7.3/10
1,139
26 user 6 critic

'Pimpernel' Smith (1941)

Professor Horatio Smith, while seeming very unassuming, rescues victims of Nazi persecution during World War II.

Director:

Leslie Howard

Writers:

Anatole de Grunwald (screenplay) (as Anatole De Grunwald), A.G. Macdonell (original story) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Spitfire (1942)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Aircraft designer/patriot R. J. Mitchell, alarmed at growing German militarism, works to perfect a defense against the German Messerschmidt at the cost of his health.

Director: Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, David Niven, Rosamund John
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
Pygmalion (1938)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A phonetics and diction expert makes a bet that he can teach a cockney flower girl to speak proper English and pass as a lady in high society.

Directors: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

This film tells the stories of seven 'gentle' British girls who decide to "do their bit" and help out during World War II.

Directors: Leslie Howard, Maurice Elvey
Stars: Joan Gates, Jean Gillie, Joan Greenwood
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey
The Way Ahead (1944)
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

WW2 drama that follows a group of British conscripts, starting with their rigorous basic training and ending with their deployment in North Africa.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: David Niven, Stanley Holloway, James Donald
Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Allied spies and Nazi agents insinuate themselves at a Scottish cottage (converted to a wartime hospital) with interests on an inventor's nearly perfected bomb sight.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Leslie Banks, Alastair Sim, Jeanne De Casalis
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An aeronautical engineer predicts that a new model of plane will fail catastrophically and in a novel manner after a specific number flying hours.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Glynis Johns
Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young American man is transported back to London in the time of the American Revolution and meets his ancestors.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Leslie Howard, Heather Angel, Valerie Taylor
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 1940, a concentration-camp escapee assumes the identity of a dead British officer, only to become a prisoner of war.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Rachel Kempson, Frederick Leister
Biography | Crime | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story of Soviet cypher-clerk Igor Gouzenko who was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa,Canada in 1943 and defected in 1945 to reveal the extent of Soviet espionage activities directed against Canada.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, June Havoc
Enchantment (1948)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Uncle Rollo finally retires to the house he was brought up in. Lost in thoughts of his lost love, Lark, he does not want to be disturbed in his last days. However, the appearance of his ... See full summary »

Director: Irving Reis
Stars: David Niven, Teresa Wright, Evelyn Keyes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... Dr Benckendorf
Peter Gawthorne Peter Gawthorne ... Sidimir Koslowski
Ernest Butcher Ernest Butcher ... Weber
Ben Williams Ben Williams ... Graubitz
Leslie Howard ... Professor Horatio Smith
Arthur Hambling Arthur Hambling ... Jordan
Joan Kemp-Welch Joan Kemp-Welch ... School-Teacher
Hugh McDermott ... David Maxwell (as Hugh MacDermott)
Manning Whiley Manning Whiley ... Bertie Gregson
Philip Friend ... Spencer
Basil Appleby Basil Appleby ... Jock MacIntyre
Laurence Kitchin Laurence Kitchin ... Clarence Elstead (as Lawrence Kitchen)
David Tomlinson ... Steve
Mary Brown Mary Brown ... Betty (Girl Student)
Aubrey Mallalieu Aubrey Mallalieu ... Dean
Edit

Storyline

It is mid-1939 and both Germany and England are preparing for an inevitable conflict. Professor Horatio Smith, an effete academic, asks his students to come with him to the continent to engage in an archaeological dig. When his students discover that the professor is the man responsible for smuggling a number of enemies of the Nazi state out of Germany, they enthusiastically join him in his fight. But things are complicated when one of his students brings a mysterious woman into their circle, a woman who is secretly working for the Gestapo. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The man the Gestapo hates! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

28 July 1941 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Mister V See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

British National Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Sound System) (at D & P Studios Denham · · · England)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

General von Graum's quotation ("Down in the forest something stirred") hails from P.G. Wodehouse's 1921 short story "The Clicking of Cuthbert". Smith, meanwhile, quotes from both "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester" by Rupert Brooke ("Where men with Splendid Hearts may go") and William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (2.2.197-8: "Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow"). See more »

Goofs

In the first scene the Professor can't read the note he is given by his assistant, but he had been reading and writing in his notebook without glasses before that. See more »

Quotes

Professor Horatio Smith: I'm so glad to find you're not busy, because I've been doing a little research work...
General von Graum: That's just what I wanted to do.
Professor Horatio Smith: ...On the identity of Shakespeare.
General von Graum: I'd like to know how you spent this afternoon.
Professor Horatio Smith: What's the matter with you? You seem upset. I spent the afternoon in the library at the embassy. Now this, this proves conclusively that Shakespeare wasn't really Shakespeare at all.
General von Graum: No?
Professor Horatio Smith: No. He was the Earl of Oxford. Now you can't pretend that the Earl of Oxford was a German, can you?
Professor Horatio Smith: [...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: The tale we are about to unfold to you is a fantasy. None of its characters are living persons. But it is based on the exploits of a number of courageous men who were and are still risking their lives daily to aid those unfortunate people of many nationalities who are being persecuted and exterminated by the Nazis. To these champions of freedom this story is dedicated. See more »

Connections

References The Shadow (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Strauss
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great sense of style and screen presence
1 November 2004 | by Howard SchumannSee all my reviews

Returning to England before the war, Leslie Howard was a towering figure in the British government's anti-Nazi propaganda policy, making patriotic radio broadcasts and movies that lifted the spirits of the British people in the dark days of the war. One such film was Pimpernel Smith in which Howard plays Archeology Professor Horatio Smith who doubles as a British spy, undertaking to help refugees escape from the Gestapo. Based on the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and modeled after the 1934 film of the same name, Pimpernel Smith is said to have influenced Raoul Wallenberg, known for his heroism in rescuing Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

In the film, Professor Smith takes six students with him on an archaeological dig in Germany, presumably to find out whether or not there was an early Aryan civilization in Germany. Smith tries to convince Gestapo leader General Von Graum (Francis L. Sullivan) that he is just a learned professor, reading from The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll and telling him his theory that William Shakespeare was really the Earl of Oxford. Imagine that! The Professor's wit and wisdom are no match for the humorless Nazis and they seem to fall for each of the professor's tricks. Unfortunately, the Nazis are depicted not as mass murderers but only as bumbling clowns who speak English as well as Winston Churchill.

When Smith is wounded, the students catch on to what he is up to and agree to help him in his attempts to secure the release of pianist Sidimir Koslowski (Peter Gawthorne). In his clandestine cat and mouse game, he meets Koslowski's daughter Ludmilla (Mary Morris) who is working for the Nazis in order to save her father and the two form a bond. Howard's role as Professor Smith is one of his most acclaimed in a career that included roles as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind and Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel. He had a great sense of style and screen presence and his death in 1943 on what was most likely an intelligence gathering mission for the British left the film industry bereft of one of its brightest stars.


19 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed