Scaramouche will become public domain in the United States on January 1, 2019
André-Louis Moreau (Ramon Novarro) loves Aline de Kercadiou (Alice Terry), the niece of his godfather, Quintin de Kercadiou (Lloyd Ingraham), and she him. However Quintin would prefer she married the Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr (Lewis Stone), a middle-aged nobleman, rather than someone who does not even know who his parents are.
One day, expert swordsman de la Tour first toys with, then kills André’s friend Philippe de Vilmorin in a duel. André turns to the King’s Lieutenant for justice. However, when the official learns who the accused is, he immediately orders André’s arrest. André flees.
Meanwhile, France nears the brink of revolution. When one orator in favor of liberty and equality is shot down by a soldier, André fearlessly takes his place and remains undaunted when he is grazed by a bullet. When the dragoons are called out to disperse the mob, an admirer named Chapelier helps André escape.
He joins a wandering theatre troupe led by Challefau Binet (James A. Marcus). André writes better plays for them to perform, and they become very successful, eventually performing at a theatre in Paris. André becomes engaged to Binet’s daughter, Climène (Edith Allen).
Aline and de la Tour attend a performance of his latest work, however, and she and André spot each other. She goes to see him, but he does not wish to renew their relationship. De la Tour, despite loving Aline, cannot help trifling with Climène. By chance, Aline and Countess de Plougastel (Julia Swayne Gordon), with whom she is staying, see him in a carriage with Climène. Aline informs de la Tour she never wants to see him again. De la Tour blackmails the countess into helping him, reminding her of an incident in her past.
Meanwhile, in the National Assembly, the aristocrats, unable to effectively respond to the reform-minded delegates with words, resort to duels to eliminate their leading opponents. Chief among the duelists is de la Tour. In desperation, Danton and Chapelier recruit André to reply in kind. The Chevalier de Chabrillone (William Humphrey) is his first victim. Eventually, he gets what he wants: a duel with de la Tour. He disarms his foe, then allows him to pick up his sword. After André wounds the nobleman in his sword arm, de la Tour gives up.
When news reaches Paris that the Austrians and Prussians have invaded France in support of the beleaguered King Louis XVI, the French Revolution erupts. In the fighting, de la Tour is overwhelmed and left for dead. When he revives, he staggers to the residence of the countess. André heads there too, to rescue his love and his mother the countess (whose identity has been revealed to him by de Kercadiou), armed with a passport signed by Danton authorizing him to do anything he wants. When the two bitter enemies spot each other, de la Tour demands the passport. André refuses, whereupon de la Tour draws a pistol. The countess throws herself in front of de la Tour, then reveals that he is in fact André’s father. The two men have an initially uneasy reconciliation. When de la Tour starts to leave, André offers him his sword. Thus armed, de la Tour faces the rioters in the street and perishes.
André places the two women in a covered carriage. At the Paris gate, a man spots the aristocrats inside and demands they be handed over to the mob. Moreau pleads with them to let them go for his sake. The masses respond with extravagant sentimentality, and the trio are allowed to leave Paris.
Rex Ingram [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons