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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,817 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 7 critic

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), 5 more credits »
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Title: The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

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

Complete credited cast:
...
Madeleine Carroll ...
...
...
...
...
...
Montagu Love ...
Detchard
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)
Francis Ford ...
(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 younger brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the cousin's 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

"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 17, 1946 with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

Colman's hairstyle changes during the scene on the terrace with Madeleine Carroll. In the brief dialogue with Aubrey Smith, his hair is longer and swept back. Presumably this part of the scene had to be re-shot a few weeks later. See more »

Quotes

King: Well, what are you doing here, cousin?
Rudolph Rassendyll: I must admit, Sire, that I may have been guilty of somewhat the same offense as our mutual ancestor.
King: Such as what?
Rudolph Rassendyll: Fishing in forbidden waters.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Prisoner of Swing (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op.314
(1866) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauß
Whistled by Wilhelm von Brincken
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lookalike Saves Kingdom in Classic!
14 November 2000 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

'The Prisoner of Zenda' is one of the most fondly-remembered films of the '30s, and for good reason. It offers Ronald Colman, one of Hollywood's most beloved British stars, in the dual role of Rudolf, crown prince of a small European kingdom, and Rudolf Rassendyll, his look-alike British cousin, end product of a brief affair of an ancestor (as the Englishman puts it, "Fishing in forbidden waters"); the radiant Madeleine Carroll, best-known as Robert Donat's leading lady in Hitchcock's classic 'The 39 Steps', as the royal betrothed, who falls in love with the pretender; Raymond Massey, Canadian star of H.G. Wells' SF masterpiece, 'Things to Come' (and, 3 years later, the quintessential Abraham Lincoln on stage and in film!), as Black Michael, Rudolf's scheming half-brother; and, best of all, a youthful Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., son of silent Hollywood's greatest swashbuckler (and a pretty fair swashbuckler, himself), as the suavely villainous ally of Michael.

The story is simple, and has been done many times before, but never with such elan; drugged monarch-to-be must be impersonated by look-alike for coronation, lest kingdom fall into hands of evil half-brother. In the hands of this PERFECT cast (with terrific support by C. Aubrey Smith, a young David Niven, and Mary Astor) the tale becomes a stylish tale of love, intrigue, and derring-do. High points include an astonishingly beautiful Royal Ball, where Colman and Carroll reveal their love; a very funny yet menacing meeting between Colman and Fairbanks, as they discuss the real King's potential fate; and best of all, a MAGNIFICENT climactic swordfight between the pair, as they lunge and parry furiously through the halls of a castle, while exchanging quips and one-liners.

This is swashbuckling at it's finest! If you are unfamiliar with Ronald Colman's work, you're in for a treat...Don't miss it!


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

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