Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Tonight I have relived on DVD one of my old favourites -- the 1982 British TV version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour and Ian McKellen.

The first time I saw this movie I was a teenager, trusted by my parents to keep all in order with my siblings while they went out. This movie was on TV, and finished waaaay past my bed time (~11pm vs ~9pm). Stupidly, I worried that if mum and dad had come home to find me still up watching TV, there would be hell to pay. So I watched almost the entire movie from my bedroom door (which was in view of the TV, if remotely), intending to scurry off to bed if I heard them come home.

Of course, this was in the days before remote controls, and I daresay had they arrived home to find the TV still on, they might have twigged. Assuming, that is, they hadn't already spotted my hasty retreat.

As it happened, they didn't come home until after the movie had finished, meaning that I could have watched the entire movie from the comfort of the sofa. I still cannot believe how hen-hearted I was! This incident is one I will never ever forget.

Anyway, I recorded the movie onto video the next time it was on TV, and have watched it many many times. A few years ago I tracked it down on DVD. It's amazing how many of the lines I still remember. I put it on tonight because I thought I had seen it so many times that it would be a good background movie, while I carried on about the house doing various domestic bits and pieces. Nope! It had been a couple of years and it still had the power to glue me to the screen.

The movie has dated of course, and now I can spot soooo many plot holes that were I watching it for the first time today I daresay I would consider it worse than bad. But it's an old favourite, and it always will be. It has adventure, costume, romance . . . everything!


  1. I just loved reading the bit about watching from the bedroom door. I wonder what your Mum would have said if you actually asked if you could watch it?

  2. I wonder that too!! (But I know you've heard that story . . .)