doesn't have it, so I've had to content myself with adding it to my Amazon wish list. Sigh. It looks wonderful, and you know what a Jane Seymour fan I am! And also Sir Ian McKellen -- he's always magnificent, even (especially?) when he's playing the bad guy!

  2. It is a wonderful cast. If you really do want to watch it, and you don't mind watching it via YouTube, here is the whole movie (in parts 1,2, etc.) uploaded by cozypillowx:

    Enjoy! I'd love to hear what you think of it! :)

    1. Awesome! Thanks for the link -- I'm adding it to my list of stuff available on YouTube. I hope to get to it one of these days!