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Awesome: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Baroness Orczy's novels

The Scarlet Pimpernel

  • Percy's meeting with Chauvelin in the Chat Gris. It takes a true Bad Ass to make a Pepper Sneeze prank look so... badass.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel's climactic Batman Gambit. No movie swashbuckling necessary!
  • Marguerite's midnight journey to the coast, where she stalks Chauvelin with ninja-like stealth, remaining completely unnoticed by all his patrols, and her energy never fails despite her exhaustion and days of being unable to sleep or eat properly. The girl really has spunk.
  • This is followed by Marguerite completely surprising the Manipulative Bastard Chauvelin who thinks he "knows human — female — nature" perfectly enough to predict her every move. You can almost hear her telling him "I love my husband more than I fear you."

The Elusive Pimpernel

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel switching the damning letter he's been blackmailed into writing with his trademark poem and sign. This is not only awesome because he snatches Chauvelin's apparently guaranteed victory right from his grasp but because he pulls off the plan by dousing the lights at just the right moment. So that's who Batman learned the trick from!

Eldorado

  • Jeanne Lange's performance when Héron comes to her apartment to arrest Armand. She's able to get rid of the former and save the latter!
  • Chauvelin's successful manipulation of Héron in Part III to get him to go along with his plans to dishonor his Arch-Enemy.
  • Sir Percy's letter to the friend who betrayed him is one of the most awesome What the Hell, Hero? moments ever.
  • Shortly after showing the Scarlet Pimpernel that his wife is their latest hostage, the narrator casually comments that Héron had an unfortunate accident as his prisoner bumped into him while getting in their carriage, leading to a pretty bad fall and a pretty serious head wound...
  • At the end, the Scarlet Pimpernel attacking Héron, knocking him out, and successfully impersonating him, allowing him to dispose of all the guards in various ways and simply drive his wife and brother-in-law to safety.
  • Sir Percy and Lady Blakeney both get one when the latter visits him in prison. When her husband passes out in her arms, Marguerite shields and defends him from his latest round of interrogators. When Sir Percy hears his wife being threatened, he snaps back to consciousness and attacks every guard within reach as if he hasn't been starved and sleep-deprived for 10 days. The Power of Love is Bad Ass, baby!

Sir Percy Hits Back

  • Sir Percy's Cruel Mercy speech to Chauvelin at the very end of the book.

Films

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934, Leslie Howard)

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982, Anthony Andrews)

  • At the start of the film, Percy rescues Armand from Saint Cyr's men by shoving one into the river. Then, when he has the other by swordpoint:
    T'would seem your friend is in distress. To the rescue. *pushes him into the water, then picks up the man's knife. Yours, I believe. tosses it aside.
  • Being the Scarlet Pimpernel, Percy is essentially a walking CMoA, but one that particularly stands out comes after Chauvelin has used Armand to lure Percy into a trap, hoping to prevent him escaping with the Dauphin. He now has a pair of soldiers holding each of them while he gloats:
    Chauvelin: Good day, Sir Percy. I realize that your nobless oblige would not permit you to abandon one of your men.
    Armand: I'm sorry, Percy.
    Percy: (gives Armand a significant look, then turns to Chauvelin) Sink me, if you aren't right, for a change. But then, two no-account fellows like us, in exchange for one royal prince, would seem to be a fair exchange, don't you think? Amazing, how a mere lad can slip through your fingers so easily. I'll wager there'll be the devil to pay when your Committee of National Security discovers that he left the country.
    Chauvelin: Oh, has he left the country? I was under the impression that there was some problem in getting away.
    Percy: No, no, no. It is done...like this.
    (Cue Percy and Armand punching the soldiers in the stomach and running away.)
  • Another one comes earlier, when Percy reveals to Armand who he is. Armand, up to this point, has thought that Percy is an empty-headed, foppish dandy, albeit one with anti-Revolution sympathies.
    Armand: I will warn the de Tournay family and help them flee, if necessary.
    Percy: Now look here, my dear fellow. I did not save your neck from those thugs of St. Cyr's merely to see you lose your head at the guillotine.
    Armand: My mind's quite made up, Percy. There's no use trying to stop me.
    Percy: I have no intention of stopping you. Do you suppose you could get into the Temple prison, and see the Count...tonight?
    Armand: I—I think so. And for what purpose?
    Percy: I...have a plan.
    Armand: You...have a plan? You, who are practically incapable of any thought entering into your head that is not...trivial...Oh, really, Percy, this is serious.
    Percy: (drops his fop voice) So am I. Deadly serious. We must rescue the de Tournay family, without risking you. You can be far more valuable to us if you keep in with Chauvelin, and continue to work for the Committee.
    Armand: Useful to us? What on earth are you talking about?
    Percy: You must swear, by all you hold sacred, that what you are about to hear you will not repeat to anyone.
    Armand: Well, I...
    Percy: Not even Marguerite.
    Armand: You must be quite mad!
    Percy: Do you swear?
    Armand: Very well.
    Percy: (shows Armand the seal on his ring) Do you recognize that seal?
    Armand: It looks like a flower of some sort.
    Percy: Correct. It is a scarlet pimpernel.
  • Of course, the best one of all is when Percy comes back from the "dead". The look on Chauvelin's face when he turns around and sees him standing there is absolutely priceless.
    Percy: My good fellow, I would never dream of depriving you of your moment of triumph. Alas, a moment was all I could spare.

Television

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999-2000, Richard E. Grant)

  • Percy has just managed to talk a young woman who is convinced that her foppish lover is the Pimpernel and that Percy is a cowardly traitor who has just betrayed him to the French (when in fact the French have arrested her lover partly due to her conviction that he is the Pimpernel) out of shooting him. The woman calls Percy a coward. Percy points out that he unflinchingly talked her down with a loaded gun pointed at him, hardly a cowardly action. The woman sneers that she's knows that Percy would not have allowed a loaded gun to be pointed at him, and that she's aware that it's empty. Percy's response is to calmly pick up the gun, point it at a nearby candle and pull the trigger, which settles the matter; much to the woman's shock, it turns out the gun was loaded.

SafeholdAwesome/LiteratureSecond Apocalypse
ScarfaceAwesome/FilmSchindler's List
ScandalAwesome/Live-Action TVScrubs

alternative title(s): The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982
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