The Scarlet Pimpernel 1919 Edition

First published in 1905,
this copy was printed in 1919.

Baroness Emmuska Orczy, born in Hungary, did not speak a word of English until the age of 16 when her family left Hungary and emigrated to England following a peasant uprising on her family's estate during the Industrial Revolution. She went on to write over 60 novels in English and created one of the most enduring English heroes in literature—The Scarlet Pimpernel.

She is also credited with creating the first armchair detective in The Old Man in the Corner and the first female detective in Lady Molly of Scotland Yard.
    On the right is the paperback version published by Airmont Publishing Co., Inc., in 1963. True confession: The copy to the right has been read so many times, all the pages are loose from the binding. It's just that compelling.
          The Scarlet Pimpernel 1963 paperback
The Scarlet Pimpernel 1934 Film
    The Scarlet Pimpernel has been made into film numerous times. Pictured to the left is the 1934 DVD version with Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey, and Nigel Bruce appearing as The Prince of Wales.

    The 1982 TV movie combines story lines from two of Orczy's books: The Scarlet Pimpernel and El Dorado. The movie stars Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Sir Ian McKellen as Chauvelin.
          The Scarlet Pimpernel 1982 TV Movie

    Orczy's autobiography, Links in the Chain of My Life, is a fascinating glimpse into the mind and life of this remarkable woman and author. If you love the scene of immigrants rejoicing in their safe arrival in England and the ballroom intrigue of Marguerite and Chauvelin, you'll love reading about the events in Orczy's life that were fodder for those episodes in the book. This book is out of print, but we were able to locate a copy of it to read through an interlibrary loan at our local university.

    Pimpernel Smith 1941

    Leslie Howard, who starred in the 1934 version, went on to make Pimpernel Smith (1941). Set during WWII, this updated Pimpernel story follows the adventures of a British anthropology professor and his students as they rescue the endangered intelligentsia of Hitler's Germany. As well as Howard, it stars Mary Morris and Francis L. Sullivan.

    After waiting for many years to see it, we finally saw a production of the The Scarlet Pimpernel musical. While the troupe did an admirable job with what they were given to do, and the costuming was quite stunning, we were sorely disappointed that the musical itself is a poor caricature of the original story. At FoliosNFlicks, we'd recommend passing on the musical and reading the book full of camaraderie, bravery and adventure, or watching any of the above listed film versions of the story.