Granger plays Andre Moreau, a carefree rascal who is more interested in the pretty actress Lenore (Eleanor Parker) than in the soon-to-begin French Revolution. That changes when Andre’s closest friend Phillipe (Richard Anderson), a revolutionary activist, meets his demise in a duel with the Marquis de Maynes (Mel Ferrer). Andre vows revenge, but knows he is no match for de Maynes, the most renowned swordsman in France.
Now branded a revolutionary himself, Andre takes refuge in an acting troupe. He assumes the stage role of Scaramouche, a buffoon who wears a pink-cheeked mask. To his surprise, Lenore turns out to be the small troupe’s leading lady. Her anger with him over their hot-cold romance generates laughs on the stage and Scaramouche’s fame begins to grow—but Andre’s heart is still filled with vengeance. He secretly takes fencing lessons from de Mayne’s tutor in preparation for his eventual showdown with his enemy.
Eleanor Parker as the fiery red-headed Lenore. She and Granger have a natural chemistry that makes their scenes together sparkle.
The famous MGM production values are very much on display in Scaramouche. The colors are vivid, the costumes ornate, and the set design impeccable. You’ll swear that the thrilling climactic swordfight (possibly the longest in film history at 5:35 minutes…and my personal favorite) was filmed in a real Parisian theatre draped in gold, red, and white.
Stewart Granger followed Scaramouche with a colorful, though somewhat unnecessary, MGM remake of The Prisoner of Zenda (it may be the most faithful remake ever). I wouldn’t say Granger was a great actor, but he was an immensely likable and dependable star. And he was fortunate enough to find in Scaramouche the perfect role and in Eleanor Parker the perfect co-star. In a mad world, what more could an actor ask for?