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Scaramouche (1952)

Director: George Sidney
Cast: Stewart Granger, Janet Leigh, Eleanor Parker, Mel Ferrer
MGM studio
Technicolor 115 minutes

Scaramouche isn't a foreign film, though it's set during the French Revolution. It isn't a swashbuckling matinee movie, even though it has one of the most elaborate fencing scenes ever done. It's not a comedy and not a musical, though there's humorous moments and the costumes are elaborate.

What Scaramouch is... it's a well done, sophisticated telling of a 1921 novel about nobility and revenge during the French Revolution. The film contains elements of intrigue, heroism, romance, danger
and action. All the things you might find in a 'sword and costume' movie. But look deeper and you'll see strong acting, with an intelligent story and high production values.

If you've never see Stewart Granger in a film, he's excellent in his role as a man who must disguise himself from the authorities with a clown's mask, a scaramouche. His adversary
Mel Ferrer, is a powerful, ruthless nobleman who takes great pleasure in sword duels, as he is undefeated. Both men give their all to their performances and studied vigorously for the fencing scenes which adds to the believablity of the duels.

Elanor Parker is looking lovely in this film, but the main draw is her superb acting. Three times in her life she was nominated by the Oscars for Best Actress. In this film she plays a fiery stage performer and plays it with gusto.

Equally lovely is a young Janet Leigh, who plays a
ingénue in Marie Antoinette's court. She has the misfortune of being pursued by both Granger and Ferrer. This is one of her first films where she had a substantial part. Fans of Miss Leigh will not be disappointed.

The care that went into making Scaramouche shows in the decadently amazing costumes and sets...and with the beautiful technicolor print, each scene is a visual feast for the eyes.