The Scarlet Pimpernel: Season 1, Episode 4

The Elusive Chauvelin (6 Apr. 1956)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure, Family
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(novel) (as Baroness Orczy) ,
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Episode complete credited cast:
Marius Goring ...
Stanley Van Beers ...
Alexander Gauge ...
Gordon Whiting ...
Richard Bennett ...
Thea Gregory ...


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Adventure | Family





Release Date:

6 April 1956 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The closing credits misidentify actor Patrick Troughton's character as "Lord Anthony Dewhurst". This particular character appeared only in the first episode of the series and was played by actor Robert Shaw. Patrick Troughton's character throughout the series was Sir Andrew Ffoulkes. See more »

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THE ADVENTURES OF THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: THE ELUSIVE CHAUVELIN {Short; TV} (Micheal McCarthy &, uncredited, Dennis Vance, 1956) **1/2
16 June 2015 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

FolIowing the recent demise of Sir Christopher Lee – at the venerable age of 93 – one of my childhood heroes responsible for making me a lifelong fan of Horror films, I have decided to augment my ongoing, exhaustive centenary tribute to Orson Welles (1915-85) by watching immediately some of the prolific British thespian's earliest or more modest appearances on film or TV before jumping ahead into a proper tribute next month.

First up is a pre-fame Lee's uncredited but brooding portrayal of Louis, the "giant" Executioner of Paris at the time of the French Revolution in his first of 18 participations in a Harry Alan Towers production. He comes face to face with the titular hero (Marius Goring) and his acolytes (including Patrick Troughton – who would later suffer memorably at the hands of Lee's Dracula in Hammer Films' SCARS OF Dracula {1970}) – who are dressed up as carousing French citizens in a doomed (due to his imposing height) attempt to abduct and impersonate him so as to rescue their friend wrongly imprisoned in Goring's stead.

Interestingly, the previous film adaptation of the popular literary classic was The Archers' maligned but colourful THE ELUSIVE PIMPERNEL (1950); indeed, as if to cheekily emphasize that connection, the episode in question is entitled "The Elusive Chauvelin" and the hero even gets to impersonate his nemesis (officially played by a rather unsympathetic Stanley Van Beers) at one point! Actually, Goring is well-cast as the foppish British aristocrat-cum-avenger but, perhaps owing to the sheer modesty of the originating medium, the most action he gets to indulge in here is the afore-mentioned impersonation in a jail and some fencing with sparring partner Troughton earlier on.

Incidentally, this fourth of 18 episodes in total is the first I have watched from this obscure TV adaptation of Baroness Orczy's swashbuckling novel I recall reading as a teenager and forms part of a similar small-screen trend of its day that included THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1955-60; starring Richard Greene and often helmed by Hammer regular Terence Fisher) and IVANHOE (1958-9; starring Sir Roger Moore, and to which Lee also lent his services). For the record, Lee and Goring would soon be reunited for The Archers' final film, ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT and, Lee only, with the official director of this very episode, Michael McCarthy, in THE TRAITOR (both 1957).

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