'Pimpernel' Smith (1941) torrent download

'Pimpernel' Smith

1941

Action / Adventure / Comedy / Drama / Thriller / War

7.2

Synopsis

It is mid-1939 and both Germany and England are preparing for an inevitable conflict. Professor Horatio Smith, an effete academic, asks his students to come with him to the continent to engage in an archaeological dig. When his students discover that the professor is the man responsible for smuggling a number of enemies of the Nazi state out of Germany, they enthusiastically join him in his fight. But things are complicated when one of his students brings a mysterious woman into their circle, a woman who is secretly working for the Gestapo.

Cast

Francis L. Sullivan
as General von Graum
Leslie Howard
as Professor Horatio Smith
Hugh McDermott
as David Maxwell
Mary Morris
as Ludmilla Koslowski
Manning Whiley
as Bertie Gregson
Peter Gawthorne
as Sidimir Koslowski

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 /10

They Seek Him Here, They Seek Him There, --- Those Nazis Seek Him Everywhere

World War II brought Leslie Howard the opportunity to bring up to modern times one of his most beloved parts, that of The Scarlet Pimpernel. This time he's Horatio 'Pimpernel' Smith, archaeologists by day and rescuer of some of the finest intellectual minds in Germany who are marked for death by Adolph Hitler.

In The Scarlet Pimpernel Howard is a Georgian fop as his cover for the dashing, unknown, and elusive pimpernel. Substitute fop for tweedy as he's now an Oxford archeology professor and his cover is a beaut.

One of the Nazi Aryan racial vanities was that way back in the day there was an Aryan civilization. Being the archaeologist he is, Howard's cover is that he's in Germany on a dig, looking for evidence of that selfsame civilization. He even brings along several students as part of the cover.

In one scene Howard is wounded when he's disguised as a scarecrow and a Nazi guard shoots at it to make a point. That does lead to him being found out by his students, one of them being David Tomlinson, later the father in Mary Poppins. To a man, they all decide to stay and help him with his work.

Howard's a bachelor here so he doesn't have wife Merle Oberon and her family dirty laundry to compromise him as he did in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Here he's dealing with Mary Morris who is collaborating with the Nazis to keep her musician father, Peter Gawthorne alive.

Taking the place of Howard's relentless foe Chauvelin as played by Raymond Massey is Francis L. Sullivan as General Von Graum of the Gestapo. Sullivan is a favorite character actor of mine and a joy to watch in any film he does whether a good guy or the baddest of bad guys as he is here.

Leslie Howard directed this film himself and it's interesting to speculate had he survived World War II whether he would have done more work behind rather than in front of the camera. In directing Pimpernel Smith, he certainly had the advantage of knowing his character well.

And you shouldn't pass up an opportunity to get to know him too.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 8 /10

Leslie's screen farewell - a haunting, ghostly one.

In 1935 Leslie Howard made one of his finest films in the historic romance, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. He played the hero, Sir Percy Blakeney, who was a society leader but also a society twit, who spent time staring through an eyeglass criticizing the way a man's cravat was tied, or a sleeve was cut, or how Romney was painting his wife. But when alone with his intimates he was "The Scarlet Pimpernel" who planned the rescue of French aristocrats from the guillotine. He and his gang are fighting a war to the death against Citizen Chauvin (Raymond Massey), the Jacobin agent/minister to Britain, who is seeking to end the rescues. In between is his beloved, but seemingly tarnished wife (Merle Oberon) who is trying to save her captured brother, and unknowingly reveals her husband's secret to Chauvin. The conclusion of this adventure film was very exciting and surprising.

But there was and is a problem with THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Despite Baroness Orczy's marvelous writing ability (try her detective tales of THE OLD MAN IN THE CORNER as a good follow-up), she was deeply impressed with the old order of aristocracy. Only once, in the film, did a sense of balance come through - and oddly enough out of the mouth of the villain. Merle Oberon had testified for the French Revolutionary Court against some aristocrats, dooming them (by her testimony) to death. She has never forgiven herself (and it has blackened her reputation). In bemoaning this Massey gets disgusted and spits out, "Why is it that everyone is always condemning what happened to the poor aristocrats and never think of what they did to us?!" It's a good point, but because we dislike Massey and his boss (Robespierre, of course) we never stop to consider it for long.

Howard was able to repeat and improve on the original film in 1942 with PIMPERNEL SMITH, where as Professor Horatio Smith he uses his archaeological digs in Germany (for proof of an Aryan civilization before Greece or Rome) to rescue intellectuals and victims of the Nazi Reich. Here his opponent is General Von Graum (Francis L. Sullivan) who is like Chauvin in his sharpness and pomposity. He is an obvious knock at Hermann Goering (who was obese like Sullivan) and has Goering's sham bonhomie and his total vicious streak. The writer of the screenplay must have had some discussion with German refugees in the know (notice the bits about Von Graum throwing a tantrum and then turning about and offering German chocolate to someone who has come through for him).

The film also uses Howard to brilliant advantage in one sequence, disguised as a bureaucrat, who he himself states was the most disagreeable person he ever thought up. The ultimately efficient German bureaucrat is totally inhuman - a talking machine of bossy efficiency. Percy Blakeney was disguised several times, as an old crone and a soldier, but never someone so disagreeable.

And that is the difference. THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL deals with the 1790s and the Reign of Terror. It was a century and a half in the past, and really could not annoy the French too much (though one wonders what it's box office was like in France). Britain and Germany were at war in 1942, and the film couldn't present even one moment where Von Graum could make a comment like Chauvin's outburst. As a matter of historic record, Chauvin had some point about the sins of the Ancien Regime as opposed to the Revolutionaries. Knowing what we know now about Von Graum's buddies, he would not have been able to say much.

The closing of the movie was a memorable speech by Howard, about how Germany's entrance into war was not the start of it's road to glory but to it's destruction. True enough in 1945 - 1950 or so. And when he manages to take advantage of Von Graum's brief distraction to vanish into the night, the Nazi fires his gun into the empty space. "I'll be back," we hear Howard repeat twice. It is haunting, because of his real fate of being shot down in the war by a Nazi plane. Howard physically did not return, but spiritually he did with the men at D-Day all the way to V.E.Day.

Reviewed by A_Different_Drummer 10 /10

Awesome ... but see the original first!

Leslie Howard was an actor's actor, the highest form of praise, a man whose skill at his craft would allow him to blend into almost any character, any role. While he left behind for fans of the future many fine performances, it is generally thought that one of his best was the original Scarlet Pimpernel in which he had to play what was arguably one of the screen's first "superheros" complete with a secret identity. In the iconic original he manages to effectively portray the mild-mannered fop (more interested in clothing than fighting); the warrior and man of action known as the Pimpernel; and even the romantic counter-part to his wife (who, in a brilliant sub-plot, was also not what she seemed, but for entirely different reasons). It was an astonishing portrayal. Hollywood being what it is (was?)

Howard was given a second chance to play the same character in a modern setting, as an underground agent working against the Nazis on their own soil. The script, direction, and acting are all superb. The only negative is that this film TAKEN ON ITS OWN might seem contrived and over-written. Unless - THIS IS THE KEY -- you see the original first. Remember that this was the era before 500 cable channels and streaming video. It is a 'given' that the audience for this film was familiar with the first. So if you you follow their footsteps and see the films in proper order, the sheer bravado and outrage within this script will pop, and you will enjoy a tremendously entertaining film by a master at the top of his craft.

In particular, the exchanges between Howard and his nemesis, played by Francis L. Sullivan, and are the stuff of legend.

And the scene where Howard, playing a die-hard bachelor, shows a photo of his lifelong love (the statue Aphrodite) to the character played by Mary Morris and then tears it up in front of her ... remains one of the most romantic scenes ever films. A declaration of love with no words spoken.

The pity is that being B&W this film will have a smaller and smaller audience in years to come. Pity.

Read more IMDb reviews