Sign in to follow this  
Dothery

SCARAMOUCHE

74 posts in this topic

It's on now, working up to the seven-minute record sword fight in the theater. I love this picture. Nobody was ever so pretty as Stewart Granger in that gold-and-white costume. Lithe, athletic and handsome. Even Ty Power didn't have quite that strength of voice. Wonderful!

 

Years before Ramon Novarro played the part. I would like to have seen it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Technicolor in this film is very vivid and rich. Strong color "saturation".

 

Compare this to modern color films, especially dull color films of the 1970s and 80s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this, too. It's enormously entertaining. Eleanor Parker at her most beautiful. I especially like the cooperation between the two women in keeping Andre safe. They could so easily have been portrayed as stereotypes but they are distinct individuals. Janet Leigh's character in particular could have been a lifeless doll, but she's got spunk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Scaramouche* is a favorite of mine. I've mentioned the film on the bds. many times and have recommended it (hope you watched missW) Stewart Granger comes in as a close tie though to my all time favorite man in tights, Howard Keel in *Kiss Me Kate* . I thought Eleanor was so beautiful in this film and really had a beautiful figure. I've seen the film dozens of times and have a couple of the tapes. The fencing scene in the end of the film is so masterfully done, never tire of seeing it. I've read that many actors and crew on the lot came to see the dualing scene, including Tony Curtis, Janet's then husband, over 1,000 people watched in awe. Teriffically entertaining film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scaramouche was unquestionably the highlight of Stewart Granger's career. With Errol Flynn's best years clearly behind him by the time that the '50s came around, Granger was the preeminent swashbuckling star of the decade, in many respects. Unfortunately, MGM was a studio that knew how to make glossy looking costume products but they didn't have a director like Michael Curtiz who brought so much style and energy to the best of the Flynns (or, for that matter, musical composers like Korngold or Steiner).

 

Still, Scaramouche was the one outstanding swashbuckler Granger had, with one of the great duels in screen history as its deservedly famous climax. (To the best of my knowledge neither Granger nor Mel Ferrer had doubles for that match).

 

It's fun to watch Granger's bantering with a fiery Eleanor Parker. Later, though, the actress let it be known that she couldn't stand Granger, that he was, indeed, one of her least favourite co-stars. Still, it doesn't show on screen and, ultimately, that's what matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

lavender, I did see it, and I loved it ! I'm still in a kind of euphoria from it- that great feeling you sometimes have after seeing a fantastic movie that you know you'll never forget, and will want to see again.

Hm, where shall I start?

Well, for one thing, I don't generally like swashbucklers that much. Nor "period pieces", or "costume dramas". Oh, they're ok, I don't mind them, but I don't actively seek them out to watch, and there are many other film genres I like better.

But *Scaramouche* was "the exception that proves the rule", I guess. I think I had a smile on my face for the entire two hours of this movie.

It was so exuberant, so much fun ! Stewart Granger is such a fine hero, so handsome and dashing, but more than that, he's witty. A very sexy combination.

In fact, there's a lot of wit in this movie, it's got clever and interesting dialogue throughout. The "serious" scenes are well-written too.

All the actors were captivating, from Janet Leigh's sweet- but not overly sweet, she was feisty too - young "ward", to Mel Ferrar's cruel yet oddly likeable villain, to Eleanor Parker, whom I have never seen so spirited and good-humoured (despite all the frying pan whacking.)

 

I can't even say enough about it in one post. I'll save more for later.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 17, 2013 10:35 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

YAY, Miss W, I'm thrilled you loved the film. So, we've got an Eleanor convert LOL Told you, in this one far from whiney, she was feisty, full of passion and humor and gorgeous. Just love this film. The first time I watched *Scaramouche* was in the 1970's. I was dating a film student, and we use to screen films in my apartment every Sat. night. Seeing the film on a large screen was so much fun, but I can imagine that seeing this film in a theater must have been glorious.Fun, witty, beautiful film :)

 

ps. miss W for heaven's sake clear that MAILBOX. sent you a pm hrs. ago but it bounced

 

Edited by: lavenderblue19 on Jun 17, 2013 10:47 PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to say I really enjoyed this movie, also. Granger was great in the delivery of his lines. And yep, Parker was great as his fiery love-interest.

 

(...I suppose like MissW here, I have to admit after watching some of these Eleanor Parker films during this showcasing of her films, I TOO have had to change my opinion of her as primarily the "whiny" type.

 

And Tom, re this comment of yours...

>It's fun to watch Granger's bantering with a fiery Eleanor Parker. Later, though, the actress let it be known that she couldn't stand Granger, that he was, indeed, one of her least favourite co-stars. Still, it doesn't show on screen and, ultimately, that's what matters.

 

...I always DID get the impression(maybe from seeing him on talk shows years after his career was in decline) that Granger in real life thought his "you-know-what didn't emit any aroma", and so that's probably why Eleanor didn't care for the guy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the reasons that Scaramouche is so much fun is the revelation of how good Eleanor Parker is in the kind of role normally associated with Maureen O'Hara. Parker's advantage, though, is that she got to play this fiery lady in a costume film of much higher class and quality, not to mention intelligence, than the ones made by O'Hara, particularly during the '50s.

 

Having said that, everyone else is very good in the film, too, including the intelligence combined with steely cold-blooded arrogance portrayed by Mel Ferrer. It's my understanding that Ferrer was something of a dancer, and he used a dancer's grace in the choreography of that final duel sequence. Do you recall that move he had in which, instead of merely leaping over a theatre seat during the duel with Granger, he twirled backward in the air over it, a truly balletic move.

 

Stewart Granger was a HUGE fan of Errol Flynn, calling him the greatest film star that the film industry ever produced. He rubbed shoulders with his screen "hero" a little, too.

 

 

Later he wrote, rather modestly, "You gather by now that I was - and am - a fan of Errol Flynn. Yes, indeed. I was a pretty famous swashbuckler myself in my time. They put me on the cover of Life in 1952 as 'Stewart Granger, Swashbuckler.' But I couldn't hold a candle to Errol Flynn."

 

 

It may be that Granger's love of the Flynn films and Flynn's on screen style was a major motivator in his own success as a dashing costume romantic, never more so than in Scaramouche. Granger had flair, great screen presence, lovely dialogue delivery, could play humour to a degree (though he lacked Flynn's deft touch) and, like Flynn, wore costume clothes almost like he was born to model them. He also, and this is crucial, is most convincing in the fencing sequences.

 

 

Flynn never claimed to be a fencer but said he knew how to look good and convincing on screen with a sword in his hand. I've always suspected, though, that Granger worked even harder at it and may, to a degree, actually have known was he was doing with a sword in his hand. It's a shame about the age difference and that Granger, like Flynn, didn't have the opportunity to shine by duelling with a superb on-screen swordsman like Basil Rathbone, a man who could match Flynn in physical presence. Having said that, though, Mel Ferrer will more than suffice as a Rathbone substitute in Scaramouche.

 

 

I love that seven minute Scaramouche duel between Granger and Ferrer. It's as good as anything the screen as given us, standing up well, I feel, to Basil Rathbone's two great on screen duelling classics against Flynn in Robin Hood and Ty Power in The Mark of Zorro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to say anything negative on this thread, which is about a movie I liked so much. But this isn't about the movie.

 

I have a quibble. A lot of people rave about how much they like Robert Osborne and his pre-and post-screenings commentaries. But I have always found them lacking. While I respect the man himself, I am often disappointed in his post-viewing remarks. I find that a lot of the time -most of the time, in fact -they are not about the film we've just seen at all, they are what I consider to be off-topic mini-bios about one of the actors, or other trivia.

It was the same last night. After the screening of *Scaramouche*, about which there is so much to say, Osborne proceeded to talk about Lewis Stone, who'd played the father of Granger's best friend. Nothing against Lewis Stone, but I can look him up myself if I want. It just wasn't that interesting, and felt like an anti-climax after the delights of the movie we'd just watched.

 

Shirley there must have been lots of things Robert Osborne could have said about the movie. I almost always find his post-screening comments rather dull. And why does he so rarely talk about the movie itself? Just a bunch of (to me) slightly irrelevent details.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, especially about the post-film remarks. They are often a bit lacking, like they do not fit with the movie that was just screened except in a general sense. I did not feel this way with Illeana Douglas or Eddie Muller-- or even when Cher was on with Osborne. Usually the guest hosts are very good about staying on topic.

 

The Lewis Stone comments would work if Stone was a Summer Under the Stars honoree and SCARAMOUCHE was one of a day's worth of films used to honor him. Then, in that case, both the introductory or concluding remarks should logically relate to his participation in the film. But on an evening meant to celebrate Eleanor Parker, it seems odd that Osborne's focus would shift to Mr. Stone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end, since we can presume that all have seen the film, it might have been better to note that originally there was an alternate ending and it was filmed. Granger and Ferrer were to be confronted outside the theater by a group of revolutionaries and the latter killed off.

 

But, they were pressed for time on this presentation as the movie is 115 minutes long. Cross out the three minute opening graphics and comments, and it was probably thought to just toss out any bit of trivia ASAP so the next movie could start on time.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MissW, I'm struck by the irony that on a thread created in celebration of Scaramouche, you are now doing exactly what you accuse Robert Osborne of doing by bringing up an issue which doesn't have much to do with the film itself.

 

By the way, I think you have a valid point as I also sometimes wish his comments would provide more insight into the actual films themselves. I wonder, though, if you should not create a thread on the topic rather than bring it up here. Please don't take offense at my suggestion because none was intended. I have great respect for your opinions but merely question the avenue by which you chose to express this one (and, again, the irony of it, considering your complaint).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*clore wrote:* {font:arial, helvetica, sans-serif}*At the end, since we can presume that all have seen the film, it might have been better to note that originally there was an alternate ending and it was filmed. Granger and Ferrer were to be confronted outside the theater by a group of revolutionaries and the latter killed off.*

{font}

Thanks for the info, clore. I hadn't heard that before. And you say it was actually filmed.

 

The '52 version is very contrasting in a lot of ways to the Ramon Novarro silent version, and mostly to the advantage of the Granger film, I feel. Certainly the final duel in the 1923 is a severe disappontment to the one between Granger and Ferrer. But, then, for the most part, silent swashbucklers are disappointing compared to the best that the talkie era produced. The '52 Scaramouche, I feel, is one of the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clore, that's really interesting. I'm trying to think if that would have been a better ending to the one they used.

Probably not...one of the most dramatic moments in the film is when Granger's character swears to the cruel count who has just murdered his friend that he will come back and one day kill the count to avenge Philip's death. ( I say "murder" because the Count knew full well that the young man's duelling skills weren't even close to his own; he knew Philip would die.)

 

This bitter speech becomes a prime motivating force for Andre throughout the story. To have the Count die (or be brought to the brink of death) by any means other than Andre's sword would be at odds with the rest of the story. Yes, Philip was killed by Noel because of his revolutionary tract, and to have Noel killed by a revolutionary mob would in some way be fitting - but not as fitting as what did happen between him and Andre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

> {quote:title=TomJH wrote:}{quote}MissW, I'm struck by the irony that on a thread created in celebration of Scaramouche, you are now doing exactly what you accuse Robert Osborne of doing by bringing up an issue which doesn't have much to do with the film itself.

>

> By the way, I think you have a valid point as I also sometimes wish his comments would provide more insight into the actual films themselves. I wonder, though, if you should not create a thread on the topic rather than bring it up here. Please don't take offense at my suggestion because none was intended. I have great respect for your opinions but merely question the avenue by which you chose to express this one (and, again, the irony of it, considering your complaint).

Sorry, Tom, I was aware of the irony myself. I did acknowledge it, I began the post by saying "I hate to say anything negative on this thread..."

 

I just felt strongly about what I said, and didn't really know where else to say it. I did not want to start a whole new thread on the topic (at this time, anyway), and since I was genuinely disappointed in Osborne's tame and (to me) rather dull remarks following the film, I felt this was the best place to comment about it.

But I agree, we don't want to derail a thread about such a fun movie, and one that has so much to say about it (besides Lewis Stone ! )

So back to *Scaramouche.*

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't see Osborne's commentary about Lewis Stone last night, but I assume that he made reference to the fact that he had been in both the silent and talkie versions of the same tale.

 

Stone played the haughty aristocrat in the silent that Mel Ferrer would later play. Ferrer was a VAST improvement in the role, in my opinion. I don't want to knock the silent too much because I'm operating on a limited memory of it, just an overall feeling of disappointment with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Mel Ferrer. He has an interesting and unusual face, which can appear either cruel ( as in *Scaramouche* ) or gentle ( as in *Lili* ). Yes, I know people can say "Well, yeah, it's called "acting" ", but I feel Ferrer had that kind of versatility in his features and facial expression more than most.

 

He could also appear as attractive or repellant, again, depending on the role. (In this regard he is like Richard Widmark.)

 

Ferrer brings a complexity to the role of Count Noel. For some reason, despite his obvious egotism and hard-heartedness, he arouses, if not sympathy, at least an interest in his character -beyond the fact that he's the villain of the story.

As I said, this actor has a very expressive face, along with a physically graceful presence . His scenes with Janet Leigh, particularly the one in which he realizes that he does indeed love her, are touching, they make it impossible to entirely hate this character. He also performs with as much dash and style as his foe (Granger.) Every time Ferrer appeared on screen, I thought, "Oh good, this should be fun."

One of my favourite moments in *Scaramouche* is at the end of the famous sword fight: Andre has bested him in that exciting and perfectly matched (well, almost) duel, and he has Noel at the point of his sword. But Andre cannot bring himself to kill him.

The camera moves in on, first Andre's eyes, then Noel's, then back to Andre. It's a tense, dramatic moment. We don't want Andre to kill the Count anymore than Andre does.

 

 

Mel Ferrer does a fine job of this, conveying pride, fear, resignation, and possibly something else -respect for his opponent - all in those few seconds of the close-up.

A great scene.

 

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 18, 2013 11:27 AM

Because I really want to spell this guy's name with an "a".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(gas on the fire here:)

 

I am 99.9% positive that Osborne gave *the exact same info* about Lewis Stone in Scaramouche the last time it aired in prime time, which was possibly (?) when it was featured during Stewart Granger's (rather inexplicable selection as) SOTM.

 

I didn't watch it this time around, but *I distinctly remember* Lewis Stone and his presence in both versions of the story was the sole focus in the outro the one time I did sit thru Scaramouche.

 

 

(which was enough for me)

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Jun 18, 2013 11:39 AM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Jun 18, 2013 11:39 AM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*MissW wrote: One of my favourite moments in Scaramouche is at the end of the famous sword fight: Andre has bested him in that exciting and perfectly matched (well, almost) duel, and he has Noel at the point of his sword. But Andre cannot bring himself to kill him.*

 

*The camera moves in on, first Andre's eyes, then Noel's, then back to Andre. It's a tense, dramatic moment. We don't want Andre to kill the Count anymore than Andre does.*

 

 

*Mel Ferrer does a fine job of this, conveying pride, fear, resignation, and possibly something else -respect for his opponent - all in those few seconds of the close-up.*

*A great scene.*

 

 

You're correct, Miss W. I wasn't quite fair to Ferrer when I had earlier described him as merely cold-blooded. There IS a degree of complexity to his characterization which, in turn, makes him a more interesting villain. As opposed to his arrogance towards the "masses" and his cold blooded enjoyment of duelling with outclassed opponents, he is quite sensitive in his scenes of courtship with Janet Leigh.

 

 

One of the things that I like about that closeup of Ferrer's face when he thinks that Granger is about to kill him is that there is no fear. He's exhausted and thinks that he's about to die and is surprised, even confounded, that Granger doesn't do so. Granger spares him in a manner that it is inconceivable he would do if positions were reversed. Nowhere in Ferrer's expression does he plead for mercy. Just as he had dispatched countless opponents in the past by foil, he is now prepared to pay the price.

 

 

The great villains in movies, I feel, are those that you can admire to some degree, even if you also despise them. Basil Rathbone also lost his duels to the heroes with style. And, like Ferrer, when the chips were down, he never asked for mercy.

 

scaramouche.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right. I am sure they are recycling some of the host comments. They are re-filming them, but they are using the old text on the TelePrompTer.

 

Someone mentioned the issue of time, because it's a 115 minute film. But they could easily allocate 2 hours and 15 minutes, instead of 2 hours to the showing of this title.

 

And actually, SCARAMOUCHE started one minute late last night, due to DVD ads. I noticed this, because on my cable guide it said the film was 118 minutes, and with the ads and host comments, I thought for sure it would exceed the two hour time slot. So after it started recording I went in and added an extra few minutes to the 'stop time' on my DVR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...and it's always a little head-scratching when TCM is showing a film as part of a salute to someone, and then in the in and/or outroes the host proceeds to talk extenseively about some other facet of the film (costar, director, studio etc.) rather than *the reason they're ostensiblly showing the thing in the first place.*

 

It's like: why bother?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely agree, Addison. I think it is disrespectful to the star that is to be spotlighted--disrespectul also to the stars' fans and living relatives. It seems like a case of TCM forgetting how it is selling the evening's slate of films; of Mr. Osborne forgetting why he wrote a monthly column in Now Playing profiling the Star of the Month, when he goes off on a tangent and talks about Lewis Stone or some trivial aspect of the film, instead of keeping the focus on Eleanor Parker.

 

I do not think TCM and Osborne are doing this deliberately, but in a way, it is a sloppy presentation of what they are supposed to be offering viewers during the given month (based on the way they are advertising and promoting the Star of the Month programming). It would be like Cher coming in to talk about women on film, then launching into juicy tidbits about her life with Sonny Bono. While that might be interesting and might get ratings, it is not why she is seated in the host's chair.

 

There are plenty of 'new' facts about Eleanor Parker that could be spoon-fed viewers instead of mentioning that Lewis Stone was in both versions. Again, save that for when Lewis Stone is the focal point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel kind of bad about this. It was I who originally de-railed the thread by complaining about Robert Osborne's unsatisfying "outro" to *Scaramouche*, and now we can't seem to get back to the garden. I mean, *Scaramouche.*

True, I do have criticisms of Robert Osborne's "wraparounds", but as Tom said, that should be reserved perhaps for a thread dedicated to that topic.

Dotherty, as the original poster, you may be feeling disappointed. Sorry.

 

I am not "reprimanding" the others here -besides myself - who have taken the thread in that direction (host's comments don't deliver), just saying that maybe we should stick to discussion of the movie. Maybe I'll start a thread about the other matter, or someone else can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us