12 November 2012 2:07 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Ben Affleck's latest film as a director is a memorable dramatisation of the CIA's rescue of six diplomats from Iran

In the early 20th century Baroness Orczy created Sir Percy Blakeney, the British aristocrat who, as that intrepid master of disguise the Scarlet Pimpernel, whisked noble folk away from the guillotine during the French revolution. The 1934 film version was a big success for Leslie Howard, who seven years later updated the story to the outbreak of the second world war as Pimpernel Smith, with himself as a mild-mannered Cambridge archaeologist rescuing anti-Nazi intellectuals from Hitler's Germany.

The film made him a personal target of Joseph Goebbels, and shortly thereafter the young diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saw the film at the British embassy in Stockholm and was inspired to save thousands of Hungarian Jews from Adolf Eichmann by issuing them with Swedish documents. In 1945 he was arrested by the Soviet army »

- Philip French

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