To London society, foppish English aristocrat Sir Percy Blakeney (Andrews) may appear to be well-acquainted with powdered wigs, poetry, and not much more, even to his lovely paramour Marguerite (Seymour); but in reality, he is the Scarlet Pimpernel — cloak-and-dagger swashbuckler — who's secretly been entering France to free nobles condemned to the chopping block in the wake of the Revolution. Now the French have dispatched underhanded ambassador Paul Chauvelin (McKellen) to ferret out this mischievous masked hero. But will he reveal himself?
Set during Robespierre's head-rolling Reign of Terror, this rousing remake of Alexander Korda's outstanding 1935 original has all the haute glamour, period flair, and zingy dialogue you'd expect from an old-fashioned adventure tale, updated beautifully by scriptwriter William Bast. Under Donner's assured direction, Andrews is aces as the dandy with two identities. Seymour's poise and elegance play well off his innocuous Percy, while McKellen, in a dastardly turn, makes a goading nemesis. Remember when movies were this much fun? "The Scarlet Pimpernel" will surely remind you.