An audience-pleasing swashbuckler which benefits from one of MGM's most lavish mountings and a jaw-dropping six-and-a-half minute finale of swordplay. Granger stars as a handsome and adventurous young nobleman during the French Revolution who thinks he learns the identity of his
previously unknown father. He sets out to meet the wealthy and influential Duc de Gavrillac only to find that he has died. Along the way, Granger falls in love with the beautiful Leigh but ends the romance when he is told her last name is de Gavrillac. Later, while in a tavern with friend
Anderson, a revolutionary newspaper editor, he has a confrontation with a renowned royalist marquis, Ferrer, who is feared as the most skilled swordsman in the country. Ferrer kills Anderson and threatens to do the same to Granger. A complete amateur at swordfighting, Granger flees, vowing to
return one day and avenge the death of his friend. Further adding to Granger's dismay about Leigh, he learns that she is about to be married to Ferrer at the wish of the queen, Foch. In his travels, Granger joins a theater troupe wherein he is able to hide behind the role of "Scaramouche" and
spend his hours learning to fence from the masterful Dehner. When not acting or fencing, Granger spends his time with actress Parker, with whom he soon falls in love. Ferrer, however, learns of Granger's whereabouts, forcing him to continue his studies under Dehner's instructor, Hale. Granger then
enters the political arena as a minister on the side of the revolutionary forces. Opposite him is Ferrer. Eventually the pair meet at the theater while Granger is on stage as Scaramouche. Granger peels away his mask and challenges Ferrer to a duel. What follows is one of the finest sword battles
in movie history. Choreographed by a former Belgian fencing champion, Jean Heremans, the fight establishes both Granger and Ferrer as impressive sword handlers who are able to convince the audience of the danger their battle involves. The dueling swords of Granger and Ferrer carry the two foes
from the box seats, onto the balcony ledges, swinging across the auditorium, down the grand staircase and into the foyer, through the theater seats, and finally onto the stage. After this colorful, heart-stopping flurry of parries, lunges, thrusts, and feints, Granger corners the defeated Ferrer.
He is unable, however, to deliver the fatal thrust. Granger is then informed that Ferrer is really his half-brother. This fact not only reunites the two brothers, but also frees Granger to marry Leigh, who he now knows is not his sister.
A marvelously eventful picture in the most traditional of Hollywood styles, SCARAMOUCHE thrilled the audiences but failed to convince many critics of the day. Most were upset by the film's inability to live up to its 1923 silent predecessor, which starred Ramon Novarro as the nobleman and Lewis
Stone (who appears in the 1952 version as Anderson's father) as the rival swordsman. The chief difference between the two versions is the original's concentration on the French Revolution (which is barely referred to in 1952) and the revelation that the hero's nemesis is actually his father
instead of his half-brother. Based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini, SCARAMOUCHE is just one of many of that writer's swashbuckling epics to hit the screen, including the Errol Flynn vehicles CAPTAIN BLOOD (1935) and THE SEA HAWK (1940), and Tyrone Power's vehicle THE BLACK SWAN (1942). Sabatini's
Scaramouche again hit the screens in the 1964 French production ADVENTURES OF SCARAMOUCHE.
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