March 10, 2012

Going Through the Era's {Matinee Saturday} - 1930's

I'm linking up to Bramblewood Fashion's Going Through the Era's event!

This week {March 4th-10th} is the 1930s.
Today's theme is...Matinee Saturday!
{do movie reviews of movies from the era. share your favorite Actors/Actresses, fun movie trivia, etc....}

Oh goodness!  
There are so many wonderful films from the 30s, and I had an understandably difficult time deciding which movie to review...
Mr. Smith Goes to the Washington
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Captain Blood
You Can't Take It With You
Little Women
Dodge City
Gone With The Wind
Not to mention the lovely films starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!

I finally decided on one that is less well known...

The Scarlet Pimpernel

It's 1792, at the pinnacle of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror.  Paris is in the hands of a mob - a bloodthirsty, vengeful mob - who rejoice at the sound of the guillotines blade descending on the necks of men, women and children.  Those "cursed aristos", the innocent victims of a bloody revolution.   But there is hope.  Rescuing aristocrats from beneath the very blade of madame guillotine, a secret league of twenty men is at work, lead by one brave man.  
"One to command, and nineteen to obey."
That man is The Scarlet Pimpernel.

While not the first or last adaptation of Baroness Orczy's thrilling adventure novel, this is quite possibly the best of them all.  Full of daring adventure and romance, it captures the spirit of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

With a simply outstanding performance by Leslie Howard as the Scarlet Pimpernel, the daring master of disguise, and his alter ego Sir Percy Blakeney, the fop whose chief concern is that his cravats be properly starched and tied.  The transformation from one personality to the other is seamless, flawless and fascinating to behold.

Beautiful, charming and clever Lady Blakeney, formerly Marguerite St. Just, is delightfully portrayed by Merle Oberon.

Creepy and cold, sneaky and slimy, and, above all, treacherous.  Raymond Massey's Citizen Chauvelin is all of that and more.  The character you love to hate is quite hate-able, I assure you.
"Sink me! what a mess."

 I hadn't watched this movie in a while, so I re-watched it today.  Goodness!  I'd forgotten how wonderful it is!  The characters...the witty dialog...the suspense. 
It's, quite simply, a masterpiece.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) is in the public domain and available to watch for free in it's entirety here.

Have you ever watched this film?  What were your thoughts on it?
Happy Trails, y'all!



  1. You've intrigued me, m'dear, to check out this other version of "The Scarlet Pimpernel." We saw a more recent one a while back, the one with Gandalf--er, I *mean* Ian McKellen ;-)--as Chauvelin. Sink me! That one felt like a six- or seven-hour miniseries crammed into almost two hours. How does the '30s version compare?

    Funny you should mention Robin Hood; that's probably the one I would have reviewed if I'd have time to do this Blog Party. :-D

    God bless,
    ~"Wild Rose"~

  2. I'm downloading now; The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of those things I really need to check out, so this is a good way to start! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  3. This is the only film adaption of the Scarlet Pimpernel I've seen. It is a lovely adaption, isn't it? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Lux Radio Theatre adaption they did of it with Leslie Howard and Olivia de Haviland!

  4. I've only seen the 1982 version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour, which I absolutely loved, but I guess I have to see this one now, too! Sounds wonderful!

    ~Nessima of Arda Nessimava

  5. Thank you for commenting, ladies!

    @Wild Rose - I always call Ian McKellen Gandalf, too;) I agree that the 1982 version felt somewhat rushed. One aspect that I very much approved of was combining elements from several different books in the series, including my favorite El Dorado, into one movie. And the duel;)
    The 30s version doesn't feel cramped to me, and it's my favorite of the two versions.
    Yes! The Adventures of Robin Hood is my absolute favorite movie of all time!!

    @Hana-Marmota - It's definitely worth downloading. You're welcome!

    @Hanne-col - Oh, I love the Lux version with Olivia! I think I might prefer her Marguerite to Merle Oberon's.

    @Nessima - I really like the 1982 version, too! But this one is pretty wonderful:)


Comments are my one weakness - thanks for taking the time to say hello!