In 1803 France, Napoleon Bonaparte (Robert Cornthwaite) orders the capture of notorious highwayman "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who routinely rescues imprisoned nobles and harasses the Revolutionary officials.
France, 1803: eleven years after the Revolution, a royalist underground is led by a new "Scarlet Pimpernel", the "Purple Mask" (Tony Curtis), who rescues nobles in distress and kidnaps Napoleon Bonaparte's (Robert Cornthwaite's) officials for ransom, aided by the spy services of a group of lovely models headed by Laurette de Latour (Colleen Miller), Duc de Latour's (Paul Cavanagh's) daughter. But even she doesn't know the Purple Mask's real identity as foppish dancing master Rene de Traviere.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1803 was an important date for the royalists : the count de Lille , future Louis the XVIII th ,then in exile , confirmed his claim to the throne as a monarch by divine right ; but unlike what the purple mask says to the noble he rescues in the first sequence ,the terror was over since 1794 ,after the fall of Robespierre;there were aristocrat conspiracies ,notably by Cadoudal an ex-chouan leader (counter -revolution in Vendée ),and the Duke of Enghien ,but only the first one was guillotined ,because he was born a commoner ;the nobles were shot ,imprisoned or exiled ;the scene when the aristocrats are waiting to be beheaded is an anachronism ,and could have taken place ten years before.Napoleon's most famous cop,Fouché ,is represented here by Brisquet whose part is small in the screenplay.
Forget French history ; there was at the time ,a huge conspiracy to abduct Napoleon himself but it failed and the culprits were arrested and chastised .
In the movie, they only kidnap a politician to hold him to ransom to get money to help the nobles flee from their homeland (or prepare the usurper's fall) ; thanks to Tony Curtis, who possesses dynamism and charm aplenty , the movie is quite entertaining,supported by a good cast '(Angela Lansbury,Gene Barrry) ,and a smart screenplay (the purple mask is particularly astute in his would be arrestation);on the other hand ,Robert Cornthwaite is rather ill-at -ease as the emperor.And Colleen Miller is no match for Janet Leigh .
But the principal makes it a good swashbuckler for a rainy day.
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