IMDb > The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
The Prisoner of Zenda
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   2,780 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 50% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Anthony Hope (celebrated novel)
John L. Balderston (screen play)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Prisoner of Zenda on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 September 1937 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
The most thrilling swordfight ever filmed... See more »
Plot:
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
(23 articles)
Enemy – The Review
 (From WeAreMovieGeeks.com. 20 March 2014, 2:17 PM, PDT)

Masquerade: U.S Blu-ray review
 (From 24FramesPerSecond. 22 February 2014, 2:23 AM, PST)

Sexy Garbo, Wrathful Censors, the End of Stardom, and Brutal Murder: Novarro
 (From Alt Film Guide. 8 August 2013, 9:19 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
You can't improve on perfection See more (41 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ronald Colman ... Major Rudolf Rassendyll / The Prisoner of Zenda
Madeleine Carroll ... Princess Flavia

C. Aubrey Smith ... Colonel Zapt

Raymond Massey ... Black Michael

Mary Astor ... Antoinette de Mauban

David Niven ... Fritz von Tarlenheim

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Rupert of Hentzau
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)
Wilhelm von Brincken ... Krafstein
Evelyn Beresford ... Lady Topham (uncredited)
Ricardo Lord Cezon ... Little Boy (uncredited)
Spencer Charters ... Railroad Porter (uncredited)
Sally Conlin ... (uncredited)
D'Arcy Corrigan ... Traveler (uncredited)
Bonnie Gaye Cowen ... (uncredited)
Alexander D'Arcy ... De Gautet (uncredited)
Billy Diamond ... (uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner ... Bersonin (uncredited)
Billy Finnegan ... (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Johann (uncredited)
Charles K. French ... Bishop (uncredited)
Otto Fries ... Luggage Officer (uncredited)
Lawrence Grant ... Marshal Strakencz (uncredited)
Charles Halton ... Passport Officer (uncredited)
Lillian Harmer ... Traveler (uncredited)

Darryl Hickman ... (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Emmett King ... Lord High Chamberlain (uncredited)
Howard Lang ... Josef (uncredited)
Ian Maclaren ... Cardinal (uncredited)
Marilyn Marlin ... (uncredited)
Dickie Meyers ... (uncredited)
June Parkes ... (uncredited)
Alexander Pollard ... Court Officer (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Traveler (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Man with Female Traveler (uncredited)
Al Shean ... Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
Leslie Sketchley ... Guard at Lodge (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... Guard at Lodge (uncredited)
Ben Webster ... Lord Topham (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
John Cromwell 
W.S. Van Dyke (reshoots) (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Anthony Hope (celebrated novel)

John L. Balderston (screen play)

Edward E. Rose (dramatization) (as Edward Rose)

Wells Root (adaptation)

Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue)

Ben Hecht  uncredited
Sidney Howard  uncredited

Produced by
David O. Selznick .... producer
 
Original Music by
Alfred Newman 
 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe (photography)
Bert Glennon (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
James E. Newcom (film editor)
 
Art Direction by
Lyle R. Wheeler  (as Lyle Wheeler)
 
Costume Design by
Ernest Dryden (costumes) (as Ernst Dryden)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fred Spencer .... assistant director (as Frederick A. Spencer)
George Cukor .... director: reshoots (uncredited)
W.S. Van Dyke .... director, fencing sequences (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Casey Roberts .... interior decoration
 
Sound Department
Oscar Lagerstrom .... recorder
 
Special Effects by
Jack Cosgrove .... special effects
John M. Nickolaus .... special effects (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Fred Cavens .... fencing stunts
Ralph Faulkner .... fencing double (uncredited)
Jean Heremans .... fencing master (uncredited)
Dick Simmons .... stunt double: Ronald Colman (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Hal C. Kern .... supervising film editor
 
Music Department
Hugo Friedhofer .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Ivar Enhörning .... technical advisor (as Colonel Ivar Enhorning)
Prince Sigvard Bernadotte .... technical advisor
William H. Wright .... assistant to producer
Russell Birdwell .... publicity chief (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
101 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1938) | USA:Approved (PCA #3356) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 20, 1949 with Ronald Colman reprising his film role.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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:
Black Michael:There may come a time, Hentzau, when your services no longer excuse your impertinance.See more »
Movie Connections:
Spoofed in Royal Flash (1975)See more »
Soundtrack:
Artist's Life, Op.316See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
32 out of 34 people found the following review useful.
You can't improve on perfection, 18 November 2005
Author: kiroman101 from United States

Ronald Colman shines in the dual role of the dissipated Crown Prince Rudolph and the "simple Englishman", Rudolph Rassendyl. The crown prince's predilection for the bottle recalls Colman's earlier portrayal of the dark side of Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. In contrast, Rassendyll's reluctant gallantry and abiding integrity and honor epitomize the qualities for which matinée idol Colman had become known during his famous film career.

His scenes with the incandescent Madeleine Carroll are especially felicitous, both visually and aurally. The poignant, penultimate scene of the film left this reviewer with a wistful sense of regret that The Prisoner of Zenda was to be their only cinematic collaboration.

Raymond Massey was never better as the ambitious Duke Michael. The expressionistic qualities of his facial contortions make his lines almost superfluous.

The rakish Count Rupert, played by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., represents the archetypal rogue. His perennial smile, abiding charm, and sardonic wit make him a curious composite of Don Juan and Mephistopheles. Like Massey, I have never seen the underrated son of the silent screen's most dashing hero in better form.

The film's remaining actors acquit themselves more than adequately. Mary Astor is the lovely Antoinette, Duke Michael's devoted, yet unfairly, neglected paramour. Her consistently dark raiment and shadowy movements are perhaps reflective of her lover's illegitimate origins, while at the same time belying her kind heart. Visually this is contrasted with the always radiant Princess Flavia.

The two royal bodyguards, Colonel Zapt and Captain von Tarlenheim, are a case study, to my mind, as to why films like The Prisoner of Zenda are consistently superior to today's mediocre fare. Although relatively lesser roles, they are capable of, and on more than one occasion, do dominate a given scene; moreover, in their own way they are as fully developed as any of the principals. The abiding sense of honor and loyalty expressed by C. Aubrey Smith's Colonel Zapt is so profoundly felt and reflective of a long-vanished ethos, that one laughs to think of any contemporary actor making such utterances. The paradox would be striking!

As for Zapt's protégé, Captain von Tarlenheim, given the camera's fondness for the handsome young star, it will come as no surprise to learn that this role was reputedly David Niven's first acting breakthrough. His gift for dry English understatement is the occasion for one especially humorous scene-stealing moment that I will generously leave to the curious viewer to enjoy for himself.

With such an outstanding, marquee cast that lives up to its advanced billing and then some, it is not difficult to understand why this film was such a rousing success when it premiered in 1937; so successful, in fact, that it was copied verbatim by MGM 15 years later after it purchased the rights from Selznick. With no slight intended to Stewart Granger et al., you cannot improve on perfection.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (41 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
DVD Release--March 6, 2007 dnscal
Great film, poor DVD jcorelis
The Sequel Never Made hondo551
R Coleman ksf-2
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Prisoner of Zenda The Prisoner of Zenda The Brothers Grimm Gone with the Wind The Man in the Iron Mask
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Adventure section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.