Is there no end to it?.......The Adventures of Robin Hood....William Tell....Sir Lancelot, etc, etc. And now "The Scarlet Pimpernel" gets the ITC treatment, in this complete collection of eighteen, 25-minute individual tales of swashbuckling derring-do, which were originally broadcast in 1956. Along with all the other good performances in the series, distinguished actor, Marius Goring is excellently cast in his dual-role, seamlessly switching between the dandyfop Sir Percy Blakeney and his more dashing & heroic alter-ego, the Scarlet Pimpernel - the rescuer & toast of those beleaguered Gallic aristo's living under the shadow of Madame Guillotine in Robespierre's revolutionary France.
The rest of the regular cast includes Patrick Troughton (as Sir Andrew Ffoulkes), Alexander Gauge (The Prince Regent), Stanley Van Beers (Chauvelin, Minister of Police), Lucie Mannheim (the Countess la Valliere), Maureen Connell (Melanie, Princess de Monsantes), and Anthony Newland (Lord Richard Hastings). The series also attracted a number of familiar guest stars (see below).
This is yet another typical early ITC swashbuckling TV series, the simple but charming tales are very much in keeping with fellow ITC costume dramas such as "Sword of Freedom" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". The black & white prints used for this collection are mostly very good. There are no extras or subtitles. The inside of the DVD case features an episode synopsis, and this is what you get....
*THE HOSTAGE....The Scarlet Pimpernel must rescue the Baroness Suzanne de Fleury and her son from Chauvelin's clutches - a task which must be achieved without revealing the Pimpernel's alter-ego, Sir Percy Blakeney.
Guest starring Robert Shaw & Yvonne Furneaux.
*SIR PERCY'S WAGER....Sir Percy is always ready to make a wager. However, betting on the outcome of the Pimpernel's latest escapade could be dangerous - and even cost him his freedom.
*THE PRINCESS....Having rescued her from the guillotine, why should Sir Percy be so glib when introduced to the latest lady at court, the Marquise de Manton? At the time of her rescue she was a servant girl. Now she is a court favourite. How?
*A TALE OF TWO PIGTAILS....Why has Chauvelin returned to England to spend some time at the court of the Prince Regent? Sir Percy must discover the reason: the Pimpernel's life could depend on it.
Guest starring Peter O'Toole & introducing Maureen Connell.
*THE LADY IN DISTRESS....Chauvelin uses the Pimpernel's strong sense of chivalry to bait a trap with the beautiful Cecile as the prize. Informed that Madame Guillotine awaits her pretty neck, Sir Percy plans a rescue....
Guest Alfie Bass.
*SOMETHING REMEMBERED....Answering an appeal from the Comtesse de Fleury to bring her brother Jacques to safety from France, the Pimpernel finds his activities brought to a standstill when the lad refuses to leave his sweetheart.
Guest William Franklyn.
*THE ELUSIVE CHAUVELIN....In his strangest mission yet, the Pimpernel must rescue a young man accused of being the Pimpernel - and discover whether Chauvelin was behind a plot to plant the false avenger in France.
Guest Christopher Lee.
*THE SWORD OF JUSTICE....Hearing that the Scarlet Pimpernel is being impersonated in France by an Englishman who is robbing and murdering French aristocrats, Sir Percy sets a trap to catch the imposter.
Guest Brian Wilde.
*THANKSGIVING DAY....Why should an American who desperately needs the Pimpernel's help challenge him in a duel to the death? Sir Percy must find a way to protect his second identity and protect the man, at the same time.
*SIR ANDREW'S FATE....How can a wax effigy of the Pimpernel lead Chauvelin to the original? Sir Percy's reputation for elusiveness is put to the test with this latest threat to his existence.
Guest Ivor Dean.
*THE AMBASSADOR'S LADY....Lord Richard Hasting's eye for a pretty girl places him and Sir Percy in the spotlight - and right under Chauvelin's nose. Will the gossip prove to be their undoing, or can the Pimpernel save the day?
Guest William Franklyn.
*THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT....It's Christmas, but Sir Percy has no time for festivities: he's busy helping a group of children escape Chauvelin's clutches, and to keep them amused during their flight, he tells them a story...
*THE FLOWER WOMAN....The Comtesse la Valliete, who has long been Chauvelin's spy at the English court, has a change of heart and joins Sir Percy. Or does she? Can he really trust her with his secret?
*THE IMAGINARY INVALIDS....Hearing that the daughter of Rothstein, an old enemy, is being held by Chauvelin and the ransom demand is high, Sir Percy sets out to see that it is never paid - at least, not to Chauvelin!
Guest John Laurie.
*ANTOINE AND ANTOINETTE....Finding themselves spending their honeymoon in a rat-infested prison cell, Antoine and Antoinette pray for deliverance. It arrives in the shape of the Pimpernel - who sets out to teach Chauvelin a lesson.
*THE WINGED MADONNA....The Abbey of Nanterre has been plundered by Chauvelin, and its monks lie dead. Sir Percy decides to force Chauvelin to say his prayers.
*GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD....Sir Percy notices a beautiful woman showing an unusual interest in the Prince Regent's affairs and is unconvinced by her replies to his questions. Perhaps it's time for the Pimpernel to show his true colours.
Guest Conrad Phillips.
*THE FARMER'S BOY....By giving one of Sir Percy's agents false information, Chauvelin hopes to lure the man he suspects to be the Pimpernel into the open. He achieves his aim - but is astonished when a 'simple minded' farmer's boy arrives at the court.
Guest starring Roger Delgado, Michael Ripper & Ivor Dean.
Another enjoyable release from Network.