Friday, January 15, 2010
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
I did enjoy this version very much, the plot is slightly different from the book but Andrews portrays the foppish and affected Sir Percy Blakeney so well that I couldn't help but forgive them for those changes. Percy is still the richest man in England who likes to entertain his friends and the Prince Regent with the latest on dit and the cleverest word games.
He weds the lovely Marguerite who believes him to be more than the fashionable mask he shows everyone else but an erroneous information on their wedding day leads Percy to believe her with revolutionary sympathies while he leads a secret life as a British spy, called The Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuing the aristocrats from Madame La Guillotine. Btw the movie begins with the The Pimpernel and his friends rescuing the young Louis XVII from jail...
The couple becomes estranged soon after the wedding and a blackmailed Marguerite ends up helping the French to find The Scarlet Pimpernel. When she realises he is in fact her husband the action becomes a race against time to find him sooner than the French and help him escape... and that's where it differs from the book, there is more action, more fighting scenes in the adaptation and while I would prefer for them to stick to the story I think it works well for people who haven't read the books. Besides the script I think the success of the movie stands squarely on Anthony Andrews shoulders as the perfect Percy Blakeney, not that Jane Seymour was bad but she definitely wasn't as memorable.
It's the perfect adventure movie, especially if you are into Bonnets & Hessians.
This is an entry for the Period Drama Challenge.