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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 <email@example.com>
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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