Scaramouche (1952)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Stweart Granger, Mel Ferrer, Janet Leigh, Eleanor Parker
Extras: Featurette, Commercial, Trailer, Screen Swordfights Essay

At long last, Warner Home Video is finally rolling out some of their classic movies on DVD and ’Scaramouche’ is one of them. Starring Stewart Granger in the role of a rebellious avenger who is hiding his identity behind the mask of a clown, and a marvelously beautiful Janet Leigh, this film is a fun-filled, swashbuckling adventure for the whole family.

Warner Home Video is presenting ’Scaramouche’ in a widescreen presentation on this DVD in a fullframe transfer that restores the movie’s original aspect ratio. Sadly the print is in a fairly bad shape and the presentation is riddled with blemishes, scratches, mars and registration problems. In a number of shots the colors are not properly aligned, creating halos around the edges, and ever so often, colors are shifting in saturation. Too bad, really, that Warner did not take more effort to clean up this print. Colors are vibrant, though, and recreate that typical Technicolor-look of the era. Blacks are generally strong and shadows are good. The presentation has some edge-enhancement applied to it, resulting in an image that occasionally appears overly and unnaturally sharpened but overall speaking I still found the presentation enjoyable – though unremarkable.

The DVD features the movie’s original mono audio track in English, as well as a French dub. Both tracks have a noticeably limited frequency response, and though there are no major problems, occasional his and sibilance is evident. The narrow frequency response gives the track a harsh quality and the limited frequency response also adds to a presentation that is a noticeable dated.

You will find a short retrospective featurette on the DVD in which actor Mel Ferrer reminisces about the film. Also included is a one-minute animated commercial for the film that is very charming. A text supplement about some of the greatest sword fights on the silver screen is also included as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer and a cast & crew listing.

’Scaramouche’ is a wonderful film. With its rich decorations and set designs, the swashbuckling action and the ladies in distress, it is one of those movies of Hollywood’s heydays that you just have to love. While Warner could certainly have taken a bit better care of this film, the release is very enjoyable despite its limitations.