22 thoughts on “TBT: Scaramouche (1952) Is Very Confused About the 18th Century

  1. Hi! I’m just saying number 9. light purple ball gown would be perfect in any modern Disney story remake! It would work the best, perhaps Aurora or Rapunzel :D

  2. Stewart Granger’s forte was his ironic wit, which played through Prisoner of Zenda as well as King Solomon’s Mines. His best comic turn was in North To Alaska, which also brought out John Wayne’s comedic side. Granger was masculine and overcame being somewhat of a pretty boy by his wit. No idea offhand what the ladies though of him in his heyday, but he had a pretty good run. Also swashing his buckler in Swordsman of Siena. How he survived the padded shoulders in Scaramouche, I don’t know. I was wildly in love with his wife at the time, Jeanne Simmons, having first seen them together in Young Bess. (With Joan Collins, another love of mine, playing Lady Throckmorton.)

    1. You just said everything I wanted to say about Granger. I worship him in Prisoner of Zenda: the kind of role he was born to play. Soppy romantic lead really wasn’t his forte.

  3. Great review as usual; a few nit-picks:

    “Aline looks like she has white hair (maybe everyone gets REALLY SCARED in the 18th century?)…”

    And “whiter-than-white” platinum blonde hair was REALLY BIG in the 1950s.

    “…he is clearly wearing some kind of athletic cup/padding because there is no package in there…”

    Granger would have MORE of a package if he was wearing an athletic cup or padding. He just wouldn’t have a “moose knuckle” showing.

    What he’s wearing is a “dancer’s belt,” which acts as kind of a “crotch girdle” to keep all your man junk packed down so you don’t hurt yourself (or distract your audience).

    “…long, red, perfectly waved hair. Lana Turner, yes.”

    Turner? Not Rita Hayworth, whose trademark (for most of her career) that look was?

    (Except for “The Lady from Shanghai,” where Welles gave her a short, platinum blonde makeover ala Lana Turner.)

    “Blue eyeshadow did not exist in the 18th century… SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. Neither did cat’s eye liner or thick fake eyelashes, but COULD THEY SMEAR THE EYESHADOW ANY HIGHER??!!”

    True, but can’t you cut ’em some slack for the character being an actress in stage makeup?

    Parker doesn’t appear to be made up that way in other shots, nor does Leigh.

    1. – “Dancer’s belt” so much more attractive than “crotch girdle”! ;)
      – Lana Turner — DAMMIT I MEANT VERONICA LAKE. Razzrrzz. Yes, Rita Hayworth too.
      – Blue eyeshadow — I cut no slack when it comes to comic effect!

  4. I just read “As You Wish,” Cary Elwes’ memoir of making The Princess Bride. They specifically mention watching the duel in Scaramouche (among other movies) while prepping for “The Greatest Swordfight in Modern Times” and deliberately tried to outdo Scaramouche in memorable-ness, although not length.

  5. This is too funny. Thanks for the heads up about this movie — and now I will never be able to watch any mid-century historical movie without analyzing all the costumes!

  6. I so don’t get him, sorry. I’m not saying he’s not a decent actor, or he can’t rock the yoga pants. But a hottie? Nope.

    Sorry honey, I cannot agree with you on that score.

    Why would anyone look at the 1952 Zenda when the 1937 Zenda is so perfect?

    It is? Hmmm. The only advantage I can give the 1952 movie is that it is in color.

  7. Kendra! You NEED to review Mozart’s Sister 2011!! As a part of the Quest! Please!!
    Thank you so much!
    Hehe I love how there’s someone out there who loves the 18th century way more than I do, I was beginning to feel so misunderstood!
    And now I feel entirely understood.
    I’m sick of getting those weird looks from friends and relatives who don’t understand the awesomeness of those panniers and wigs!!!

  8. I don’t know why bit Stewart Granger reminds me of Bruce Campbell and I’m just expecting him to grab an arm-electric saw at any moment. XD

  9. A bit late for this, but — a note about packaging and tights. I did a few dance classes in acting school where we were required to wear tights. In order to keep the private bits out of the way of moving legs, men were required to wear a “dance belt,” a device obviously invented by Torquemada . It’s rather like an athletic supporter except for the fact that there’s no pouch, just a flat front under which everything is lifted upwards. It’s not comfortable, but it beats scissoring one’s private parts in a ronde de jambe.
    Swashing a buckler: a buckler is a small round shield used in conjunction with any of several types of swords. The young bravos would form a group and walk through the streets raking their blades across the front of the shield, inviting other young fools to fight with them.

  10. The reason Stewart Granger reminds you of Bruce Campbell is their common Scottish heritage. Granger’s born name is James Stewart, which by the time he got into the biz was already taken. But yes, they do look alike. On the other hand, Campbell wouldn’t be caught dead in an 18th-century coat with shoulder pads.

  11. While I don’t disagree with comments about the costumes being a bit all over the place… I seriously dispute your statements about Granger- he was my ultimate ‘classic’ movie crush, & ‘Scaramouche’ is one of my favourite classic movies (along with ‘Diane’- I mean, it had a baby-faced Roger Moore! And at least, unlike ‘Reign’ [which I actually liked, as a show- NOT a historical piece, & our girl Adelaide was quite excellent, IMO- not that I’m biased toward a fellow Antipodean or anything], they pronounced Diane as the French ‘dee-ahn’, not the English ‘die-ann’ {I just about choked the first time I heard that}- Henri, rather than Henry & an Italian actress playing an Italian character- oh the shock! [they mangle the history with both, of course- because… “Historywood”, but- eh…]).
    I don’t know about Bruce Campbell (he’ll always be Autolycus to me!), but there was an actor in the series ‘JAG’; he played one of the main reporters, Stewart Dunstan – I had to do a double-take the first time I saw him, because I thought that Granger had time-travelled or something! I can’t think of the actor’s name, but the resemblance is more than uncanny- he could play Granger in a bio-pic or something & freak everyone out.

    I don’t know how accurate this is, & it was a while ago that I read it- I think the costume/ wig people might have been trying to recreate silk wigs, rather than simply screwing up the standard powdered horsehair ones everyone’s familiar with – I read in a passage somewhere, that Venice’s women were famed for their blonde beauty, & that courtesans or those with darker hair used various potions to bleach/ dye (there’s a scene in ‘A Destiny of her Own’/ ‘Dangerous Beauty’ showing Veronica in a straw hat*, with a hole in the crown; her hair’s pulled through & a white paste is brushed on it, I think- it’s been a while since I’ve seen it [I only have it on VHS, & have no VHS player anymore >:( ]), sit carefully in the sun in special hats* to sun-bleach, OR they could fake the ‘Venetian-look’, with wigs of white or yellow silk.
    Just a thought – feel free to tell me I’m wrong, or right! Oh, & sorry for the long post, lol!

  12. Elisabeth Risdon (sitting next to Lewis Stone in the picture you captioned) wasn’t a “random extra”, she had a fairly important small part in the film. Did you watch it?

  13. Last thoughts: the duel — one of the longest in the movies, largely marred by the fact that smallswords had a point, but no edge; they might be able to tear through canvas scenery, but cut through stage ropes — no way! Might even break the blade.

  14. Although I have long been a fan of “Scaramouche” – and Eleanor Parker’s performance, particularly – her performance costumes have always made me wince as they’re totally anachronistic! But Ms. Parker looks ravishing (despite the out-of-period hairstyle) and gives one of her most enjoyable performances – so different from the somber, heavy-breathing roles she often played. Also note the similarity between Lenore’s farewell speech to Andre in “Scaramouche” and the Baroness’s farewell speech to Georg in “The Sound of Music.” I’d guess that screenwriter Ernest Lehman had a look at “Scaramouche” and maybe conferred with Ms. Parker before he scripting the Baroness’ dialogue (so different from the character in the original stage musical).

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Frock Flicks

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading