It's 1784 and the Dauphin (Dalibor Sipek), the son of the late Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, languishes in the Egalite Orphanage near Paris. When a red-hooded assassin kidnaps the helpless child, Robespierre implores right-hand man Chauvelin (Martin Shaw) to retrieve this tiny pawn in his quest to maintain power.
Upon learning of the political snatching, English spy Sir Percy "Scarlet Pimpernel" Blakeney (Richard E. Grant) and his French-born wife Marguerite (Elizabeth McGovern) stage a public argument so Marguerite can take a powder to France without raising suspicion. Once there, master manipulator Robespierre enlists Marguerite, a former actress, as an onstage propagandist. Declaring the error of her royalist ways, she scores a triumph that earns her the enmity of troupe director La Touraine (Suzanne Bertish). While Marguerite investigates the cross-dressing La Touraine, Chauvelin seems strangely confident about recovering the missing Dauphin. Could it be that he engineered the kidnapping himself? Can Sir Percy locate that red-hooded arch-fiend who eliminates all witnesses? Exquisitely appointed and moderately diverting, this installment of A&E's SCARLET PIMPERNEL series is easy on the eyes and ears but lacks the truly memorable zest of Hollywood's classic fencing follies. Not that it doesn't swash and buckle; ironically, where PIMPERNEL consistently comes up short is in the oh-so-civilized scenes between Sir Percy and Marguerite. Although he's given memorable comic performances, Grant doesn't possess the matinee idol qualities necessary to fully inhabit his larger-than-life role. Similarly, the usually estimable McGovern lacks the authority to suggest a double agent, let alone an actress who's the toast of Paris. Whenever they're exchanging bon mots onscreen, you're likely to find yourself pining for the next scene of derring-do and the impressively played villains that come with it.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 2000
- Rating: NR
- Review: It's 1784 and the Dauphin (Dalibor Sipek), the son of the late Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette, languishes in the Egalite Orphanage near Paris. When a red-hooded assassin kidnaps the helpless child, Robespierre implores right-hand man Chauvelin (Martin Shaw… (more)