History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

09 February 2011

Valentine's Day Viewing

Saturday night I re-watched the 1982 Anthony Andrews/Jane Seymour Scarlet Pimpernel. I was hoping Percy’s league would help me make sure the band of aides-de-camp in my Waterloo book are properly differentiated (which it did). I love the banter among Percy, Tony, Andrew, and Timothy Hastings. It has a tone I’d love to capture in some scenes in my book. Even though I practically know the dialogue to the film by heart (I actually had a tape recording of it before I saw it, because when it first aired I was at a rehearsal, and my family didn’t have a VCR yet, so my mom tape recorded it), the magic still works.

I was also reminded what a wonderfully romantic movie it is, with scenes such as the heart-melting scene where Marguerite visits Percy in prison (which is actually based on a scene in Eldorado, one of the Scarlet Pimpernel sequels; the 1982 film is based on both The Scarlet Pimpernel and Eldorado). One of the scenes in my April release, Vienna Waltz, is an homage to that scene. Interestingly, when I recently blogged about the film on my own website, not all the commenters found the movie convincing as a love story. Which shows, I think, how much romantic chemistry in a story is in the eye of the viewer/reader.

But at least in my mind, The Scarlet Pimpernel would make great Valentine's Day viewing. Which prompted me to think of other movies and tv series that seem particularly appropriate to Valentine's Day. Here, in no particular order, is my list of Valentine's Day viewing, all historical in keeping with History Hoydens:

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982 and also 1934 with Leslie Howard & Merle Oberon)
Pride and Prejudice (1940 and also 1995 and 2005)
Sense and Sensibility (1995 - to me that version is about as perfect as an adaptation gets)
Shakespeare in Love
North & South
An Ideal Husband
Much Ado About Nothing

What are your recommendations for historical Valentine's Day viewing?

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Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Now I want to go back and watch this version of Scarlet Pimpernel. I wasn't fond of the Richard Grant TV movies from the 1990's. It would have to be Ang Lee's Sense & Sensibility, Shakespeare in Love, and A Room with a View, starring Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter. Any version of Jane Eyre but I really like the Timothy Dalton miniseries as well as the most recent with Toby Stephens.

8:25 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

The Scarlet Pimpernel (except I like the Richard E. Grant version)

Pride and Prejudice (Except I like the David Rintoul version)

Sense and Sensibility (yes, the 95 is the best)

Impromptu (fav film of all time!!!)

An Ideal Husband

Queen Margo (even with its sad ending)

Wives and Daughters (prefer it to North & South)

St. Ives ("Drink me, quaff me, drain me to the dregs!" best line ever)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Elizabeth, "A Room with a View" is so lovely and perfect for Valentine's Day. I loved both those Jane Eyres as well!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Isobel, I liked a lot of things about the Richard E. Grant/Elizabeth McGovern TSP series, except each episode seemed a bit too truncated--I wish they could have expanded them. I haven't seen Queen Margo since I saw it in the theater when it was first released, but I really enjoyed it (definitely a sad ending however). What's St. Ives?

11:04 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

St. Ives is based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. The cast is just wonderful. From IMDB:

In 1813, Capitaine Jacques St. Ives [Jean-Marc Barr], a Hussar in the Napoleonic wars, is captured and sent to a Scottish prison camp. He's a swashbuckler, so the prison's commander, Major Farquar Bolingbroke Chevening [Richard E. Grant], asks for lessons in communicating with women. Both men have their eyes on the lovely Flora [Anna Friel], who resides with her aunt, the iconoclastic and well-traveled Miss Susan Emily Gilcrist [Miranda Richardson, she who delivers my favorite line]. By chance, living close to the camp is Jacques's grandfather and brother [Jason Isaacs], whom Jacques believes died years before. Jacques decides to escape, find his relatives, and win the hand of Flora; Major Chevening and an unforeseen enemy stand in his way. Can Miss Gilcrist contrive to make everything work out?

I own it on DVD if you want to borrow it.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

It sounds wonderful! I'd love to borrow it! (Good excuse for another lunch :-).

3:39 PM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Impromptu is definitely a favorite of mine. Might have to watch it again tonight!

The 2005 Pride and Prejudice

Sense and Sensibility - the 1995 version

Jane Eyre (definitely the Timothy Dalton miniseries)

North and South

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

Camille (1936) Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor

Sommersby (1993 I think) Richard Gere and Jodie Foster

5:26 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Camille is a wonderful movie, Louisa! It was one of my mom's favorites. Oddly, I think her favorite scene was the one where Marguerite and the baron are at the piano, laughing, with poor Armand outside. And Marguerite says, seemingly jokingly, "It could be the love my life." So many layers to that scene!

12:46 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

Lunch and plotting for book three (which was due to my editor like yesterday if you know what I mean).

12:14 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Sounds good! (Always so fun plotting someone else' book :-). Email me, and we'll figure out a time!

8:36 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Les Enfants du Paradis


The Red Shoes


10:01 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...

Oh, and...

Funny Face

10:04 PM  
Blogger Pam Rosenthal said...



10:05 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Great suggestions, Pam! I particularly love "Notorious", which I've always thought one of Hitchcock's most romantic movies. "Secrets of a Lady"/"Daughter of the Game" is a sort of inversion of the plot. I actually threw a reference in with the scene where Raoul remember meeting Mel on a bench in a park in Lisbon.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

I should add, my all-time fav lineup for a lazy day:

Bringing Up Baby
The Philadelphia Story

8:50 AM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

I love all of those movies, Isobel! "The Philadelphia Story" is one of my all0-time favorites ever. I almost included it on my list, but I decided I'd stick to historical movies (that is, movies that were historical when they were made not that seem historical now :-).

10:53 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

OMG - I adore the 1982 Scarlet Pimpernel. It's on my top 10 favorite movie list and it has been since 1982.

Other Valentine's Day movies? Hmmm.....

4:16 PM  
Blogger Leslie Carroll said...

The version with Antony Andrews and Jane Seymour (with apologies to the divine Leslie Howard) is the definitive Scarlet Pimpernel screen adaptation in my book. Ohhhh, the costumes! And the chemistry between the two leads! And the screenplay is terrific. The Richard Grant one was painful, because Grant was homely and a milquetoast (esp. compared to Antony Andrews!!) and not for one moment did I believe that Elizabeth McGovern was, as the script says, the wittiest and most beautiful woman in Paris. Jane Seymour makes you believe it. She's the perfect coquette.

And yes, Holiday and The Philadelphia Story are such wonderful Valentine's Day romances; add to that Pat and Mike, Desk Set, An Affair to Remember, the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility, That Hamilton Woman, the Olivier/Garson Pride and Prejudice, and toss in the Antony Andrews BBC Ivanhoe as well.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

I so agree about the costumes, the chemistry, and the script in the 1982 Scarlet Pimpernel, Leslie. I love the way the script combines TSP with Eldorado.

Your Valentine's Day movie list includes so man other favorites of mine. "Sense and Sensibility" is so fabulous and one of my favorite movies---not sure I didn't include it on my original list, except perhaps that I think of it as being more focused on family than romance, though both the love stories are beautifully done. And "That Hamilton Woman" is intensely romantic.

4:15 PM  

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