MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,796 this week

The Fighting Pimpernel (1950)
"The Elusive Pimpernel" (original title)

6.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 352 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Writers:

(romance) (as Baroness Orczy) , , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

Related News

Christopher Challis
| The Guardian - Film News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 14 titles
created 27 Feb 2011
 
list image
a list of 47 titles
created 04 Nov 2011
 
list image
a list of 1003 titles
created 04 Jan 2012
 
list image
a list of 89 titles
created 23 Sep 2012
 
list image
a list of 9982 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Fighting Pimpernel (1950)

The Fighting Pimpernel (1950) on IMDb 6.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Fighting Pimpernel.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Paris is Burning! Under the Iron Fist of Robespierre hundreds are executed, by the swift and bloodstained guillotine. Through these acts of injustice a new heroism is born - The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Director: Hanns Schwarz
Stars: Barry K. Barnes, Sophie Stewart, Margaretta Scott
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

Director: Harold Young
Stars: Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson
The Red Shoes (1948)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Retired British general Brunswick reminisces about the days when he was a colonel in charge of a British Army battalion fighting against native rebels in colonial India during the late 1800s.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Stewart Granger, Walter Pidgeon, David Niven
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Bookseller David Gordon's new wife Marian has never met David's friend Bob but by telephone advises him on how to meet women by following the first attractive girl he sees. Unfortunately, ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Barry Clifton, Patricia Hilliard, Googie Withers
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A lighthouse keeper has been murdered in mysterious circumstances and, during the ensuing investigation a Phantom Light keeps appearing at the scene of his death.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Binnie Hale, Gordon Harker, Donald Calthrop
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The wife of a politician is found dead at a country inn, where she had been seen with the politicians secretary, Alan. He is the immediate suspect but has a valid alibi.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Hugh Williams, Viola Keats, Francis L. Sullivan
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A bookmakers clerk, Grierson, finds himself in financial difficulties and forces his step-daughter to marry Nevern, a caddish song-writer, for his money. When she finds life unbearable with... See full summary »

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Campbell Gullan, Marjorie Corbett, Gerald Fielding
Born Lucky (1933)
Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Mops is a waitress. This is the (musical) story of a humble girl's rise to fame.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Talbot O'Farrell, René Ray, John Longden
Rynox (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Business tycoon F.X. Benedik claims he has been threatened by a mysterious stranger Boswell Marsh. When F.X. Benedik is found murdered. Tony takes over the business and tries to track down ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Stewart Rome, John Longden, Dorothy Boyd
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Jim Bronton is an insurance investigator, but he's unhappy with his work and gets involved with a gang of arsonists. His conscience is troubling him ...

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Banks, Anne Grey, Carol Goodner
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Leighton ...
...
...
Prince of Wales / Footpad attacking Lord Anthony
Arlette Marchal ...
Gérard Nery ...
Danielle Godet ...
Edmond Audran ...
Charles Victor ...
Colonel Winterbotham
Eugene Deckers ...
Captain Merieres
David Oxley ...
Captain Duroc
Raymond Rollett ...
Philip Stainton ...
...
The Abbot
Robert Griffiths ...
Trubshaw
Edit

Storyline

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he is Heaven or in Hell? That demmed, elusive pimpernel. See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

June 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Fighting Pimpernel  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(R.C.A. Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

David Niven was unhappy at being forced to make this film, and later cited this as a reason for severing his contract with Samuel Goldwyn. See more »

Connections

Version of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Inferior version of well-known story
4 April 2002 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Having recently seen the 1934 Alexander Korda version of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", I found it almost impossible to consider this film other than in relation to its predecessor. It is quite clear in any case that the Powell & Pressburger version is based firmly upon the earlier script rather than upon Baroness Orczy's famous novel "The Scarlet Pimpernel"

  • or even its sequel, "The Elusive Pimpernel"... Not only do the


two films share a number of scenes which have no origin in the novel - the episode of the Prince Regent's coat, Marguerite's own victimisation by the St Cyr family, the firing squad and the ghost, among others - but the dialogue in several of these scenes is word-for-word identical to that of the earlier screenplay.

As such, I consider that the 1950 production may fairly be considered a remake; and like so many remakes of well-known stories, I fear it is not a great success. The changes made for the later production clearly betray nothing more than the advances in cinematography over the intervening years, coupled with what I suspect to have been a bigger budget. In place of blurred sound - the surviving 1934 print is of very poor quality - monochrome film and static, staged studio exteriors, we are treated to Technicolour costumes and numerous location sequences including stately homes on both sides of the Channel, a curricle race on the Brighton road, a full-size sailing vessel and a climax shot on and around Mont St Michel. The action, unfortunately, does not gain thereby. All too often plot elements give the impression of being introduced in order to showcase the lavish production values, rather than the latter enhancing the former.

Neither production is particularly faithful to the original text; but then few great literary adaptations ever are. It is the earlier script, however, for all its occasionally stilted quality, that manages to come closer to the spirit of the novel. Oddly enough, it is where the later script picks up dialogue verbatim, either from its predecessor or direct from the novel, that it generally sounds weakest; out of context, the old dialogue sits ill with the more 'modern' visual style.

Armand St-Just, as a character, is reduced to an unappealing cameo that deprives Marguerite's later actions in his defence of their essential emotional force - the audience has no reason to care about his fate. Likewise, we lose the poignant moment introduced by Korda's script where Sir Percy allows the mask of marital indifference to slip a fraction in the face of Marguerite's unspoken distress, only for her to shut him out from her confidence and resort instead to Chauvelin's devil's bargain - with almost fatal consequences for both of them.

Despite its longer running-time, the remake also contrives to lose many of the effective 'character scenes' that set the mood of the piece; the aristocrats being called out one by one to the tumbrils; Armand's relationship with his sister; the prattle of the bored ladies of fashion as Marguerite poses for her portrait; the affected, artificial attitudes of the circles in which her husband moves; the baffled Chauvelin and the sleeping Sir Percy; and even revolutionary Calais in a snatched peaceful moment, as seen by the 'soldiers' in disguise. As a result, shorn of all this even the main characters seem strangely two-dimensional, and the moments of subtle humour are almost totally lost in favour of a few bald gags towards the end - although the introduction of the unloaded pistol with which Sir Percy so carefully induces his adversary to arm himself is a nice touch.

But most crucially of all, David Niven, who should have been no novice in the art of buckling his swash, totally fails to outshine the memory of Leslie Howard's performance in the part of the actual Scarlet Pimpernel. It is chiefly Howard's portrayal of the title character that raises "The Scarlet Pimpernel" somewhat above the status of dated period piece it would otherwise hold. 'Fair and foolish', he carries off Sir Percy Blakeney to perfection as an eighteenth-century Lord Peter Wimsey, a babbling silly-ass-about-town in public but a quick-witted and resourceful man of action when it counts. Admittedly the script does Niven no favours; but he is neither convincingly languid in the part of the fop (the doggerel scene in the steam-bath, transposed from its original setting in a hide-bound gentlemen's club, becomes simply embarrassing, with Niven popping up through the steam like a pantomime demon) nor sufficiently dashing in his other role. This is simply not a Scarlet Pimpernel that female viewers can hero-worship, or male viewers long to emulate. And sad to say, Niven doesn't really have the looks for the part.

Merle Oberon's quick-tongued and imperious Lady Blakeney was also more appropriate to her part than Margaret Leighton's more colourless blonde rendition, although again the script must take much of the blame. As for the appalling French accents inflicted on Marguerite, Chauvelin, and every other Francophone character in the film... one becomes almost grateful for the frequency with which Margaret Leighton, at least, forgets to maintain hers.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel" was a minor historical drama, mainly notable for an outstanding performance from Leslie Howard. "The Elusive Pimpernel", on the other hand, ranks alongside the 1970s remake of "The Mark of Zorro" - that is, despite added colour and action sequences, somewhere along the line they have managed to lose the essential heart of the story. This version was supposedly planned as a musical - the mind boggles!


17 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Being Released Soon!!! shootme83
Discuss The Fighting Pimpernel (1950) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?