Pimpernel Smith NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(53) IMDb 7.4/10
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An absent-minded professor on an archaeological dig is actually a dashing agent rescuing refugees from the clutches of Nazi officers. Based on Baroness Emmuska Orczy's novel "The Scarlet Pimpernel."

Starring:
Allan Jeayes, Peter Gawthorne
Runtime:
2 hours, 0 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Pimpernel Smith

Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Adventure, Comedy
Director Leslie Howard
Starring Allan Jeayes, Peter Gawthorne
Supporting actors Ernest Butcher, Ben Williams, Leslie Howard, Arthur Hambling, Joan Kemp-Welch, Hugh McDermott, Manning Whiley, Philip Friend, Basil Appleby, Laurence Kitchin, David Tomlinson, Mary Brown, Aubrey Mallalieu, W. Phillips, Ilse Bard, Ernest Verne, George Street, Raymond Huntley
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Good acting and storyline.
David
This, even as the German propaganda machine engages in blustery denials.
H. Bala
Leslie Howard, a great actor, who played the original Scarlet Pimpernel.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Lynn Farley on August 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
We're used to thinking of "personal films" as something modern; this one is sixty years old, and it's very personal. In 1939, fresh from Gone with the Wind, LH could have done anything he wanted -- but Hitler was bombing his country, and he went home to fight the war. It's safe to say he had the final word on the screenplay: an update of one of his most famous characters, the Scarlet Pimpernel. He is now smuggling intellectuals out of Germany, under cover of being an archeology professor too absent-minded to be taken seriously. Except, of course by Francis Sullivan of the Gestapo, and Mary Morris (daughter of a freedom-fighting publisher). Howard the Director keeps the tone light, the pace swift and the dialogue delightful. You may not even notice the absence of violence...but you will remember his final speech. It's almost the last film he made. Howard went into acting in the first place because he was shell-shocked in the first world war, and acting was therapy. By the time this film was made, acting was a cover; because he was also gathering intelligence for England when his plane was shot down. This film was made in 1940, before a great deal was known about how virulent the nazis were. It was a fusillade from a man who hated war...This gentle Englishman, with a great gift for comedy, knew what was important. In the place of the trademark pimpernel, there is a quote: "The mind of man is bounded only by the universe." See it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Terry Knapp on December 30, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Sink me! This is a deucedly entertaining play on the 1934 original. A heroic archeologist battling Nazis? Sounds vaguely familiar - I can't help but wonder whether George Lucas may have seen this film as a child. This is a wonderful, heartfelt wartime propaganda film.
Howard strikes just the right light note as the English academic whose true calling is the rescue of politically oppressed individuals. Howard, that most English of actors, was (believe it or not) Hungarian by birth, and he delivers a stirring tribute to the values of his adopted homeland, Britain. Francis L. Sullivan (best known as Lawyer Jaggers in both the 1934 and 1945 versions of GREAT EXPECTATIONS) obviously had a great time playing this update's counterpart to the original's Chauvelin. Look for early appearances by Michael Rennie (Klaatu in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL) and David Tomlinson (Mr. Banks in MARY POPPINS).
Short of a major digital restoration, this is probably the best quality copy you will find of this film, which is a nearly sixty-year-old independent production. The master material is old, but it has been carefully cleaned and duplicated. I do wish that the soundtrack had been duplicated in Hi-Fi, but that is a minor quibble.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 31, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Long before Indiana Jones, there was another dashing archaelogy professor who fought the Nazis. PIMPERNEL SMITH, released in 1941 and alternately titled MISTER V, is an updating of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, with the backdrop of the French Revolution being swapped for that of pre-World War II Europe.

Berlin, during the spring of 1939, and rumors rage up and down the Third Reich, of an uncatchable mystery man who boldly rescues eminent artists and intellectuals from Gestapo persecution and concentration camps. This, even as the German propaganda machine engages in blustery denials. Meanwhile, Horatio Smith, prim and forgetful English professor of archaelogy, undertakes a seemingly innocuous tour of Germany with six of his students. Except that their first few stops coincide with daring prison break-outs which were effected near their vicinity. However, it takes the professor garnering a bloody wound before his students finally catch a clue...

Now introduce a beautiful girl who works with the Nazi against her will, and the tense cat-and-mouse games really begin.

Leslie Howard, in all the films I've seen him in, has never been less than very, very good (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Pygmalion - Criterion Collection, The Petrified Forest, Stand-In).
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dumb Ox on July 6, 2005
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
A&E used to show this old movie every so often; the print was in awful condition and yet, despite its technical difficulties, Pimpernel Smith was a compelling film. It was Leslie Howard's final film, his own personal project, an anti-Nazi propaganda piece designed to shore up his battered country's courage and offer hope to his beloved nation. That it no doubt did, and yet Pimpernel Smith succeeds as a stand-alone movie and is in some ways superior to Howard's earlier turn as The Scarlet Pimpernel.

The film opens with a scientist doing important medical research being arrested and hauled away by the Nazis. Rescue comes in the form of a mysterious man who whisks the researcher away from under his captors' noses. The scene switches to an English college campus, where resides the eccentric Professor Horatio Smith, an archaeologist who fusses over his prized statue of Venus, is absent-minded, and dislikes social engagements. His students think he's a few bricks light of a load and his superior is confused by him, and the only female he adores is his aforementioned statue. In short, he's so harmless he's virtually a laughingstock.

However, Smith is in reality a man who uses his position as an archaelogy researcher to travel throughout Europe, and beneath the absent-minded veneer is someone with quiet nerves of steel. Nobody realizes this, of course, not his unsuspecting students when he invites them to accompany him on a jaunt to search for traces of Aryan civilization, nor the Nazis, who view him with contempt as an annoying little English pest. Only one person believes Smith to be the elusive rescuer of potential Nazi prisoners: the beautiful yet dangerous Ludmilla Koslowski.
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