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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 »
Reviews
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:

The Prisoner of 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

David Niven (Fritz von Tarlenheim) and Raymond Massey (Black Michael) both died on July 29, 1983. See more »

Goofs

Princess Flavia gives Rassendyll a red rose in the garden. As it lies on a book a little while later, it is white. See more »

Quotes

Rupert of Hentzau: I see you want to let the drawbridge down. I just killed a man for that.
Rudolph Rassendyll: An unarmed man, of course.
Rupert of Hentzau: Of course!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) 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

One of the greatest movies of all time!
21 June 2000 | by operator-6See all my reviews

As my summary line might suggest, this is a movie that I have tremendous affection for and is one of the few movies I can watch again and again without a twinge of boredom.

This particular version of Hope's novel has to be the most supremely romantic film of all time. The combination of seven fantastic lead actors, a very witty script, excellent production values, tight direction, and good taste from all concerned make this a film that *must* be seen, and can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. It is, simply, a timeless masterpiece.

It must be said that the monumental achievement is Colman's for his brilliant portrayal of King and commoner. It is true that there are some parts of this film that have not aged well, and the story itself is only a thin (though classic!) adventure yarn, but out of this Colman has created a masterful portrait of a humane and dutiful hero and his flawed but equally interesting counterpart. It is Colman's quiet and absolutely accurate acting that stirs me most, although one cannot ignore the talents of his superlative co-stars. All in all, it is an ensemble acting film with Colman at the top--as it should be.

I envy anyone their first viewing of this remarkable film. It will not soon be forgotten even as flashier and louder thrillers invade our filmgoing consciousness.


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