The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

The Scarlet PimpernelScarlet Pimpernel DVD
Directed by Harold Young
London Film Productions

Second Viewing


 Percy Blakeney: They seek him here, they seek him there, / Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. / Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell? / That damned elusive Pimpernel!

During the French Reign of Terror, the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel saves French aristocrats from the guillotine and spirits them away to England. Leslie Howard plays the gallant Pimpernel and his alter ego the foppish Sir Percy Blakeley. Merle Oberon is the French-born Lady Blakeley, who adores the Pimpernel but disdains her husband and is easy prey to the evil French Ambassador Chauvelin (Raymond Massey).

Sir Percey shows Chauvelin how to tie his cravat.

Sir Percy shows Chauvelin how to tie his cravat.

This is my favorite ever performance by Howard. He is just wonderful in both the guises he plays.  I especially like him as the fop.  Raymond Massey is always good and the story is suspenseful and romantic. Recommended.

Sir Percy as a fop



2 thoughts on “The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)

  1. I agree with you on the Howard performance. He made a wonderful effete condescending fop but then could switch to the real Sir Percy easily and convincingly. I remember the first time I saw him that I can remember and it was, of course, in Gone With The Wind………I kept wondering why a Southern gentleman had a British accent. Vivian Leigh covered her accent pretty well but Howard didn’t try. Maybe it was for the best because, as one who speaks with a Southern accent, there is nothing more grating on the ear than a fake one!

  2. The other thing I liked about Howard here was that I could see how a lady could pine for him for years. He never convinced me of this in Gone With the Wind!

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