(1982)4Mike CummingsIn this rousing romp of a film, Anthony Andrews plays the dual role of Sir Percy Blakeney and the Scarlet Pimpernel with gusto and panache. As Percy he is a conceited coxcomb who wears lacy cravats and recites poetry. As the Pimpernel, he is a daring hero who rescues French nobles in the age of the guillotine. For fans of swashbuckling intrigue, his schizoid shenanigans make for rambunctious fun and frolic. He is, in short, a pip of a Pimpernel. Portraying his adversary, the dastardly Chauvelin, is Ian McKellen. Unaware of the identity of the Pimpernel, he travels to England in the capacity of ambassador to skulk and lurk -- and McKellen is a master in this regard -- in an attempt to unmask his clever foe. His plot involves Percy's wife, the beautiful Marguerite, portrayed with elegance and charm by Jane Seymour. Secret meetings and a climactic sword fight ensue, but not before director Clive Donner gives the viewers a taste of the haut monde: colorful costumes, period music, and ballroom repartee with a zing, thanks to scriptwriter William Bast. Authentic English settings include Blenheim Palace, Broughton Castle, Milton Manor, and Ragley Hall.