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The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)

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 »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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General Sapt
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The Countess
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The Count
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...
Antoinette
...
Fritz
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Rupert of Hentzau
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Bruno
...
Archbishop
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Erik
Michael Balfour ...
Luger
Arthur Howard ...
Deacon
...
Johann
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Storyline

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 life, and switch him with a look-a-like London cabby. Throw in two(!) lovely blondes, treachery, and a battle for life and honour, and enjoy life at its zaniest. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,425,315, 28 May 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,425,315, 28 May 1979
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lynne Frederick was initially not interested in taking the role of Princess Flavia for she felt it was too minor. At the time she was having marital problems with her husband, Peter Sellers, and their therapist advised them not to work together. Frederick was also more interested in the role of Cosette in Les Miserables (1978) but was rejected after being deemed "too old" for the role. Sellers ultimately convinced her that her acting abilities were far more suited for that of a theatrical film rather than a television film, and that it would be a good bonding experience for them to work together. It was then that Frederick agreed to take the role. See more »

Quotes

Rudolf IV: Michael, why do you hate me so?
Duke Michael: Because you are conceited, arrogant, spineless, selfish, shallow, pity, pompous and pitiful!
Rudolf IV: But apart from that?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in BoJack Horseman: Stupid Piece of Sh*t (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Peter Sellers in multiple roles not funny
16 February 2015 | by See all my reviews

King Rudolf IV (Peter Sellers) crashes his balloon and dies falling into a well. General Sapt (Lionel Jeffries) and his nephew Fritz travel to London to retrieve the playboy son Rudolf V (Sellers) from a gambling house. The King's half-brother Michael sends an assassin to kill him. He's having an affair with the married Countess Montparnasse (Elke Sommer). Cab driver Frewin (Sellers) rescues him from an assassin. General Sapt hires Frewin as a coachman but really he's being used as a decoy without his knowledge. Frewin is attacked by Michael's men and the new King meets him. Rudolf is captured and imprisoned in Michael's castle of Zenda. Frewin is coronated instead but Rudolf's fiancée Princess Flavia (Lynne Frederick) notices the ruse.

Peter Sellers is playing multiple roles once again. There is nothing wrong with the plot. It's functional as a drama except it has no intention of being one. As a comedy, there are very few laughs. It's late in director Richard Quine's career and maybe the laughs weren't in him anymore. The slapstick is lazy. The jokes aren't there.


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