Good in Parts
I've been meaning to watch this film for some time because I've been a Zorro fan since 1980. I love these "dandy by day, hero by night" characters. While the Scarlett Pimpernel certainly is the forerunner to many of these types of heroes to come (namely, Zorro and Batman), I was not overly impressed with the film.
My biggest issue is the action portions of the film is very weak, mostly because most of the "action" takes place off screen. They never actually show him rescuing anyone. The victims are in prison and then all of the sudden they are in his wagon. No explanation how he freed them. I understand for the time, maybe they weren't doing these types of stunt/action sequences, but it sure took me out of the film.
The strength of the film is in the acting of Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon and the supporting cast. When Mr. Howard is playing Percy, his mannerism and behavior are a high point. His foppish, wimpy manner is perfectly played and when he switches over to a more serious Percy, its mostly in his eyes and body language. Ms. Oberon plays a very lovely lady who is torn between her love for family and her disgust with the French revolutionaries. Her part could have been better written, but it was not the fault of the actress.
The supporting cast is great and I especially enjoyed the ballroom scene. The costumes, the dancing, and the fun character of the Prince of Wales. Raymond Massey as the villain left something to be desired as well. Like, the Mrs. Blakeney character, it seems to have been underwritten and not the fault of the actor.
There seemed to be a lot of exposition left out of the film and as mentioned above, things happen off screen. As I said the parts that focus on Blakeney are superb, but the scenes of him as the Scarlett Pimpernel were very weak IMO.
My memory foam pillow says it can't remember my face. I can tell its lying.