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The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

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Leslie Howard portrays the ultimate...
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Leslie Howard portrays the ultimate good Samaritan in this enjoyable Alexander Korda adaptation of Baroness Orczy's tale of the murderous aftermath of the French Revolution. Married to the glamorous Merle Oberon, whom he believes selfishly betrayed the "St. Cyr" family to the guillotine, he, and his gang of lieutenants, daringly rescue aristocrats from under the very noses of the evil "Chauvelin" (Raymond Massey). Soon they are all walking a very tight rope between freedom and death after "Chauvelin" is sent to London to track down the "Scarlet Pimpernel" and where he tricks Oberon into betraying our intrepid rescuers. Howard is at times a little too theatrical with his foppish - "sink me" characterisation but Harold Young still creates a wonderfully tense drama with great performances from a particularly menacing Massey, and the supporting cast - Nigel Bruce amongst them - make this, for my money, the best silver screen adaptation of this novel.

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