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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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I`m not very familiar with THE PRISONER OF ZENDA . I know it`s a novel by Anthony Hope that involves an English commoner who so resembles the King of Rurtinia so much that he becomes a stand in , I know that Robert Donat starred in a well regarded film version , and that the 1978 DOCTOR WHO story The Andriods Of Tara was based on Hope`s novel . That was all I really knew as I sat down to watch this comedy version of the story
I was totally unimpressed , not by the bare bones of the story but by the obvious fact that there`s no laughs in this alleged comedy . I can`t think of one moment when I cracked a smile never mind burst out laughing . In fact about half way through all the evidence points that writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais just gave up attempting to make lame jokes and just wrote a traditional version of the story . But my major gripe is with director Richard Quine who spent twelve and a half million dollars on this movie which looks like it has a budget less than a tenth of that sum . All the interior sets look totally cheap and fake and there`s an action sequence involving a stage coach which is laughably bad . The whole sequence is shot at ground level to disguise the fact that the coach isn`t moving more than 10 mph , cut to some abysmal back screen projection with Peter Sellers wrestling with one of the bad guys , then cut back again to an exterior shot of the 10mph coach with all the characters looking away from screen so you won`t notice the characters are played by stuntmen . I wasn`t fooled by this type of sequence in James Bond films from the 1980s and I wasn`t fooled here
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