7.7/10
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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 3 September 1937 (USA)
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors:

John Cromwell, W.S. Van Dyke (uncredited)

Writers:

Anthony Hope (celebrated novel), John L. Balderston (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Philip Sleeman ... Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft 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)
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Storyline

This is a classic swashbuckler. Rudolph Rassendyll, Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king when his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his older half-brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the king's cousin and betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Romance and adventure to thrill you! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 5, 1939 with Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

The sword fight in the castle of Zenda between Coleman and one of the king's guards appears to be with rapiers, however when the fight is picked up again in the outside room the rapiers have become sabers - necessary in order to cut the rope of the drawbridge. See more »

Quotes

Prologue: Toward the close of the last century, when History still wore a Rose, and Politics had not yet outgrown the waltz, a Great Royal Scandal was whispered about in the Anterooms of Europe. However true it was, any resemblance in "The Prisoner of Zenda" to Heroes, Villains, Heroines, living or dead, is coincidence not intended...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Father Brown: The Deadly Seal (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail the Conquering Hero
(uncredited)
By George Frideric Handel
[Played at the "king's" entry into the cathedral]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
" There is of course that other fellow who wants to be king "
26 June 2011 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

This film is based on Anthony Hope's novel and directed by John Cromwell. Over the years, the story has been imitated with many versions. This Black and white offering is so well directed it plays as well in 1937 as in 2011. The lead is played most admirably by Ronald Colman who with his distinctive voice is both Major Rudolf Rassendyll and " The Prisoner of Zenda. " The plot is lead by Black Michael (Raymond Massey) who's facial features are suited for the part of a jealous villain. It is surprising however to see David Niven and Douglas Faitbanks Jr. on opposites sides, but each performs superbly even if Douglas does play a heavy. The inner story is that of a King who is slated for removal by duping the populace that because the king has been killed, Black Michael will assume the thrown in his absence. A later version will have Steward Granger in the title role and in color, but for me, Ronald Coleman will always be the Prisoner of Zenda in this Classic movie. Excellent rendition and highly recommended! ****


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