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The Prisoner of Zenda [1937/1952] [DVD]

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    Overview

    Special Features


    • 1937: Pete Smith Specialty short Penny Wisdom
    • 1937: Cartoon The Wayward Pups
    • 1937: Audio-only bonus radio adaptation with Ronald Colman
    • 1952: FitzPatrick Traveltalk short Land of the Taj Mahal
    • 1952: Oscar®-winning cartoon Johann Mouse
    • 1952: 1952 theatrical trailer

    Synopsis


    The Prisoner of Zenda
    Ronald Colman stars in David O. Selznick's classic production of Anthony Hope's swashbuckling adventure. The film takes place in a mythical Central European kingdom with Colman in a dual role as King Rudolf V and Rudolph Rassendyl, a visitor from England who's a distant cousin to the prince. Arriving in the city of Strelsau, the inhabitants are startled by Rudolph's resemblance to the prince. Spotted by two of the prince's aides, Captain Fritz von Tarlenheim (David Niven) and Colonel Zapt (C. Aubrey Smith), the Englishman is taken to meet the prince at his hunting lodge. The two lookalikes have dinner together as the prince tells Rudolph of the preparations for his upcoming coronation as king. The next morning, Zapt wakes Rudolph and informs him the prince had been drugged the night before and is now in a coma. Because of their similar appearance, Zapt prevails upon Rudolph to impersonate the prince at the coronation, otherwise the prince's evil brother Black Michael (Raymond Massey) will be crowned in his place. With the assistant of Zapt and von Tarlenheim, Rudolph bluffs his way through the coronation, successfully fooling Michael, who is shocked to see his brother alive. Crowned king, Rudolph then meets Princess Flavia (Madeleine Carroll), the prince's fiancee. As they proceed to the reception, Princess Flavia is amazed how kindly the prince is now treating her. Rudolph is falling in love with her, but Michael suspects something foul and dispatches Rupert of Hentzau (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) to investigate the matter further, preparing to gain control of the throne at any cost. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

    The Prisoner of Zenda
    Mistaken identity and underhanded dealings set the stage for this adventure story based on Anthony Hope's classic novel. Rudolph Rassendyll (Stewart Granger) is a British tourist visiting the nation of Ruritania in the Balkans. A number of people comment upon Rassendyll's remarkable resemblance to Prince Rudolph, who in a matter of days is to be crowned the nation's new king, and the prince's staff even arranges a meeting between the two men. But Rudolph's devious brother believes it is he who should be the king, and he arranges for Prince Rudolph to be poisoned the night before his coronation. Desperate, Rudolph's minders beg Rassendyll to participate in the ceremony in Rudolph's place so that the usurper cannot take the throne. Rassendyll agrees, and the ceremony goes off without a hitch, but when the brother's men discover this subterfuge, they imprison the real Prince as they threaten to reveal the secret of the new "king." Rassendyll's dilemma is compounded when he finds himself falling in love with Princess Flavia (Deborah Kerr), Rudolph's intended. This was the fourth screen adaptation of The Prisoner of Zenda; a fifth, which focused on the tale's comic possibilities, starred Peter Sellers and was released in 1979. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Ronald Colman
      Ronald Colman - Rudolph Rassendyl/King Rudolf V
    • Madeleine Carroll
      Madeleine Carroll - Princess Flavia
    • Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
      Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. - Rupert of Hentzau
    • Mary Astor
      Mary Astor - Antoinette de Mauban
    • C. Aubrey Smith
      C. Aubrey Smith - Col. Zapt



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