Movie Vs Book: The Scarlet Pimpernel


For my very first “Movie Vs. Book” post, I decided to go with a classic. In most cases, I read the book before I see the movie. For some reason, I just can’t do it the other way around. It feels wrong to me. However, this movie came out when I was a kid. I grew up laughing at the amusing Sir Percy and his witty repertoire. I didn’t get around to actually reading the book until I was in my twenties. I was excited to read about the characters I’d grown up adoring. But the book, as well as the characters were quite different than I had anticipated.

The movie was more lighthearted and witty. The book also had some of those elements, but it was much darker as well. I’d say the book was definitely more realistic. The movie changed the plot drastically. I realize that the screenwriters would have to simplify things to fit it all in a two hour block, but they pretty much rewrote the story and kept the characters in it. Even some of the characters that were bad guys in the book were good guys in the movie. (Sorry, I don’t want to name names and give spoilers if you plan to read/watch.)

One thing that was consistent in both was the strong love and devotion that Percy had for Marguerite. The movie showed it well, but you really got to see how much he loved her in the book. In fact, the novel character of Sir Percy could be considered to have an obsession with her. In one scene, after Marguerite leaves, he kisses every step that she walked on. Some of those parts were a little cheesy for me, but I’m sure a lot of romantics out there would love to read this novel for that reason alone.

So we come down to the big question: What the movie better than the book? I think that depends. Like I said, I saw the movie first (repeatedly throughout my childhood!) and read the book much later. So the child in me would like to say that the movie was better. However, as an avid reader, I think the book was very well written and had great plot and intensity. With those thoughts in mind, my answer is no, the movie was not better then the book. However, I would also like to add that I don’t think the novel was better than the movie.

Both stories are enjoyable and entertain the audience wonderfully. I would recommend both reading and seeing the movie. My only piece of advice would be to have no expectations of either. Just keep in mind that while they have the same title and characters, they’re really not that comparable. Think of them as two distinct stories and I think you’ll enjoy both!