Anthony Hope's classic tale gets a decidedly 'un-classic' treatment at the hands of Peter Sellers. Following the story somewhat, friends of the new King Rudolph of Ruritania fear for his ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
Rupert of Hentzau:
Why don't you let me kill you quietly?
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?
Oh, chiefly not throwing knives at other people's backs.
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Colman & Fairbanks Jr. Shine in Classic Adventure Film
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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