'Pimpernel' Smith (1941)

Passed   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller


'Pimpernel' Smith (1941) Poster

Professor Horatio Smith, while seeming very unassuming, rescues victims of Nazi persecution during World War II.


7.2/10
1,374

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Awards

1 win.

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


1 November 2004 | howard.schumann
8
| Great sense of style and screen presence
Returning to England before the war, Leslie Howard was a towering figure in the British government's anti-Nazi propaganda policy, making patriotic radio broadcasts and movies that lifted the spirits of the British people in the dark days of the war. One such film was Pimpernel Smith in which Howard plays Archeology Professor Horatio Smith who doubles as a British spy, undertaking to help refugees escape from the Gestapo. Based on the novel The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and modeled after the 1934 film of the same name, Pimpernel Smith is said to have influenced Raoul Wallenberg, known for his heroism in rescuing Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

In the film, Professor Smith takes six students with him on an archaeological dig in Germany, presumably to find out whether or not there was an early Aryan civilization in Germany. Smith tries to convince Gestapo leader General Von Graum (Francis L. Sullivan) that he is just a learned professor, reading from The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll and telling him his theory that William Shakespeare was really the Earl of Oxford. Imagine that! The Professor's wit and wisdom are no match for the humorless Nazis and they seem to fall for each of the professor's tricks. Unfortunately, the Nazis are depicted not as mass murderers but only as bumbling clowns who speak English as well as Winston Churchill.

When Smith is wounded, the students catch on to what he is up to and agree to help him in his attempts to secure the release of pianist Sidimir Koslowski (Peter Gawthorne). In his clandestine cat and mouse game, he meets Koslowski's daughter Ludmilla (Mary Morris) who is working for the Nazis in order to save her father and the two form a bond. Howard's role as Professor Smith is one of his most acclaimed in a career that included roles as Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind and Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel. He had a great sense of style and screen presence and his death in 1943 on what was most likely an intelligence gathering mission for the British left the film industry bereft of one of its brightest stars.

Critic Reviews


See Your Favorite '90s Stars, Then and Now

Travel back in time to check out the early roles of some of Hollywood's heavy hitters. Plus, see what some of your favorite stars of the '90s look like now.

See the full gallery

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com