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I just got this and so far it is cheesy good fun (though you can see *exactly* where Blackadder got its French Revolution episode ideas)* but...I know I'm not supposed to think this and the French Revolution ended with the Reign of Terror and lots of terrible things but I can't help but think how amazing it must have been to overthrow the Ancienne Regime and think you were forging a new world with new ideas about equality and rights. And tossing things at your former masters (I rarely feel much sympathy for the aristocrats. And non for the King and Queen. They were total twats).

ETA: Wow! They must have paid actresses well in France! Jane Seymour sure has a nice house. And Gandalf is her boyfriend! Well, before her taking up with Blakeney.

ETA 2: Gandalf is sort of hot. And Anthony Andrews is hilarious in all his disguises and as Blakeney. I also love the assembled crowd of cheering citizens at the guillotine. They really put their hearts into hating the aristocrats.

ETA 3: I love the little, blond dauphin. He is so grubby and oppressed and winsome. Quite delightful.

*Not helped by the fact that Le Pimpernel Scarlette's side-kick is the castaway from Top Secret.

Date: 2009-07-09 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brainchild129.livejournal.com
Which version of Pimpernel is this?

Date: 2009-07-09 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
The one with Jane Seymour and Antony Andrews. It's quite delightful and over the top. And it has Ian McKellen as a mad revolutionary.

Date: 2009-07-09 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brainchild129.livejournal.com

It's honestly the best adaptation I've seen; the ones from the 90s with Richard E. Grant were ok - he made a good Pimpernel, and the guy playing Chauvelin was good too (and hot in a weird way), but not very much like the book at all. Plus, the actress playing Marguerite was awful.

But this version? *dreamy sigh* Jane Seymour is too gorgeous for words. And Anthony Andrews is hilarious in Percy mode. And it's still hard not to watch it and have an OMGWTFWHYISGANDALFYOUNG moment.

But I understand how the pro-monarchy element is discomforting, especially considering how Percy is all buddy-buddy with George IV (even if it was at a time when it was socially acceptable to do so). Most adaptations paint it less as "save the social order!" (although that is very clearly part of the point) and more as "save the aristocrats who weren't complete assholes to the poor." Of course, when your source was written by a Baroness, there may be some bias involved.

Date: 2009-07-09 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Oh, I am loving this! No worries there. And when I watch the Scarlet Pimpernel I sort of switch off that part of my brain about how the aristos were bastards and just go with the fun. And I love how they're just romping around while her boyfriend chops people's heads off.

AND GANDALF GETS TO PLAY A ROMANTIC ROLE! FOR ONCE! Even if he likes to chop people's heads off.
Edited Date: 2009-07-09 03:43 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-07-09 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brainchild129.livejournal.com
GANDALF GETS TO MAKE OUT WITH DR. QUINN. and was disturbingly attractive back in the day, with the cheekbones and the blue eyes

Date: 2009-07-09 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
He was wasn't he? Even with the psychotic side and all.

Date: 2009-07-09 04:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brainchild129.livejournal.com
Just wait until you get to the strip fencing at the end.

Well, strip fencing might be a misnomer. But cravats and buttons are sliced off, and by 1790s standards that is SCANDALOUS.

Date: 2009-07-09 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com

Date: 2009-07-09 04:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenscurious.livejournal.com
I'm glad you like it! My mom recommended it to me; so much fun!

Date: 2009-07-09 04:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
It is quite, quite delicious.

Date: 2009-07-09 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] namastenancy.livejournal.com
Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews are utterly delicious in Regency garb. I never liked the one with Richard Grant because he just isn't right for a romantic role. But have you ever seen the one with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon? Now those two are so gorgeous that there is no comparison. Plus the guy who plays Chauvelin is just the best villain yet.
But if you want to see gorgeous without any redeeming historical context, try to get your hands on the movie "Beau Brummel" with Stewart Granger and a young Elizabeth Taylor. She didn't have much to say so the whimpy voice didn't irritate me like it usually does but her clothes were glorious. Peter Ustinoff as the Prince Regent who later became George IV is marvelous as a whiny, volatile glutton but for whom you do have some sympathy.

Date: 2009-07-09 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
But have you ever seen the one with Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon

Years ago! I remember really loving it. This one is pretty good, though. They just go for broke with everything which is the way to do it - I don't think it's a story that works unless you embrace the improbability of it all.

They're had a Steward Granger season on TCM recently, but I didn't see that one in the mix. I should look for it...

Date: 2009-07-10 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulkis.livejournal.com
Butting in to say that they DID have that on Tuesday night, so unfortunately you must have missed it. I'm just ticked off that TCM isn't showing Saraband for Dead Lovers, even though Granger named it as the one movie he was proud of.

I really liked the Robert Grant version of Pimpernel but then I didn't really like the book that much. I just read it this year and it didn't have enough swashbuckling for my taste. I'll probably check out this Gandalf version, but I have an irrational aversion for Jane Seymour.

However I did recently read a book (Vive La Revolution by Mark Steel, hilarious and an especially good read if you're sympathetic for the revolution) and it had this to say regarding "The Scarlet Pimpernel": "for such a ruthless regime, the Jacobins are surprisingly careless. In the jails they seem to allow tradesmen to wander in and out with body-sized boxes, as long as they shout something like 'just taking these out the back guv'nor'."

Date: 2009-07-10 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Oooh, thanks for the book suggestion. It seems very hard to get anything that is supportive of the revolution these days (I guess the aristocrats are far too winsome or something). And, yes, the Scarlet Pimpernel's success depends upon the trusting nature of the revolutionaries - luckily for him they really don't learn from their mistakes.

Date: 2009-07-09 07:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wistfulmemory.livejournal.com
I remember first watching this movie (I almost typed drama...) when I was in high school because one of the teachers at my school loved it. I only find the main guy attractive in the scenes where he was scruffy. I watched it later with some of my friends, and in the wedding scene, right as the priest was about to talk, my friends broke out into the Princess Bride Wedding speak. It was hilarious.

Date: 2009-07-09 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
It totally is a cheesy movie and ripe for hilarity (really it's not helped by the fact that one of the sidekicks was in Top Secret).

But for all that it works as entertaining, cheesy, improbably fun. The actors just go for it and don't worry about looking silly at all, which is the only way it can work.

Date: 2009-07-13 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meret.livejournal.com
That's definitely my favorite version of Pimpernel! She did some good tv movies/miniseries. :)

Date: 2009-07-13 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Yes it is a rolicking good time. And while I am not a big fan of Seymour's in general, she is just perfect in this one.


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