5 November 2017 | weezeralfalfa
Zorro meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in Napoleon France
As reviewer Mario Grauci points out, the screenplay for this historical drama bears a striking resemblance to that of "The Scarlet Pimpernel", released in 1934,and 1982. The protagonist, ably played by Tony Curtis, does at times wear a purple mask, though through most of the film, he doesn't. Instead he plays his unmasked self, as Rene de Traviere, or an imposter of himself as The Purple Mask. In all of these guises, he is a legendary foe of the Napoleon-led republic, hoping to restore the monarchy 10 years after the height of the Reign of Terror. Napoleon's henchmen are still ferreting out nobilities of the old monarchy. The P.M. is part of a Parisian cell of anti-republicans. Another of them is Laurette de Latour, played by cute Collen Miller. She much admires the work of The Purple Mask, but doesn't realize until near the end that he is also Rene, with whom she has had an up and down relationship. (It's hard to believe that people familiar with both the Purple Mask and Rene don't readily recognize them as the same person, with just a minimal mask to fool them.
In the bargaining with Napoleon, at the end, these 2 are allowed to emigrate to England, though Rene doesn't promise he won't be back some day. They were saved from an imminent execution by a group of compatriots, who had entered the barracks housing the royal guards, at night, bound them, dressing themselves in their uniforms, and marching out as a unit when time for the executions. They brandished their rifles, taking the Minister of Police captive, as well as the famous swordsman: Brisquet, after he lost an impromptu rapier duel with Tony.
The entry of the compatriots into the dormitory involved descending from an entrance into the underground sewer system, and traversing it until they reached the exit under the guard house, which they were able to pry open. How did they know when they were at the sewer entrance under the barracks? Also, they might have been gassed by toxic sulfurous emissions.
This film was shot in Technicolor. However, the copy I saw at YouTube didn't have vibrant colors , like it should have had. This reduced my enjoyment of the film. The main reason for seeing this film is to experience the stars. They are at their peak of beauty. That's not to say the story isn't somewhat interesting. Tony, especially, made a good account of himself: in debonair looks, acting and speaking . His fencing looked quite professional: a good replacement for Errol Flynn. He makes money for the rebels, by kidnaping important people in the republic and ransoming them. He uses most of the money to buy the freedom of royalist rebels and fund other rebel activities