Anthony Andrews in the 1980s

This past month I’ve been pretty obsessed with Anthony Andrews again (ever since I dug up the memory of liking him in an addendum to the fictional crush challenge I did). The resolution to read more books went out the window and I’ve been searching and finding a lot of the man’s work and have been watching that instead. I already blogged about Brideshead Revisited but there is so much more! Yes, I have been binging all things Anthony Andrews these past few weeks.

First off, The Scarlet Pimpernel from 1982, one of Anthony Andrews’ greatest successes. Perfect light fare and Anthony was so good in it! The rich, aristocrat fop, obsessed with fashion and the right cravat on the surface…

… and then in secret he is this swashbuckling hero saving French aristocrats from the guillotine.

He falls deeply in love with Marguerite (played by Jane Seymour) at first sight…

… he even smuggles someone out of Paris with his team while simultaneouly courting her…

… but after he marries her, he thinks she has sent people to the guillotine herself. The heartbreak in his eyes and his stoney-faced but tortured expression as he loves his wife but is not able to trust her, elevates his performance into something else…

I also love the interaction with his enemy Chauvellin, brilliantly portrayed by a young Ian McKellan…

It really looks like those two were having a blast playing off each other. I happened upon a picture of the two actors in later years and in that picture they still look pleased to be in each other’s company.

In the end, Marguerite is found to be worthy after all and becomes an ally and all ends well.

This isn’t too deep but it is so much fun with the right amount of humour, adventure, rivalry and heartbreak. The way the man goes from foppishness to seriousness in seconds, and vice versa, is just fascinating to watch. I keep going back to it, a perfect pick me up TV film. It’s up on YouTube in decent quality should you be curious. Sink me (as Sir Percy would say), I am enchanted!

Speaking of Jane Seymour, he did another TV film with her I also remember seeing back in the 1980s called The Woman He Loved. It’s about Edward the VIII abdicating the English throne because he loved divorcee Wallis Simpson.

On seeing it again, I liked it less than I remember liking it then (Seymour’s US Southern accent feels very weird to me) but Andrews did a very creditable portrayal, I felt, and I think it was a bit of a hit at the time as well.

Anthony and Jane met up again in 2018 according to her Facebook, with these delightful pictures, one of them featuring Anthony’s wife as well. Anthony got married young to Georgina, by the way, at age 23 back in 1971, and they seem happy to this day. I love long happy marriages like that.

The 1980s were really the Anthony Andrews heyday. Between Brideshead and Pimpernel he did a few The Love Boat episodes. I saw them back in the 1980s as well and they were gratingly cheesy to me even back then (and so silly with how quickly Tony and Julie fell in love!) but nonetheless, I found Anthony absolutely charming (especially in that first episode) as the vet who falls in love with the cruise director and almost marries her…

Anthony also played Ivanhoe in a TV movie at the beginning of the 80s. That one I had never seen until recently. While Anthony is absolutely gorgeous in it (and apparently did most of the riding himself in that – he’s a keen rider and within the UK ‘horse circuit’ he is friends with Princess Anne who is also godmother to his daughter), I found the film quite terrible, starting with the concept that Jews belong to a “race”…

I don’t think I’ll ever watch that movie again, but oh, his kind, brown eyes!

After Pimpernel he did a crime thing for US television called Sparkling Cyanide with Deborah Raffin adapted from Agatha Christie, which I also remember watching at the time. Again, I liked Andrews in what was an alright watch.

Another film I remember watching was Under the Volcano which he did in 1984 with Albert Finney and Jacqueline Bisset. Now, that was much better material and he did really well in that, I loved him in it! Albert Finney was (rightly so) nominated for an Oscar for this film. Even watching it again now (available on YouTube), I still find it a good movie albeit a very depressing watch. I wouldn’t mind riding off into the sunset with tortured Hugh Firmin, even though this was totally not that kind of movie…

I lately watched him in The Second Victory from 1987 for the first time (obscure film, also up on YouTube) as an English major coming to an Austrian mountain town just after World War II, trying to keep order. The obligatory love story line wasn’t great, but Andrews was pretty good as the conflicted and tortured major.

1987’s The Lighthorsemen also rang a bell when I saw the title and on watching that again (yep, YouTube) I remembered I had seen that too. Set during the First World War in Palestine, he plays the supporting role of Major Meinertzhagen, a man of charm and hidden depth doing secret service work. I really liked Anthony in that as well. Apparently the real Meinertzhagen was nowhere near as dashing as the fictional one, but I really like the fictional one. Again, it’s all in the eyes…

I also watched his scenes in Hanna’s War, as a training officer, which were alright. He didn’t have much good material to deal with in that. I didn’t bother watching the whole movie as he died pretty quickly in it. I vaguely remember the movie from back then and I just couldn’t deal with WWII torture sessions. So, not a movie I’ll return to either.

And I watched a remake of the Hitchcock movie Suspicion (originally with Cary Grant) that I also hadn’t seen since the 80s or possibly 90s (I think I used to have it on videotape). The movie was never, by far, as good as the Hitchcock version but it was passable (even though here too the falling in love was really quick). Jane Curtin wasn’t too great and Anthony wasn’t as mysterious as Cary Grant had been, but again, he had charm. And the sad brown eyes at the end… yeah, by now I know I’m a sucker for those, just as I am for that scar on the left side of his upper lip.

Just the other day I watched the Hallmark TV miniseries Bluegrass from 1988 that he’s in (again, on YouTube), about a Kentucky lady (Cheryl Ladd) trying to get into the horse racing industry. I admit to not having so much patience anymore for Hallmark films in recent months (I may have overdosed in the past), so I only skipped to the Anthony Andrews bits. Again, charming and lovely, but he is a bit of a douche in this one. I can see why he, as a horse lover, wanted to do this but again, a bit of a mediocre project…

He played Jekyll and Hyde in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a 1989 TV special (bad quality on YouTube , episode only lasts an hour and then goes into repeat to make the video longer). It was a pity I could only find it on YouTube, as from what I could see Anthony was very cute as Dr. Jekyll, with that hair and those round glasses, but alas the image was never sharp enough to ogle properly. It also has Laura Dern in it, who’s pretty good. I don’t really like that story very much but from what I could tell, Anthony did a creditable job with what he had. He’s quite good at going insane.

The best thing Anthony Andrews did at the end of the 1980s was play the murderer in an episode of Columbo called Columbo Goes to the Guillotine. I saw that in the 80s too, and recently again, and it still holds up! That’s also due to me loving Columbo anyhow (brought to life so wonderfully by the great Peter Falk), I think he was my fave TV detective ever. So, it was extra lovely seeing Anthony do this and do it well.

I guess that brings this post full circle, from guillotine during the French Revolution to a guillotine in the USA in 1989… Bottom line is that I always like Anthony Andrews, he did a few really good things, but equally a lot of the stuff he’s been in is just so-so.

I’ve been doing so much more Andrews research, but this post is too long already, so I’d better just stick to the 1980s Andrews for now. I’ve been compiling pictures for this all day, so time to end it and maybe post more at another time, in another Anthony Andrews post.

6 thoughts on “Anthony Andrews in the 1980s

  1. Servetus

    Wow, you really have been at it. (When I read your earlier post I ordered Brideshead Revisited from the library for a reread; I managed to read a second book this week and I really want to continue the trend.) I remember Pimpernel very vaguely from the early 80s. I was always happy to see Jane Seymour, wherever she appeared.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Esther I was so happy that Julie finally found her Prince Charming in Tony on The Love Boat!
    Columbo too was a fav in my family!
    Nice rabbit hole to fall in 😘❤️👍👍👍


    1. It really is but alas I’m reaching the end of the tunnel soon.
      Did you ever see the episodes in Australia when Julie was supposed to get married? In the end, she didn’t get her prince…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I did see it and yeah she didn’t 😥
        I think it’s very lovely that you have been revisiting AA and the 1980s !!👏👏👏
        Jane Seymour looked ravishing!
        I never did see Dr Quinn Medicine Woman

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Meet cute Monday #14 – The Book of Esther

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