The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982 ~ Movie Review

If one follows Period Drama Blogs, one constantly hears of this movie. CONSTANTLY. I got very sick of it, in fact. Sink me, why can't people just stop talking about the almighty goodness of Sir Percy and the beautiful sentimental-ness of Marguerite and evil maliciousness of Chauvelin? I didn't even like the look of the story - guillotines? Silver clothes? Sinking oneself? Wut?

So yes, I didn't expect I'd like it. But yet, I wanted to see it, so I could join all those TSP conversations and understand the swoonworthy factors. So a few months ago, I sat down and watched it. And yes... Now I Understand.

The story is about this clan - The Scarlet Pimpernel clan - who saves innocent people from the cruel hands of the head-chopper - the guillotine. Yes, there were a few guillotine scenes, and I skipped them, of course. Seeing as I skipped them, I don't know how gruesome they were, but I'd recommend skipping them. :-) Unless you're interested in seeing that kind of thing, which, of course, I hope you're not.

Chauvelin, the meanie, wants to catch the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Sir Percy IS the Scarlet Pimpernel, but no-one knows it. He's a dashed good disguiser. :-) And then Chauvelin realises Percy is the one, catches him, but then - tadaaa - it ends well. That's a quick description. Now on to the fun Naomi-ness of the review.

While I don't craze over him as much as some people I might mention, I have to admit: Sir Percy was quite an amazing chap. A hero. A swoon-worthy-in-a-weird-way gentleman. He seems like a stiff robot kind of person in the beginning, with his poems and cravats and ehhhh-voice (people who've watched this know exactly what I'm talking about, haha) - a very charming kind of robot, but robot-ish nonetheless. He doesn't really seem like a person. But that's the whole point. He's constantly pretending to be someone else. It must be quite tiring for him!

Sir Percy is three people:

He is Sir Percy - the guy with the silk suits, big lace cravats, a monocle and a fondness for words that rhyme. Of course, these aspects are also part of 'who-he-really-is' (Sir Percy will always genuinely love cravats - ALWAYS forever and ever and ever and ever, because Sir Percy = Cravats) but this charming fellow with a stiff smirk and gallant gestures is, let's face it, a gentleman in disguise.

I love this side of Sir Percy. It's HILARIOUS. I love the way he says 'odd fish m'dear' and 'Sink Mehh' (a phrase HIGHLY addicting and contagious, I warn you - it's worse than 'what-ho') and I love his little poem:
They seek him here, they seem him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere,
Is he in heaven or is he in -- hell?
That elusive Scarlet Pimpernel

He's a poet... and you did not knowet. :-) This side of Sir Percy is indubitably the most quoted, most laughed-over, most known-as-Sir-Percy side. It's a great side. :-)

He is some kind of beggar person. He has many costumes, Sir Percy has. He does this to snuggle the prisoners and get them free. Very good at this, he is - he has some amazingly good tricks. I love how he - such a rich person - takes a humble place to save people. It shows his huge heart.

He is the Scarlet Pimpernel. He is a real person. He devotes his entire life to saving innocent people, he's the guy who never ever panics (he alllways stays so stinking calm!) - he's romantic, loves his wife tenderly and dearly. He's CLEVER (The dressing-up Sir-Percy side of him isn't, but the real Sir Percy - the Scarlet Pimpernel, he's the cleverest man in the world.) He's a hero, but you have to understand the real him properly before you can love him.

And the last sentence he says in the movie, whilst holding his wife close to him, with a little smirk on his head, is, 'Sink me, you're a poet.' But he says it while he is really him - her own, darling, elusive Pimpernel. :-)

Which brings me to Marguerite, beautifully acted by the charming Jane Seymour. She was a lovely lady, emotional, big heart, fluttery, romantic, charming but so strong and courageous. I wanted to scream at her and say, 'Don't worry dear Marguerite! He loves you! He loves you!' I felt so sorry for her.

Now and then, I have to say, she didn't feel very real. The movie is all a bit sentimental (in the best way) and sometimes the way she whispered was perhaps a bit overdone. But it was the style of the story, and it was Marguerite's character - she's passionate. I also love that she's an actress, but never realises her husband is, in fact, one too! :-) One would think actresses and actors would be able to spot it when someone else is acting, right?

Her dresses were nice, although often to exposed, but her hair... ahem. I have to think about what I think of her hair.

Their romance was one of the most darling things I had seen in a long time. The ending - where he puts his hands on her shoulders on 'The Day Dream.' AWWWWWW. How can you not like these two beautiful people?!

In the beginning their love seemed a bit fake, but in the end it was so genuine and lovely.

And finally we have the crow of the show. Chauvelin. *shudder*

He was mean, so against our own Sir Percy, the big problem-causer. Hate the man. But, I know you are all going to dispute against me for saying this, but sometimes I thought it was kind of well, pitiful. I just felt a teenyweeny bit sorry for him now and then - you know, a teeeeeenyweeeeny bit. I'm allowed to do that, right? I mean, he was SO desperately trying to win, and he NEVER does. He's the big, big, big loser. It's hilarious to see him loose, I was smirking and mocking at him when Sir Percy ripped all his buttons off and came in the room when he was supposed to be dead, but I also felt a TIIIINY bit sorry for him when I saw those sweaty, puppy-eyes of his. 

He's SUCH  a big looser. HAHA.

This was the best scene, no three tails about it. Totally fell in love with him here.

Oh, and did anyone else spot Julian Fellowes?

Have you seen 'The Scarlet Pimpernel?'
What did you think of it?


  1. Love your review! Welcome to the cult. ;)
    I grew up this movie and it's always been a favorite of mine. :) We just watched it a week ago or so and I was reminded of how much I loved it so I had to re-read it too. The book and the movie are different but they are both oh so good!

  2. Oh, Naomi! This is awesome. LOVED your review, and the way you've expressed your thoughts. And I agree...mostly. ;-P

    Anthony Andrews is completely amazing in this role. I love how you described it-- he really is three different people. AND HE'S SO DASHED HILARIOUS. And charming. And handsome. Sink me, the man's irresistible. :-)

    Haha. Fluttery, romantic, emotional....yup, that's Jane Seymour. :-) I love her in this role-- it's one of her best, and it's just so classic HER. And the hair. I don't care what anyone says, I adore it.

    ISN'T THE ROMANCE EPIC. Oh my goodness. These two are one of the best film couples in history. The prison scene is my favorite, when she enters his cell and he turns around and....OHHHHHH. Smelling salts, please!!!

    Julian Fellowes: HAHAHAHAHAHA. I actually saw him in this before I watched DA-- I knew him as the producer (or whatever) of The Young Victoria. He's also in Martin Chuzzlewit (which you probably knew). He's a hilarious actor. ;-P

    Oh yeah, and what did you think of Lord Tony? He's my favorite of the league members. Rather like Archie. :-)

    I'm glad you're one of the league now. :-)


  3. Haha, glad you liked it! Like you, I'm not quite AS obsessed with it as *ahem* some, but I do love the story:)

    I agree--it is just the leetlest bit sentimental, but it's still lovely:D

    Have you read the book? It's so amazing...

    Haha, yup, I didn't really like the whole love-at-first-sight thing in the movie (at least at first), but then I read the book and it made a little more sense;)

    OH MY GOODNESS YES THAT ENDING! It's so warmly-fuzzy:)

    Great review!

  4. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I had never thought about how there are three of Sir Percy, but you are so right. The Scarlet Pimpernel, the real Percy is, of course, by far my favorite, but I like them all. :) But it's so sad when there are secrets between he and Marguerite and they misunderstand each other!

    I agree Jane Seymour can be a little overly dramatic, but I think it works because Marguerite is such a dramatic person.

    I feel sorry for Chauvelin too! Only sometimes. He can be very awful.

    Splendid review! By the way, Naomi, I made a new blog. I'm not sure if Emma's told you. The address is sadie-buttermilk-sky.blogspot.com. I think it's absolutely gorgeous. I can say that because Emma did most of the designing. At least, she helped a lot.:)

  5. A wonderful review for a wonderful film.
    You're right it is quite sentimental at times, but that's also the tone of the books (have you read any of them?)

  6. I watched this movie awhile ago for the first time and I LOVED it.
    I know it's almost too overly dramatic and passionate and emotional at times, but I think that's what I love about it. :) It's just so fun. A traditional good guy wins over the bad guy story.
    I loved how you pointed out that Percy and Marguerite are both actors! Never thought about it before....
    And oh, those two are SO SO SO adorable. I loved the part where she thinks Percy was being executed and then he just appears there-sigh. SO SWEET.
    And Percy is HILARIOUS. You can never quote him enough.
    And yes, haha, poor Chauvelin.... I can kind of see where you'd feel a teensy bit bad for him...I mean the poor guy can never win against The Scarlet Pimpernel!
    And, echoing the above comments, do read the book! It's utterly magnificent. :)

  7. Lois, sink me, thank you for the welcome. :-) It IS a cult, you're right. :-P
    I haven't read the books yet, but I'm going to really soon - I hope I enjoy them as much as you did!

    Emmy-award, Why m'dear, thank you!
    Sink me, Anthony Andrews is quite splendid. At first I didn't find him that handsome, but at the end I was surprised to find myself quite in love. :-)
    Sorry m'dear, I find her hair a bit - much. But it's cool and ... yes, you like it.
    I LOVE THE ROMANCE. It's the kind of teary-eye, rosy, awwww, big, epic romance. LOVE IT.
    Julian Fellowes is in Matin Chuzzlewit?! No, I never noticed him! Who on earth was he?
    Yes, I'm now in the league. I am finally no longer an outsider in the blogging world. Hurray.

    Olivia, Yes I'm not crazily obsessed, but I do LOVE IT WITH CAPS. No, I haven't read the book (yet!!!) but it's going to be soon because I've got it right beside me as I write - went to the library this very morning to get the thing. Sink meh, I can't wait.
    The romance is, in the whole, SO GORGEOUS AND BEAUTIFUL AND GOLDEN. Epic pair.

    Sadie, thank you for the comment, m'dear Sadie! Sink me, how nice to hear from you again. I know, when Marguerite and Percy have secrets from each other and CAN'T TELL EACH OTHER AND THINK WRONG THINGS ABOUT EACH OTHER... ahh, the frustration of being a watcher!!!
    Jane Seymour is amazing actress - I can totally see why you love her so much.
    And, you know this by now, your new blog is BEAUTIFUL.

    Rose, thank you m'dear! I sometimes like those kind of sentimental/romantic/dramatic movies/stories - so I'm really looking forward to reading the book now.

    Natalie, I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't grow up with this movie and only watched it the first time not a long time ago. :-)
    It IS fun story.
    I KNOW. THAT "EXECUTION" SCENE. I seriously had no idea what was going to happen - I thought (really, I did) there was going to be a sad ending!) but then it ended SO well. Now that's the idea of a GOOD ending. Boo Chauvelin. :-)
    All right, all right everyone - I'm going to read the book. :-D

    ~ Naomi

  8. Okay, but that first picture. PERFECT! (Thing is, I'm kind of a Chauvelin fan when it comes to the movie, so... yeah, wow, good picture.)

    And then your first paragraph -- sink me! I felt the same way meself about this before I saw it! Always popping up on people's blogs, with people going off into rapturous swoons at the mere mention. What rot.

    Except the movie is actually so fun! I haven't managed to read the book yet, but I did run out and buy a copy after watching this.

    (The guillotine scenes are really tame, though, just in case you wondered. Not gruesome or gory.)

    Mmmm, Jane Seymour. Always wonderful, isn't she?

    Oh, and dude... another handsome Chauvelin picture. Wow. I have got to find me some more of Ian McK's early movies. Have. Got. To. And while Chauvelin's really mean and pitiful and kind of a dirty jerk by the end... I did feel sorry for him too. And kind of almost rooted for him a little sometimes because he started out just doing what he believed was right. Poor Chauvelin. Just got a wee bit obsessive... not that fans of TSP would know anything about that, right? ;-)

  9. SO. I waited a loooong time to read this because I knew I wanted to do a big comment and I didn't have time for more than 'hi there, lovely post, bye!'. So here I am.
    "Sinking oneself? Wut?" HAHA.
    Yes, the guillotine scenes are a bit gruesome. I skipped them the second time I watched TSP because I wasn't Aware of the scenes. And there are some erh-hmmm scenes with Armand and Louise. Ugh. I skipped those too.
    Ugh, yes, her hair annoyed me to death. But she's so pretty otherwise that I forgave her. :-)
    Oh yes, I felt a LOT sorry for Chauvelin. In the book he's not so goodlooking or anyone you'd want to pity.
    YES THAT SCENE. <3 And the bit before where he's like, "Do you want to see some magic?" and the dauphin nods, and then Percy pulls whatever it is out of his cheeks - LOVE IT.
    And didn't you like Sir Anthony Dewhurst (or 'Tony' as Sir Percy calls him)? He's such a good chap. :-)
    This was so good!! A good review of a really good movie. :-)


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