From every book, movie and play I’ve seen this is quite possibly my favorite pimpernel moment. It’s got the tender love, the action, the over the top ridiculousness, and that voice *sigh*.
As much as I love it, I feel like the musical, the movies, many of the adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel don’t do justice to Marguerite. If you’ve read the book you know that Marguerite is more than she appears. She’s powerful, intelligent and socially at the top of her game. She is in every way a perfect match for Percy. I have always wished the adaptations would convey her strength of character.
“The roads in and out of Paris are heavily guarded, but the dead have easy passage out of the city. A ragged old woman transports the coffins of the most recent victims of the guillotine and is waved on unimpeded. Later, the same crone watches five French aristocrats step out of their coffins unscathed. Not beheaded but spirited away to safety by that most elusive of spies: the Pimpernel. Or, as she’s known in polite society, Lady Scarlet Cavendish.
When not assuming her secret identity as a hero of the French Revolution, Scarlet presents herself as a fashionable, featherbrained young widow flitting about London. In truth, this façade is merely a diversion designed to conceal her clandestine work in France. Among members of the doomed French aristocracy, the Pimpernel is renowned for her bravery and cunning. But when tasked with rescuing handsome Comte Matteo Durand, she faces an unprecedented challenge: she is falling in love with the man. If ever there were a time to keep her head, it is now because in a world brimming with intrigue, she is not the only one harboring secrets. And if Scarlet doesn’t take care, Madame la Guillotine may finally catch up with the Pimpernel.”
Jen handled her adaptation beautifully, she makes the history of this tumultuous era come alive. Those familiar with the fictional world of The Pimpernel will appreciate her salute to the original; and lovers of history will applaud how she makes the French Revolution personal, and intimate.
She has a beautiful grasp on our innate desire for freedom and infuses that into her story. The plot is heart rending and suspenseful. The romance is toe tingling and the characters are so realistic, for the first time in my life I felt emotionally connected to Marie Antoinette. With a strong female character you can root for, this is one of my new favorite Pimpernel adaptations.
**the violence is moderate due to the nature of the French Revolution and while Jen’s description was accurate and poignantly, it was neither too graphic nor distorted. She handled a rather violent setting admirably.