IMDb > The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
The Prisoner of Zenda
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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   2,819 votes »
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Up 83% 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 & 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(23 articles)
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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:
Lookalike Saves Kingdom in Classic! 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)
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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


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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:
Director John Cromwell was not happy with his cast. In memos to David O. Selznick he said that Fairbanks and Niven were "overindulged and lazy." Colman "never knows his lines. I don't know which one of them annoys me most. Also, both Colman and Carroll insist they have a 'bad side' to be avoided by the camera, but it's the same 'bad side.' Shooting them face-to-face is all but impossible."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:
Rudolph Rassendyll:You know, there's another reason I feel so well. Had a remarkable wine for dinner last night. Soothed my nerves - went right off to sleep! Slept like a top! Came from right near your castle, by the way. You must try it in case you're ever troubled about sleeping.
Black Michael:I sleep very well.
Rudolph Rassendyll:Is that so? You must have a clear conscience.
Black Michael:I have, and I've never had a dream that didn't come true... if I waited long enough.
Rudolph Rassendyll:Really? How romantic!
[laughs]
Rudolph Rassendyll:Still, some things come true you never dreamed of!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Artist's Life, Op.316See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
16 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Lookalike Saves Kingdom in Classic!, 14 November 2000
Author: Ben Burgraff (cariart) from Las Vegas, Nevada

'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!

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