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General von Graum: Why do I talk to you? You are a dead man.
Smith: May a dead man say a few words to you for your enlightenment? You will never rule the world, because you are doomed. All of you who have demoralized and corrupted a nation are doomed. Tonight you will take the first step along a dark road from which there is no turning back. You will have to go on and on, from one madness to another, leaving behind you a wilderness of misery and hatred. And still you will have to go on, because you will find no horizon, and see no dawn, until at last you are lost and destroyed. You are doomed, captain of murderers. And one day, sooner or later, you will remember my words...
In 1939 the Nazis continue their program of internment and extermination of those who don't conform to their ideals. The days are dark, but rescue is at hand, in the unlikely form of a rather eccentric archaeology professor, Horatio Smith, and his band of loyal students.
Pimpernel Smith is a British 1941 anti-Nazi thriller, produced and directed by its star Leslie Howard, which updates his role in the 1934 film The Scarlet Pimpernel from Revolutionary France to pre-World War II Europe. The British Film Yearbook for 1945 described his work as "one of the most valuable facets of British propaganda". The film is also notable for helping to inspire Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg to mount his real-life rescue operation in Budapest that saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi concentration camps during the last months of World War II.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Prof. Horatio Smith.
- Adventure Archaeologist: Prof. Horatio Smith.
- Authors of Quote: Shakespeare, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Shakespeare was German. Only kidding he was actually the Earl of Oxford.
- Blackmail: 'The nice kind of blackmail.'
- Chaste Hero
- Cut Himself Shaving: Averted. Prof. Smith doesn't bother trying to explain the arm injury that reveals him to his students, saying only, "I wouldn't pay too much attention to newspaper reports, gentlemen."
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: The Prof smokes one.
- Dressing as the Enemy
- Eagle Land: Maxwell, an obvious embodiment of American stereotypes.
- Famous-Named Foreigner: Wagner and Marx.
- Guile Hero: Smith lives by his wits.
- La Résistance
- Leitmotif: Smith likes to whistle a tune called 'There is a Tavern in the Town'.
- Man in a Kilt: Jock MacIntyre
- Master of Disguise
- Nerd Glasses: Clarence, who gets no respect and suffers a bit of good natured ribbing from his friends about his stutter.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: All the actors playing German and Nazi soldiers sound as if they have just walked off the cast for Oliver Twist.
- Stealth Hi Bye: Prof. Smith has a talent for this. It's frequently mentioned and/or demonstrated, and it's also how Smith escapes across the border at the end of the film.
- Those Wacky Nazis
- The Wonka: Prof. Horatio Smith
- Villainous Glutton: von Graum has a penchant for chocolates.