Tuesday, September 18, 2007

on The Scarlet Pimpernel

Is the book as good as the movie?

It may sound an unusual question, but I grew up on the Leslie Howard 1934 Scarlet Pimpernel (aka Ashley Wilkes) and it's pretty darn good. Definitely in the top 5 oldies favorite list, if I had one. But I'd been hearing about how good the book was, and when I found a copy (a trashy paperback copy, no less), I began reading it.

The SP is a bit difficult to get into. Madame, ah, excuse me, Baroness Orczy has highly ridiculous elaborate and descriptive writing. And it is a few chapters before the plot builds up to the chase of that "demmed elusive Scarlet Pimpernel." But I was completely drawn in by halfway through. And when I had finished it, I found myself heading to bed, wishing again I could reenter the world of her elaborate language, the charming Madame Blakeney, and the ridiculous Percy.

I think it a valid critique to say Orczy spends a long time building up to her climax and then abruptly wraps things up.

However, two days later, into my hands fell a copy of The Elusive Pimpernel, and I promptly arrested my reading of A Day No Pigs Would Die, and began living the life of Marguerite once again. So perhaps she knew all along she would continue the story.

This means I am in the middle of three books, and about thirteen sewing projects. And these hobbies leave me little time for writing about these interesting things in my life. And my writing is sorely rusty.


angie said...

oh, but the sp is so good! and it's quick so it won't take you long! and then you can talk to me about it!

Elizabeth said...

Send me the Elusive Pimpernel when you are done with it. I had no idea there was a sequel.

Another movie as good as its book is Enchanted April. Have you seen it?