Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

In TV on August 31, 2004 at 3:33 am


Thanks to some documentary I accidently caught on TV while channel flipping when I was little, the Guillotine became my no.1 childhood nightmare (it was some jerky black and white footage showing the blade coming down and chopped off someone’s head. The sudden jerk and horror expression on that guy’s face still haunts me ^^;;)


Inspired by Blackadder III spoof, I found the DVD of the 1982 British TV movie of Scarlet Pimpernel on Netflix. You can tell from the screencaps that I LOVE it!!! ^_^ It’s historical inaccurate but well-made, well-acted and just pure fun! It brings back so much of my girlhood memories (the type of stories I like to read as a girl). The anime of Rose of Versailles was showing on TV around the same time as I saw that Guillotine documentary…so my interest in French Revolution and Rococo style goes way back ^^;;


Story: Based on the novel series by Baroness Orczy, it was the first dual identity masked-hero story ever written. During the French Revolution when the French aristocrats were arrested and their heads were chopped off by the angry and bloodthirsty public, a British aristocrat Lord Percy (Anthony Andrews, who looks+sounds like Ewan McGregor) ran a secret organization to help them escape. His alias name was “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and he hid his identity under different disguises. When he’s in his “Clark Kent” stage he put on an idiotic foppish front so no one would suspect. Chauvelin (Ian McKellen) was a revolutionist who wanted to catch Scarlet Pimpernel. The two men both liked this actress Marguerite (Jane Seymour). Of course the hero won and married her. But Percy had to hide his secret identity from her due to some misunderstandings, and she got blackmailed by Chauvelin to help him find the true identity of Scarlet Pimpernel. Meanwhile Scarlet Pimpernel and his gang tried to save Louis XVII (the 8 year old former prince ) in jail…

Ian McKellen is very cute as Chauvelin, the bitter, jealous, grudge-holding vengeful scheming prissy unattractive poor low class drama-queen ^^;; who was being stripped in the final sword duel with Scarlet Pimpernel…so poor…
Cute guys:
Lord Tony, the most reliable man in the league of Scarlet Pimpernel.
Marguerite’s brother Armand.
The story told a fantasy about what happened to the boy Louis XVII who was forced to renounce his Queen mother Marie Antoinette as a whore. In history he remained lock up the rest of his life in jail and died under cruel treatment. Though a rumor saids that he was rescued using a body double. In the Scarlet Pimpernel story they successfully saved and smuggled him back to Austria. But I read that few years ago there were DNA comparison with the Royal family that the body who died in jail was indeed Louis XVII.
Oh since this was a TV movie from 1982, the film quality is really bad…it’s like Rambrandt palette gone wrong with mud and mold. The DVD production was probably too cheap to do any color correction during video transfer…

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