Monday, February 06, 2006

The Scarlet Pimpernel



Having long loved this 1982 version (on the left) of The Scarlet Pimpernel, we borrowed a 1998 version (see right) from the library, eager to see how it compared. We were so disappointed. It was very confusing, and now I see why--it's apparently a condensed form of a 4.5 hour mini-series that came out in 1999. No wonder it seemed all action with no concern for plot or character development. According to the comments on the website linked to above, the mini-series wasn't any better.

Now if you haven't ever seen the '82 version...ahhhhhh, what a TREAT awaits you!!! I will go so far as to say it's one of the best movies ever made (the comments on the website tell me I'm not alone in that assessment). It doesn't even appear dated, since it's a period movie. We got it out and watched the first half hour again after the unsatisfying experience of the '98 one...and could hardly tear ourselves away. It's great drama from the start. We couldn't believe how young Ian McKellen (Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings) looked, Jane Seymour is absolutely gorgeous, and the lesser-known Anthony Andrews was born to play the lead role. My husband loves mimicking him: "Oh it's fish, my dear....Sink may [me]!"

For fellow homeschoolers, a study of the French Revolution would not be complete without watching this movie! Here's a plot summary from the website: During the French Revolution, a mysterious English nobleman known only as The Scarlet Pimpernel (a humble wayside flower), snatches French aristos from the jaws of the guillotine, while posing as the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney in society. Percy falls for and marries the beautiful actress Marguerite St. Just, but she is involved with Chauvelin and Robespierre, and Percy's marriage to her may endanger the Pimpernel's plans to save the little Dauphin.

History as entertainment...at its best!!

2 comments:

owlhaven said...

Interesting. My daughter is reading The Scarlet Pimpernel this year...

Mary

Pianomum said...

I started, and didn't get to finish (since I left it on the airplane), a new book out called "The Pink Carnation". It's about this English writer who is trying to delve back in history to determine who was in reality the "Pink Carnation", an assistant of the Scarlet Pimpernel (whose real name became known). In this book, he had also had an accomplice or contemporary named "The Purple Gentian" who used a different trademark flower. The book is just plain cute & funny. I've got it on order at the library & hope to finish it soon. Yes, I truly loved the movie "Scarlet Pimpernel", too. Pianomum