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Leslie Howard plays Sir Percy Blakeney, an 18th century English aristocrat who leads a double life. He appears to be merely the effete aristocrat, but in reality is part of an underground effort to free French nobles from Robespierre's Reign of Terror. Based on the novel by Baroness Orczy. Written by
Patrick Dominick <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Entertaining, Satisfying Adaptation With A Fine Performance By Leslie Howard
Overall, this is an entertaining and satisfying screen adaptation of the classic story of "The Scarlet Pimpernel". It is well-written, well-acted, and also contains a good balance of action sequences and verbal sparring. Yet it is Leslie Howard's performance that stands out most of all, in a dual role that allows him to use his talent and his distinctive persona to their best advantage.
The story adaptation is nicely done, with some very good dialogue and a good pace as it builds up the tension and gradually reveals all that is going on. It makes it easy for the fine cast to bring their characters to life, and it gives most of the main characters some good opportunities.
Besides Howard, Raymond Massey does very well with a villainous character well-suited to him, Nigel Bruce is entertaining as the prince, and Merle Oberon does well enough in handling her character's dilemmas. Howard himself captures the main character's personality well, and he also helps to pull everything else together. Although he might be better remembered for some of his roles in movies that are even more well-known, this might be his own best performance.
The story itself is one of the well-remembered classics for its very interesting setting as well as the combination of exciting action and memorable characters. This movie version and its cast do well in capturing some of the best material from the novel.
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