General observation...


Anyone else feel this movie was a little.. antidemocratic?

Baby's on the Half Tip

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No. Next question...

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[deleted]

[deleted]

He says, "Look Marguerite, England." the music swells and that's the end.

"It's that kind of idiocy that I empathize with." ~David Bowie

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[deleted]

Hmm. Georgian England under a king; France during the time of The Terror. People who are being killed for reason of class being rescued by an aristocrat who believes they have every right to live.
I don't think democracy even enters into the picture politically, but it certainly shows enlightenment values that every life is sacred and the Pimpernel's deeds are heroic.

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I recorded this movie when it last showed in November. I am missing the last few seconds of the recording because apparently I didn´t give enough time. Since you seem to have watched when it last showed, I wonder if you can enlight me. My recording finishes when Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon are hugging on the ship looking outward to the sea and Merle Oberon asks him ¨are we really free Percy?¨ and he replies ¨not true, (somebody´s name) said we´ll be free the moment I die, it won´t be a moment soon¨ and then the camera focuses on this saylor who cries aloud something as giving instructions and then the camera focuses again on Percy who seems to be about to add one last thing but there the recording stops and I miss it. It is probably not significant but I am curious. Do you remember what was that? Thanks.

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I just watched the movie this morning on TCM

Marguerite: "Are we really free, Percy?"

Percy: "Not true, Chauvelin said you'll be free the moment I die, it won't be a moment soon"

Sailor: "Land ahead!"

Percy: "Look, Marguerite...England!"

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[deleted]

indy go blue44 wrote "Hmm. Georgian England under a king; France during the time of The Terror. People who are being killed for reason of class being rescued by an aristocrat who believes they have every right to live.
I don't think democracy even enters into the picture politically, but it certainly shows enlightenment values that every life is sacred and the Pimpernel's deeds are heroic."

So well said!

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As previous posters have mentioned, The Terror that followed the French Revolution had nothing to do with democracy. It was like the time of the "killing fields" in Cambodia.

I think the patriotic last line about England reflected concerns in Britain about the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy. This film was released in 1934 when Hitler was consolidating his hold over Germany. Alot of people suspected that England would soon be fighting tyranny in Europe again

Me-ow.

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Not many in 1934 were worried yet about the rise of Germany (unfortunately). The movie is based on a play that was written in 1902 and the book was published in 1917 during World War I. I suspect the line had more to do with that period than the year the movie came out.

As for "democracy," we're talking about the Reign of Terror, when tens of thousands had their heads chopped off. There was no rule of law and certainly no due process. All you had to do was tick off Robespierre or one of his cronies and you were headless.

Democracy without the rule of law is simply mob rule. Read Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" for a brilliant explication of why the French Revolution was such a disaster.


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I've given this movie some thought in that light, and although the Pimpernel's deeds are indisputably heroic and right in that the aristocrats did not deserve to be massacred in the reign of terror, the film completely ignores what got France to this point in the first place - centuries of hunger and abuse suffered by the peasants at the hands of the aristocrats who gave their suffering no thought whatsoever. I think in the whole film there are maybe a couple of sentences uttered in one prison scene by one of the aristocrats who is playing chess with another aristocrat. I think he says something like "Maybe we should have done things differently..." You think??? Other than that the film is silent on what caused the revolution in France.

This film was made almost immediately after the production code went into effect. The production code did not just deal with sex, it also prevented films from making businessmen look greedy or showing any kind of revolt in a positive way. That is probably why the lesson of all of this bloodshed is never mentioned - The 1% should show some noblesse oblige in how they deal with the 99%, not just because it is the right thing to do and because these are your fellow human beings, but because you never know when the tables are going to turn.

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Anti-democratic? I don't think so. If you mean the storyline of this movie was, shall we say, unappreciative of the French Revolution, that is certainly true. But the French Revolution was not necessarily a major victory for democracy. The bloodthirsty time that were the French Revolution, with guillotines popping up like daisies all over France, was not democracy's finest moments, though it eventually resulted in the overthrow of aristocracy.

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"I think the "Scarlet Pimpernel" does a good job of illustrating how excessive the Revolution had become."

Perhaps. But, the French Revoluton was "excessive" the moment it began. It was a revolution of "the mob" and, thus, utterly unlike the American Revolution. By the same token, the French Revolution was a forerunner of the Occupy Wall Street movement "not" the Tea Party movement. The focus, objectives, and justifications for the OWS movement and the FR are identical. The French used the pike and the national razor because they could. The OWS movement uses buckets of feces only because the American Revolution, and its institutions, have denied them the razor.

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