- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Exalting Leslie Howard (LH)
- Will Fox
Born April 3, 1893, Leslie Howard Steiner was one of two sons of Hungarian immigrant to England, a London stockbroker married in 1892. Debonair Englishman LH excelled, playing disillusioned intellectuals and gallant gentlemen on stages and screens in Britain and America for about 30 years. Painfully shy as a child traumatized by World War I, LH turned to the theater for therapy. Acclaimed in London, then in America on Broadway in the 1920s, he debuted Hollywood in "Outward Bound" (1930, intriguing allegory of "crossing over" on oceanliner to Heaven or else, 3.5-stars). "The Animal Kingdom" (1933, 3.5 stars) followed with publisher LH besotted by free-spirited Ann Harding, while married to manipulative Myrna Loy. Ditto depressing Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage" (1933). He is best remembered for four, 4-stars roles: 1) swashbuckling hero in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1934), 2) wandering wise writer meets dreamer Davis and escaping gangster Bogart in "Petrified Forrest" (1936), 3) witty egoist, Prof. Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion" (aka "My Fair Lady," 1938, 4 stars for director star LH), and 4) milquetoast Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Despite his success, Howard held Hollywood in contempt. "I haven't the slightest intentions of playing another weak, watery character. I've played enough ineffectual characters already." LH told "GWTW" producer David O. Sleznick before accepting his part. In 1940 LH returned to England to fight for freedom. Leslie Howard's airplane shot down June 1, 1943.
THE SCARLETT PIMPERNEL
Excellent film, great cast, costumes, every thing from Hollywood s golden age. And lets not forget, The Scarlet Pumper Nickle by Daffy Dumas Duck.
For once in his film life, Leslie Howard is able to portray a real man and not some milquetoast semblance of one. He is expertly cast as the hero and the husband of his beautiful wife played by Merle Oberon. I really enjoyed seeing Howard as a popinjay but secretly a great fighter in the French Revolution. Raymond Massey deserves kudos as Chauvelin, the arch nemesis of Howard. Massey is chillingly evil and smarmy in this role, as he blackmails Howard's wife into giving him information about the "Pimpernel." Oberon is particularly effective as she is looking at the portrait of the husband she has loved and then despised because she believed he didn't care about what was happening in France and only cared about what outfit he was wearing at the British court. When her eyes drift to her husband's hand in the portrait and she sees the ring he is wearing, her face is completely and utterly filled with emotion. It's a great scene and excellent acting by Oberon! A film well worth your time!
"Sink me!" what a smashing movie.
- Bill Fletcher
Excellent screenplay, great characterizations, captivating plot. Leslie Howard's portrayal is "spot on" - one of the first "super heroes". The black and white cinematography is marvellous. I really love this movie.Bill.
Scarlet Pimpernel: Flower or Poison?
- Nancy A. Thompson-Jones
This is and remains one of my most favorite of films. Leslie Howard portrays the most gallant, debonair [unless portraying an 'Old Hag'] of all time Super Heroes. What I find infinitely more fascinating is the title of the film. Something I ponder is whether the author, Baroness Orczy wrote the novel with the flower, scarlet pimpernel in mind or wrote the novel and then named it 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. One will never know. When I first viewed the film, I thought 'Oh, how quant, a ring with a cute little posy on it. This morning I read about this 'posy'. Besides being a beautiful little flower, it means a person who rescues others from mortal danger by smuggling them across borders. In addition, it is 'The Devil in Sheep's Clothing!' The origin of the Pimpernel flower was red and from Europe. But what is so apropos, is how a deadly characteristic disguises itself, albeit in a reverse sort of way. It appears as non-threatening as the friendly daisy, but it contains toxins and its digestion may cause death.
- Jeff Boston
Guile saves the "guilty" from the guillotine. "The Scarlet Pimpernel" highlights sensational costume design, stunning beauty (Merle Oberon), and the sickening "Reign of Terror." Leslie Howard is most convincing. Loved the library scene.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
- Mark Sutch
Why is this not on home movie?
It's packed full of humor, charm, personality, and can better than hold its own among films of the era-- if not for the performances, then for the dialog. A must see.
The Scarlet Pimpernel - 1935
- Judy G
Whimsey. Some good lines that we use today. The one we like:"Nothing in this world is so bad as something that is 'Not so bad'"Love it! My husband and I know when we use the term "not so bad", we really know what the the other means thanks to this movie.There are other movies of this era that are better, but this one has it's place too.
The Scarlet Pimpernel on Janus Films
- R. D. KARAM
What a thrill it was watching the beautiful, crisp and complete Janus Films copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel on TCM last night (Aug. 27, 2009). Is there a commercial DVD from this print? If not, WHY NOT???
I felt it was a great film. I had never seen it before. Thanks, TCM!!
One of the First Alter Ego Super Heros
The Scarlett Pimpernel is one of the best stories about the French Revolution, and although it is fiction, who's to say there wasn't someone who used there wealth and wits to fight against corruption? Who knows?