Original Airdate: January 24, 1999
Availability: I purchased my copy cheap on Deepdiscountdvd.com, but it seems to be unavailable at the moment, which leaves Amazon.com.
Synopsis: Wikipedia has an excellent summary of the first novel by author Barroness Emmuska Orczy. But, here's what you need to know: during the French revolution, an English aristocrat - and renowned fop - Sir Percy Blakeney, AKA "The Scarlet Pimpernel", along with several fellow aristocrats known as “The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel”, cross into France to rescue French aristocrats from the guillotine. Despite being the talk of London, only the members of the league know of Percy's double life. Even his wife, Marguerite, is kept in the dark until it's almost too late. Jamie plays Lord Tony Dewhurst, supposedly one of Percy's most valued men, not that you would know this from the production.
Worth Watching? Yes, if you have a desire to see everything Jamie has appeared in. Otherwise, if you want a faithful adaptation of the novel, get yourself a copy of the 1982 mini series starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour.
Does he live or die? Die. And it's the most brutal, in my opinion, of all his on screen deaths. The good news is you can quit watching at the sixty minute mark.
Jamie's first appearance and how you know you're a dedicated fan: You can spot that's him on the far right.
Usually there's this thing writers like to do called setting up the story and characters, but the writers of The Scarlet Pimpernel decided to go a different route: no set up. They just jump right into the story and expect you to figure it out. There's a rescue about to happen of one of the Pimpernel's men. And Jamie is forced to wear a really stupid hat.
“Yeah, I don't know what were doing standing way over here either.”
After Percy successfully rescues his man, who is about to die, everyone sets sale for England. Jamie looks around, is struck by familiar surroundings, and has to remind himself he is not starring in a Hornblower production.
Wasn't I just on this ship? Did the BBC get a deal on a lease?
I should mention in the other film productions Tony has a
I mentioned Percy and Marguerite. There's some scenes of them talking. There's obviously tension in the marriage, but we don't know why. I might be upset by this if I cared, but I don't because the actors were horribly miscast.
Tony speaks! With a stutter! Huh? That's new.
Here's Tony standing the background. Tony spends a lot of time in the background in this film.
Jamie uses the time to try and master the art of getting attention by only using his eyes.
Or maybe he's trying to not stare at his costars hair.
Tony pops his head into the scene. No, really, that's all he does. Again, no lines!
Maybe Jamie has begun randomly inserting himself to remind the production staff he exists.
He's so desperate for attention he attempts to sing.
At this point, stuff happens that maybe I should tell you about. Marguerite's brother, Armand, has been arrested by order of Chauvelin. Chauvelin's plan is to use Armand to pressure Marguerite to aid him in discovering the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel. She hasn't figured out his "gone sailing on the Thames" is code for "heading to France to save people from losing their heads". Even though her marriage with Percy is on the rocks (While still in France - did I mention she was French? - she had a family sent to their death. Percy was none too happy to learn about that, but, really, it's just a huge misunderstanding!), she asks Percy to help save her brother. He says no to keep up a front, but takes off the next morning (to go sailing!) with his band of merry men to try and rescue Armand.
Once in France, Percy takes Tony to the BEST PARTY EVA! And we get a great moment in film history.
Tony, inspired by Colin Firth in 'Pride & Prejudice', tries out the wet shirt look.
The girls seem to like it and he's on his way to losing his virginity to all three of them.
Hey there! Can you believe I get paid to do this?!
The next morning, Percy and his band of merry men go to....the tailors to pick up Percy's new coat. But it's really just a cover. The tailor, like everyone who isn't busy rounding up aristocrats, is working with the Pimpernel. At this point you begin to wonder how Percy has a secret identity. Meanwhile, Jamie sits in the background, again.
From off camera: "Bamber! Wake up!"
Jamie: What? Wait. We're still filming? Crap.
Percy meets with Armand's girlfriend, who is actually working for Chauvelin. Chauvelin busts up their meeting and Percy goes running off. Meanwhile, Tony decides to play hero and gets in a scuffle with one of Chauvelin's men who is about to shoot Percy.
Bad screencap, but, still, doesn't it look like Tony's fighting off the guys advances? Not that you can blame him. ;)
And even Armand's treacherous girlfriend agrees!
As they say, no good deed goes unpunished and this is where the film goes from bad (literally) to worse. Tony is shot. And while it looked like he took the bullet in the shoulder in the scuffle, the writer/makeup person/director changes their mind and decides he got shot in the stomach instead.
While I'm down here, can someone get me my agent?
While Tony's busy bleeding, Percy is having fun running away form Chauvelin and stealing his horse. You begin to think, "It's all fun and games until someone loses their life". Which is about to happen to poor Tony. Chauvelin returns to the where Percy first fled, finds Tony bleeding and under arrest and, pissed off at being humiliated, grabs a gun and executes Tony. :(
I can't bring myself to show you any more than this.
The End. Thankfully. And sorry for the lateness of the post, but I still have thirty more minutes of Sunday. ;)