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Friday, 6 July 2012

Scaramouche (1952)

Star Birthday... Janet Leigh

Star Birthday... Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh was born on 6 July 1927, and is the mother of actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

Janet's love for film began during her childhood. Her immigrant parents would take her to the movies and leave her there all day while they worked, as it was cheaper than a babysitter.  In 1945 she was discovered by actress Norma Shearer, who helped secure her a contract with MGM.

Janet enjoyed a prolific career saw her co-star opposite almost every many popular leading man including Van Johnson, Van Heflin, Anthony Perkins, James Stewart, Robert RyanTom Drake, John Wayne, Kirk DouglasErrol Flynn, Walter Pidgeon and Tony Curtis, who she would later marry.

Janet Leigh is most remembered for playing the ill-fated Marion Crane, murdered in the shower in Alfred Hitchcock's film, 'Psycho' (1960).

Janet Leigh died on 3 October 2004 after suffering a heart attack.

Recommended viewing

The famous image of Janet Leigh screaming in 'Psycho'

Scaramouche (1952)

Scaramouche is a 1952 romance adventure film directed by George Sidney and starring Stewart Granger, Eleanor ParkerJanet Leigh, Mel Ferrer, Richard AndersonNina Foch, Lewis Stone and John Litel.

The swashbuckler is based on the historical novel by Rafael Sabatini. The 8 minute sword-duel scene took 8 weeks of preparation, features 87 fencing passes and is the longest sword fight in film history.


Watch the trailer:



The plot

Janet Leigh as Aline
In France, just before the French Revolution, Queen Marie Antoinette (played by Foch) asks her cousin, Noel, the Marquis de Maynes to find and stop dangerous rebel known as Marcus Brutus. Meanwhile Andre Moreau (played by Granger), the bastard son of a French nobleman, prevents his beloved Lenore (played by Parker) from marrying another man, and agrees to marry her.

Andre soon meets Aline de Gavrillac de Bourbon (played by Leigh), and falls in love with her, but sadly determines she is his long-lost half sister. Aline does not know this.

Marquis tracks down Marcus Brutus, who happens to be Andre's best friend, Philippe de Valmorin (played by Anderson). After Philippe is killed, Andre vows to get revenge upon the villainous Marquis.

Stewart Granger disguised as Scaramouche holds
Eleanor Parker as Lenore
Shortly after Andre hides out in a commedia dell'arte performance troupe, where he disguises himself as the character Scaramouche.


Did you know...


  • Lewis Stone starred as the Marquis de Maynes in the 1923 film version of 'Scaramouche
  • The film was initially intended to be a MGM musical starring Gene Kelly as Andre Moreau with Ava Gardner as Lenore and Elizabeth Taylor as Aline
  • Other actors considered for the role of Andre Moreau include Fernando Lamas and Ricardo Montalban
  • Nina Foch wears the same dress Norma Shearer wore in the 1938 film Marie Antoinette
  • During filming, Mel Ferrer was almost crushed by a falling chandalier
  • By the time filming had finished Stewart Granger had a damaged shoulder, a wrenched knee and a injured back


Closing remarks

'Scaramouche' is a fantastic film. It is a film with universal appeal which entertains from start to finish. The film  jumps directly into the narrative, and features swashbuckling action scenes and random bursts of comedy.

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