19 user 7 critic

The Prince and the Pauper (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Family | 8 May 1937 (USA)
3:58 | Trailer

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Two look-alike boys, one a poor street kid and the other a prince, exchange places to see what the other's life is like.


, (uncredited)


(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Canty (as The Mauch Twins)
Robert J. Mauch ...
Prince Edward (as The Mauch Twins)
Lionel Pape ...
Second Lord
Leonard Willey ...
Murray Kinnell ...
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Ivan F. Simpson ...
Clemens (as Ivan Simpson)


On the same day two boys are born: the pauper Tom and prince Edward. As a kid, Tom sneaks into the palace garden and meets the prince. They change clothes with each other but the guards discover them and throw out the prince, since they are almost identical. Nobody believe them when they try to tell the truth. Soon after, the old king dies and the prince will inherit the throne. The evil earl of Hertford attempts to murder the prince to gain power for himself. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Mark Twain's Immortal Classic !


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Release Date:

8 May 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El príncipe y el mendigo  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


MGM bought the rights to Mark Twain's novel in 1935 for $100,000, but never filmed the story. Eventually, Warner Bros. secured the rights. See more »


The coat of arms that appears at the title sequence shows two dragons holding the shield. It should instead be the lion of England at the dexter side, and the Dragon of Wales at the sinister. See more »


[Miles has taken the Prince to his home for the night]
Prince Edward Tudor: I'm hungry. What have you to tempt my appetite?
Miles Hendon: Well, now, that depends on what didn't tempt the mices.
Prince Edward Tudor: Mice?
Miles Hendon: Oh, yes. I had to fatten them all up. You see the, uh, cat threatened to leave.
Prince Edward Tudor: You're making a joke.
Miles Hendon: The humor of being short of rations, my small friend, has always escaped me.
Prince Edward Tudor: Then you're poor?
Miles Hendon: Would you believe it? I am.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is not a history, but a tale of once upon a time. It may have happened. It may not have happened. But it could have happened. See more »


The Roost Song
Written by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and M.K. Jerome
See more »

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User Reviews

It's Awful in Offal Court
13 February 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The reign of Edward VI of England would be little remembered if it not were for the writing of this story by an American of all people, Mark Twain. In point of fact Edward Tudor ascended the English throne in 1547, the son of Henry VIII and died six years later, not even reaching his maturity. His reign, such as it was, was marked by a struggle for power by several factions of nobles. That story can be seen in the films Young Bess and also in Lady Jane. There was no happily ever after endings for young Tudor.

At first glance it wouldn't seem possible that Samuel Langhorne Clemens of Hannibal, Missouri could write a classic tale about medieval England. But thinking about it, is the poverty and young Tom Canty's dealing with it in Offal Court all that different from Huckleberry Finn? Is his father, a coarse and brutal man beautifully played by Barton MacLane, all that different from Huck Finn's pap?

Twain knew his characters well and it he had any trouble with getting the idiom just right he need only have looked to Charles Dickens who was writing about just such people a generation before.

The story is simply that Tom Canty, a beggar boy from Offal Court in London gets into the palace of the king and meets up with young Prince Edward. They look alike enough to be twins and in fact they are played by twin brothers Billy and Bobby Mauch. They exchange places and the switch works only too well.

Top billed in the film is Errol Flynn who plays the fictional Miles Hendon, soldier of fortune just returned from the continent. Flynn was the biggest name in the cast, but the film is half over before he makes his appearance. In point of fact, he's really in support of the Mauch twins. It's Flynn's third appearance with sword in hand for Warner Brothers after Captain Blood and Charge of the Light Brigade.

This film also marks Flynn's first film with Alan Hale who appeared in eleven films with Errol. A film wasn't official at Warner Brothers unless either Alan Hale or Frank McHugh was in it. Jack Warner kept both those guys real busy.

Also in the film are Henry Stephenson and Claude Rains who play competing nobles vying to be top man in their minority monarch's reign. As I said unfortunately that marked Edward VI's entire time on England's throne.

But we have Mark Twain in his classic story and the brothers Warner to thank for bringing Edward VI's story to life for generations to come. I wonder if during his short life, young Edward might really have wished to escape what he had, even if it meant a place like Offal Court.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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