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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 3 September 1937 (USA)
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(celebrated novel), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,701 ( 22,912)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Montagu Love ...
Philip Sleeman ...
Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ...
Frau Holf - Cook
Florence Roberts ...
Duenna (scenes deleted)
Torben Meyer ...
Max - Butler
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Byron ...
(scenes deleted)
...
(scenes deleted)
Margaret Tallichet ...
(scenes deleted)
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Storyline

This is a classic swashbuckler. Rudolph Rassendyll, Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king when his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his older half-brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the king's cousin and betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most thrilling swordfight ever filmed... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 5, 1939 with Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

The sword fight in the castle of Zenda between Coleman and one of the king's guards appears to be with rapiers, however when the fight is picked up again in the outside room the rapiers have become sabers - necessary in order to cut the rope of the drawbridge. See more »

Quotes

Rupert of Hentzau: Why don't you let me kill you quietly?
Rudolph Rassendyll: Oh, a little noise adds a touch of cheer. You notice I'm getting closer to the drawbridge rope?
Rupert of Hentzau: You're so fond of rope, it's a pity to finish you off with steel. What did they teach you on the playing fields of Eton? Puss in the corner?
Rudolph Rassendyll: Oh, chiefly not throwing knives at other people's backs.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Partners: The Prisoner of Fender (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail the Conquering Hero
(uncredited)
By George Frideric Handel
[Played at the "king's" entry into the cathedral]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Colman & Fairbanks Jr. Shine in Classic Adventure Film
10 April 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Traveling in a Middle European kingdom, an Englishman on a fishing vacation discovers to his astonishment that he is an identical look-alike for the country's king. When the dissipated monarch is unable to attend his own coronation, the Englishman is pressured to impersonate him temporarily. But when he falls in love with the new queen and the real king is kidnapped by an evil half-brother, the Englishman is swept into a world of intrigue & danger he scarcely knew existed. Can he rescue THE PRISONER OF ZENDA without losing his own life?

This is one of the great adventure films of the 1930's. Given lavish treatment by Selznick Studios, it is escapist cinema at its most enjoyable.

Silky-voiced Ronald Colman is perfectly cast as both the Englishman & the King. He was one of those rare, fortunate actors with great screen charisma - his every moment, every word, is interesting to the viewer. He almost meets his match, though, in Douglas Fairbanks Jr., here playing a charming & completely ruthless young villain. Their rapier fight stands out in a decade full of terrific swordplay.

The rest of the cast is equally impressive: lovely Madeleine Carroll, wicked Raymond Massey, frantic Mary Astor, stalwart David Niven and especially wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, a model of elderly devotion & courage.


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