Swords flash and guillotines crash in this rousing British costume adventure played across the backdrop of the bloody Reign of Terror following the French Revolution in 1789. Sir Percy Blakeney leads a dangerous double life. A dandy English diplomat by day, at night he emerges as the Scarlet Pimpernel, the daring and elusive hero fighting the forces of Robespierre to save innocent necks from the deadly blade of the guillotine.
Based upon the novel by Baroness Orczy that inspired several big screen adaptations, this series is a follow-up to the 1952 UK radio show of the same name. Marius Goring, star of both the radio and the televison series, was also the producer. In 1991 he was awarded the prestigious Commander of the British Empire honor for his historical service to British theatre.
The Ambassador's Lady: An illicit affair between Lady Fleury and Englishman Richard Hastings leads to the murder of the salacious woman with Hastings being charged with the murder.
Sir Andrew's Fate: Shot and wounded by revolutionaries, Sir Andrew leaps from a coach in a daring escape. He is hidden and nursed by his lover, Colette, who desperately tries to throw the French authorities off his track.
Sir Percy's Wager: Countess Caroline is arrested for treason by Chauvelin and sentenced to the guillotine. Her life will be spared if the Scarlet Pimpernel ceases his clandestine activities.
Tale Of Two Pigtails: Chauvelin sets up a trap and captures Melanie and Alice as they try to flee France. Sir Percy and Lord Hastings must rescue the damsels in distress.
One of TV's first costume dramas, this adaptation of the classic tale by Baroness Emmuska Orczy first aired in 1955. Marius Goring stars as the titular dandy, a supposedly hedonistic member of the aristocracy who leads a secret society that saves innocent victims from the guillotine.
An Unexpected Treasure
Movie Lover: Robert Huggins from
Suburban Philadelphia, PA -- August, 10, 2006
"The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel" was an early television production for Harry Alan Towers' Towers of London production company and starred Marius Goring in the title role. Goring had also been involved in an earlier Scarlet Pimpernel radio show in the early 1950s in England, and was a co-producer of this series.
The production design for this series is impressive, but one wishes that it had been filmed in color rather than black & white, to better display the elaborate costumes. In addition to Goring, there are some excellent British character actors in this series, including Alexander Gauge ("Friar Tuck" in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"), Patrick Troughton (numerous films and television shows, including a stint as "Dr. Who") and Anthony Newlands. But the biggest surprise of all is in the fourth episode on this DVD, "Tale of Two Pigtails." According to IMDB.com, Peter O'Toole makes his very first credited screen appearance as a bumbling French soldier in this episode. This is an unexpected delight to see and well worth the cost of the DVD for fans of this great actor.
Alpha has actually released a fifth episode of this entertaining series; it appears on their Christmas Adventure Classics DVD. "The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel" is highly recommended for fans of the classic costume adventure series of the 1950s.
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