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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 »

Director:

Richard Quine

Writers:

Dick Clement (screenplay), Ian La Frenais (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers ... Rudolf IV / Rudolf V / Syd Frewin
Lynne Frederick ... Princess Flavia
Lionel Jeffries ... General Sapt
Elke Sommer ... The Countess
Gregory Sierra ... The Count
Jeremy Kemp ... Duke Michael
Catherine Schell ... Antoinette
Simon Williams ... Fritz
Stuart Wilson ... Rupert of Hentzau
Norman Rossington ... Bruno
John Laurie ... Archbishop
Graham Stark ... Erik
Michael Balfour Michael Balfour ... Luger
Arthur Howard Arthur Howard ... Deacon
Ian Abercrombie ... 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:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 August 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda See more »

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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:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the actors in the film recalled the relationship between Peter Sellers and director Richard Quine as being ferociously acrimonious. It was thus a surprise when Quine was hired to direct Sellers's next (and final) movie, "The Fiendish Plot Of Dr. Fu Manchu", but Quine was fired from that film almost at once and is uncredited on it. He never directed again. See more »

Goofs

As Peter Sellers and his entourage approach the city in this Ruritarian romantic adventure, a tank truck and two Volkswagens can be seen on the horizon. 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

Spoofs The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not as bad as some people say - but should have been tons better!
8 July 2005 | by egleg_loombucketSee all my reviews

This is a very lavish looking, picturesque romp that should have been a sure fire hit. "Porridge" scriptwriters Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais were the men responsible for turning the classic Anthony Hope into a comedy, which shouldn't have been too difficult bearing in mind the ridiculous scenario linked to the main story. However, this scenario is all they went for, and any characterisation or satirical touches are abandoned and a lot of cartoonish setups such as Gregory Sierra's role and also other segments such as the explosive bowls game and the early scene in the restaurant replace any serious comedy. Therefore, in his dwindling health and sorrowful state, Sellers looks a bit out of place amongst the diving into the water routines and the jumping of a tall castle stints. It is very similar to his Fu Manchu experience two years later (when he also played two roles) in that he's still putting the work in but to little effect. The film is a reminder of his earlier years and really backfires as a poor man's Pink Panther. However, he still proves that he can act (which is a lot more than most actors these days) despite the poor material and backed by a host of regular artists such as Catherine Schell, Elke Sommer (both stars of Pink Pantherfs), Graham Stark, John Laurie, Jeremy Kemp (who had starred in Sellers' The Blockhouse in 1972) - it should have been better considering the quality of Sellers' other films at the time, but it does fall very flat.


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