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Dothery

SCARAMOUCHE

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If it is relevant to one's viewing experience of SCARAMOUCHE on TCM, then it should be mentioned in this thread. And I am sure Dothery, who created a general all-encompassing thread title, understands that.

 

Other posters have been mentioning Errol Flynn, and he is not in SCARAMOUCHE. So the thread has been veering off into swashbucklers in general. Though in this writer's opinion, it seems entirely fitting that Lewis Stone be discussed, even if only peripherally, since he actually does have a role in both MGM productions of this story.

 

Again, I agree that the wrap-arounds should focus more on the evening's themes. But remember that it is the film itself we care about. And it is the main attraction.

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Soooo, ya say wanna get back on topic here, MissW? Is THAT what's troubling you, Bunkie???

 

Alright then, how's THIS?!

 

Even though they leave us with the proverbial Hollywood happy ending in this baby, I wasn't quite satisfied with it because I thought it somehow felt too "tacked on" and somehow a bit illogical that Granger and Leigh would live "happily ever after" BEFORE the French would storm the Bastille and while Ferrer was still alive.

 

Especially after I've read in this thread that there was indeed an alternate ending showing Ferrer's death at the hands of a mob.

 

(...gotta admit though that the little exploding flower trick at the end was rather clever)

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So, back to *Scaramouche*.

 

Something I wanted to say about it:

It's got that theme, so beloved of "costumers" or "swashbucklers" or whatever you want to call them, of a hero - brave, clever, handsome - who takes on a disguise, sometimes as the opposite of what he's really like (eg, brave, clever, and handsome) for the purpose of achieving some goal, usually to right a wrong, or avenge a loved one, or simply to fight for "the people".

 

It can work either way: In the case of *Scaramouche*, the character of Andre (brave, clever, etc. etc.) disguises himself as a goofy foolish bumbling clown, all the better to deceive those who are seeking him .

By the way, the film never tells us what happens to the original "Scaramouche", the one who's disfigured and alcoholic (the one problem likely giving cause to the other.) Does he quit, does he willingly yield his prized role as chief clown in the troupe to Andre, mistakenly thinking that he owes Andre a favour? Something to do with Andre's resemblance to the fencing instructor? Oh well...

 

Anyway, you can have the gallant /disguised as fool, or the other way around. Usually it's the other way around, a brave clever handsome etc. hero assuming the role of fop, fool, or timid weakling, who disguises himself in some way -but always masked - to perform feats of daring and do-gooding.

Like "Zorro", or "The Scarlet Pimpernel", or even Superman (Clark Kent.) Even, maybe, Robin Hood, although he only wears a mask to archery tournaments.

 

I find it an interesting idea, and apparently filmmakers and storytellers do too; that of someone pretending to be less than they are in order to fight oppression and rescue innocent victims - or avenge murdered friends. Or whatever scenario is at hand.

 

 

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Dargo, yes ! I actually felt kind of worried for all the main characters in the film - except for Lenore, who looks like she'll be floating off into the sunset with Napoleon. And who is not an aristocrat, not even partial. Bit of a rough ride before the little emperor will take over, though.

 

But all the other characters, including Andre, are of "noble blood", and as such are doomed to have their heads separated from their necks in short order (a year or two? Not long, anyway...) I like to think that Noel saw the error of his ways, found some lovely young lady whom he liked as much as Janet Leigh, and the four of them- Andre, Aline, Count Noel, and whoever his new love might be (maybe someone from the acting troupe, although not Lenore) take a carriage ride (splitting the fare four ways) right out of France to safety. Maybe England, where they can regale their new Brit friends with harrowing tales of sword fights long ago.

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>Even though they leave us with the proverbial Hollywood happy ending in this baby, I wasn't quite satisfied with it because I thought it somehow felt too "tacked on" and somehow a bit illogical that Granger and Leigh would live "happily ever after" BEFORE the French would storm the Bastille and while Ferrer was still alive.

 

Well, it wasn't a documentary, it was a Hollywood movie, and Hollywood became famous for its happy endings. That's one reason why Hollywood movies were distributed with success all over the world. If you want an unhappy ending, see a French, German, or Italian film.

 

Typical family conversation in American homes in the old days:

 

"Hey, pop, let's all go to the movies!"

 

"Ok son, what would you like to see?"

 

"Oh, how about an Italian movie in which Anna Magnani gets machine-gunned to death by a bunch of nasty Nazis!"

 

"Ok, son, that sounds fine. I'll get sister and mother and we'll go to the local Art theater."

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Not a bad point there I suppose Fred, BUT as I said, it just didn't seem congruous with the rest of the film, THAT'S all!

 

(...and hey, as far as I know, all those Errol Flynn movies where he ultimately dispatches Basil Rathbone and thus tying up all the "loose ends" were made on the WB lot and in the San Fernando Valley TOO, weren't THEY?!..AND as far as I know THOSE two locations are or were considered part of the "Hollywood movie making biz", RIGHT???!!!)

 

Oh...just thought of another point here...and so, edit to follow...

 

And, because of this failure to "tie up this loose end", I also got the feeling that there was supposed to be a " "SCARAMOUCHE II" coming to a theater near you next year" as the final curtain came down on this one.

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Jun 18, 2013 2:18 PM

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Okay, okay...let me see if I have the situation down here.

 

For ONCE I decide to help a thread get BACK on track instead of sidetracking it with my brand of "humor", and yet NO one(other than Fred here, of course) has of yet felt compelled to reply to my rather keen observation that the end of this flick seems sorta "tacked on".

 

(...boy, I sure hope you folks realize that doing this just reinforces my tendencies to stay on the "lighter side" around here and continue to crack these very questionable little jokes o' mine!!!!

 

ROFL

 

;)

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> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}Okay, okay...let me see if I have the situation down here.

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> For ONCE I decide to help a thread get BACK on track instead of sidetracking it with my brand of "humor", and yet NO one(other than Fred here, of course) has of yet felt compelled to reply to my rather keen observation that the end of this flick seems sorta "tacked on"....

Humph, I was not aware that I was 'NO ONE". I responded to that post of yours' as soon as I saw it, it's immediately above the post in question.

I don't feel the ending was "tacked on", but anyway,maybe you could go back and read my post to find out how I answered yours'.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Jun 18, 2013 6:12 PM

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

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

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I think it's "Dothery" and she's a pretty cool chick, I don't think she minds.

 

ps- I am so turning in to Sprocket Man.

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Sorry (again ! ) Dothery ! I don't know why, I always thought it was "DotherTy". Some of the screen names here, I make up my own pronounciations for them. Although I shouldn't have had any trouble with yours'.

Actually, Addison's right, it looks to me like a variation on "Dorothy". You don't have a "Wizard of Oz" thing, do you, Dothery baby ?

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OOPS! Sorry MissW, I must have somehow either purposely or inadvertently ignored readin' your post down there.

 

(...but then again, YOU know how rude we Yanks can sometimes be compared to you overly polite Canucks!) ;) LOL

 

However, NOW that I've read it, I have to say I think you really didn't address my point, AND in fact almost made my point in regard to my thinking that the way the story ended, one might be expecting some kind of sequel, and to which you actually supply some sort of possible storylines.

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True, and I do that all the time, myself.

 

But, once again, and I hate to belabo(u)r the point here ;) , While the film in question here is a first rate production all around, I feel its minor failing might be the ending with that particular loose ending lying there at the end, as surely almost all the OTHER great Swashbucklers end in a tidy fashion.

 

And so, considering the genre here, it just seems a might, once again, "incongruous" to the norm.

 

(...notice I said "MINOR" failing above, as I quite liked this production overall)

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Dargo and MissW, I'm glad to see that you both brought this thread back to Dothery's topic.

 

"He was born with a gift for laughter, and a sense that the world was mad."

 

I love that line, the opening line, in fact, that Rafael Sabatini wrote for his novel, Scaramouche. Unfortunately, it's been too long since I read the book to recall the ending. Or, for that matter, how close this film version comes to the rest of the book.

 

As your contention, Dargo, that the film's ending has loose ends, I can't say that I found that to be the case. Perhaps it's because the film ends with a double laugh, the flowery bomb in the face and then a surprise appearance by a well known historical figure.

 

Stewart Granger will be going off with lovely ladylike Janet Leigh, while firebrand Eleanor Parker gets a firebrand of her own with the future Little Emperor. (And how pleased with himself little Nappy looked, too). That jokey ending was obviously a way of appeasing audiences so that they don;t feel too sorry for the very likable Parker, the implication being that she shall be in the money. If anyone has the most uncertain future, with the revolution brewing, it would be aristo Mel Ferrer. (But since Ferrer's life had been spared by Granger anyway, perhaps he's sort of on borrowed time).

 

Dargo, perhaps you wish there had been a Scaramouche 2 just because you enjoyed Scaramouche 1 so much. Well, then, perhaps you should be satisfied as who knows if the sequel would have turned out so well. Granger would, in fact, followup on Scaramouche with his Prisoner of Zenda remake, a film, memory tells me, that Granger very much wanted to do.

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I agree with you, Tom, I don't feel there were any "loose ends" to the film at all.

 

It is we, the audience, with our knowledge of the coming Revolution, that imposes any "loose ends"on the story.

Speaking of which (the French Revolution) , I'm afraid it would not be just Count Mel who would lose his head; the revolutionaries got a little carried away, and as I'm sure you all know, ended up executing just about anyone who had the remotest connection to the nobility, even if they were the third cousin once removed from some aristocrat's cook. ( Well, slight exaggeration.)

 

Janet Leigh's character was an aristocrat, and Andre was the son of one (albeit "illegitimate"). Neither of them would have gotten off the hook.

 

But, "on a pleasanter note", did no one have any comments about my post on the "Hero in Disguise" theme in swashbucklers?

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Well FIRST Tom, in response to this Sabnatini quote here...

 

>"He was born with a gift for laughter, and a sense that the world was mad."

 

People should know better than to trust a guy with an attitude like THAT, shouldn't they?!

 

(...I mean, I know I SURE wouldn't...ya see, I see a guy with one of those much too IRreverent mentalities every time I shave my face in the mirror, and I'm tellin' ya I wouldn''t trust THAT guy as far as I could THROW 'im...ah, but I digress)

 

And secondly...regarding Granger in "Zenda", I do like both(sound)versions of that movie, and think Granger handled it well enough...though of course Colman's take on it will always be the standard to which all those who would come later would be judged.

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That's right, MissW, I forgot that Andre Moreau was, indeed, related to aristocracy. All the more reason to be grateful, perhaps, that there was no sequel since it could have been messy for our hero. You may, in fact, if you care for silents, like to see the 1923 version of this tale, with Ramon Novarro as Moreau. It occasionally comes on TCM. That version does show surging angry mob scenes in anticipation of the Revolution, unlike the Granger version.

 

As for your "Heroes in Disguise" reference, yes, it's a theme that ran through some swashbucklers, starting off with Doug Fairbanks' Mark of Zorro in 1920, the great granddady sword wielder of them all. Later Andre Moreau would hide behind a clown's mask, the audience knowing all along that sooner or later the mask would fall at the right moment for a fiery climax of fencing (well, maybe not so fiery in the silent version but a corker when it was Stewart Granger).

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Dargo, I had a feeling that the Scaramouche line might appeal to you.

 

As for Granger's scene-by-scene remake of the Colman Zenda, it's okay but, as you say, the Colman version is the classic. (And the silent version with Lewis Stone in the king/commoner dual role and Ramon Novarro as Rupert of Hentzau is pretty darned good, too).

 

I just wish that good ol' Ronnie Colman hadn't looked quite so hopeless when he held a sword in his hand. Colman was a great looking guy, with that cultured voice that could make reading a telephone directory sound like pure poetry. But a swordsman he wasn't. Still, even though Granger was a superior athlete, Colman was the definitive Rudolph Rassendyll (so long as you don't mind watching a double when it comes to the physical swashbuckling).

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Yep, actually the sword-fighting scene in the Granger remake IS a little better than in the Colman version.

 

In fact, since the first time I saw that remake back in the late 60s, I've always thought it rivaled the best of 'em, though James Mason wasn't the most athletic soul himself.

 

(...and is it my faulty memory, or does that scene go on just a little longer than in the Colman/Doug Jr one?)

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}Now that the Sprockster is on hiatus, we DO need someone to step up.

Yes, but I don't think *I'm* that person.

 

I don't know the original aspect ratio of everything ever released by heart; hell, I don't even know what "aspect ratio" even is, and for the longest time, I thought it was Cashiers du Cinema . I thought there was one "G" in Gregg Toland and I thought Mary Astor died in 1964.

 

And I STILL get Van Heflin and Van Johnson mixed up.

 

No, I am not man enough to step in to the vacancy left by Herr Sprocket.

 

Is anyone?

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Well, Dargo, I think the Granger Zenda duel is hurt by James Mason and the obvious doubling for him, as well. Scaramouche is clearly the most satisfactory of Granger's costume films.

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Have to agree ya here, Tom. The swordplay last night would now supersede the Granger Zenda one on my list.

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> {quote:title=AddisonDeWitless wrote:}{quote}

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> ...And I STILL get Van Heflin and Van Johnson mixed up.

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Well, at least you don't get Van Heflin and Van Halen mixed up.

 

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Actually MissW, Addison once confessed to me that he DID in fact confuse THOSE two ALSO!

 

(...and I don't know why he "Jump"ed at the chance too tell me this, but I think he said that it was in the year "1984"!) ;)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Jun 18, 2013 6:24 PM

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