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

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Philip Sleeman ...
Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ...
Frau Holf - Cook
Florence Roberts ...
Duenna (scenes deleted)
...
Max - Butler
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
(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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. initially wanted the double role for himself and actually tested for it. He was devastated when it was awarded to Ronald Colman. Instead he was offered the part of "Rupert of Hentzau" and, according to David O. Selznick, "Nobody else stood a chance!" His father, Douglas Fairbanks convinced his son that it was a blessing in disguise, as it was the best part in the piece, and advised him on billing and costume. 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 Petticoat Junction: The Butler Did It (1965) 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

 
A Delightful Classic Adventure
14 May 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In the end of the Nineteenth Century, the Englishman Major Rudolf Rassendyll (Ronald Colman) travels to the Province of Zenda to spend a couple of days fishing at the Royal Game Preserve. He meets King Rudolf V (Ronald Colman), whose coronation will happen on the next day, riding with his loyal Colonel Zapt (C. Aubrey Smith) and Captain Fritz von Tarlenheim (David Niven) and they all become astonished with the resemblance of Rassendyll and Rudolf V. They conclude that they might be distant cousins and the King invites the newcomer to drink wine in his castle. King Rudolf is an alcoholic and drinks too much; however, he is drugged by his brother Michael (Raymond Massey) and Rudolf V is no able to participate at the ceremony of coronation. Colonel Zapt and Captain Fritz asks Rassendyll to impersonate Rudolf V, otherwise his greedy brother would take his place and be crowned king. Rassendyll accepts to participate in the fraud but when he meets King's Rudolf V fiancée, the Princess Flavia (Madeleine Carroll) of the Royal House Court of Strelsau, the immediately fall in love for each other.

Meanwhile, the evil and ambitious Rupert of Hentzau (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) abducts Rudolf V and brings him to the dungeons of his castle. However, Michael's mistress Antoinette de Mauban (Mary Astor) secretly summons Rassendyll to her Boulevard Elsberg and proposes to help him to rescue the King. In return, Michael would be exiled without any other additional punishment. Rassendyll accepts to risk his life trying to save Rudolf V, even knowing that his love with Princess Flavia would be affected by his action.

"The Prisoner of Zenda" is one of the most delightful classic adventures of cinema industry. The performances and the ironic and witty dialogs are awesome and unfortunately this type of film is innocent film that is hardly made by the studios. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "O Prisioneiro de Zenda" ("The Prisoner of Zenda")


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