Die scharlachrote Blume (1934)

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Die scharlachrote Blume: Directed by Harold Young. With Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, Nigel Bruce. A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

“One might want to pre-judge this movie on the basis of its release date (1934), but it would be a mistake to consider this movie as creeky and old. On the contrary, it remains so brilliantly focused and sharply contrasted, that the viewer can get lost within the film-strip of this fine Korda film. The sets are realistic and evocative. Some, such as parlors and ballrooms glitter like the jewels of their occupants, while others, like public taverns and u0026quot;clubsu0026quot;, can be grimy with pipe smoke, ale, and mutton.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe story is one of hidden identity, of unsung heroism, illusion, and danger……risk and reward, of good men doing whatu0026#39;s necessary to save doomed people. Itu0026#39;s also a moving love story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eCentral in all of this is Sir Percy Blakeney (Leslie Howard in his finest screen role). He is a Fop in the extreme. He poses, he prances, and he eternally fusses with his attire. Are his cuffs properly ruffled, so that when he takes snuff, u0026quot;itu0026#39;s a swallows flightu0026quot;? Neckwear is another preoccupation of Sir Percyu0026#39;s…. he even uses this obsession in one of the filmu0026#39;s wittiest lines, u0026quot;A man who canu0026#39;t tie his own cravat isnu0026#39;t likely to put a noose around the Pimpernelu0026#39;s neck, is he?u0026quot; But, the paradox of course is that Sir Percy, his wife not even knowing, is the bane of the French Revolutionists, the Scarlet Pimpernel. He and his followers make repeated and risky trips across the English Channel to rescue those they can from the fate of the guillotine. This charade of Sir Percyu0026#39;s is the core of much of the filmu0026#39;s hilarious moments. But itu0026#39;s easy for this movie to take quick turns from humor to grim seriousness.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003enThe love interest is the International beauty Merle Oberon, who is showcased exquisitly. She has developed a contempt for her foppish husband and his silliness, as she desperately tries to save her brotheru0026#39;s life by trying to discover the true identity of the Pimpernel for villain Raymond Massey. She idealizes the Pimpernel who she often contrasts to her nit-wit husband, but as he tells her (and with some moment), u0026quot;Itu0026#39;s dangerous to fall in love with a phantom, mu0026#39;dear. For all you know heu0026#39;s a married man who is deeply in love with his wife.u0026quot;u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThere is adventure and romance. A must see movie.”


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