The Prisoner of Zenda

The Prisoner of Zenda

Richard Thorp (1952)

96min
U Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Stewart Granger is simply marvellous as both Rudolf Rassendyll and King Rudolf in this splendid MGM Technicolor version of the Ruritanian romance, which is arguably the best adaptation of Anthony Hope's 1894 tale. There are those who prefer Ronald Colman in the popular 1937 movie, but there's no denying that Granger was born to fence and carouse, and he's equally at ease romancing his Flavia (Deborah Kerr). And there could be no finer Rupert of Hentzau than James Mason or blacker Michael than Robert Douglas. Look out, too, for Lewis Stone as the Cardinal - he played the dual lead in the 1922 silent version. The special effects are brilliant - watch Granger shake hands with himself and also walk around a heavy wooden chair in which his other character is seated. The 1937 score by Alfred Newman is retained and apparently a Moviola on set ensured that the camera set-ups were also copied. In the year of Elizabeth II's accession, this re-filming had great resonance, and a great deal more panache than those versions that came before or since.

Summary

An Englishman travelling through a European country meets the aristocrat soon to be crowned king, who is his exact double. When the prince is drugged before his coronation, the visitor is persuaded to take his place to avoid a political crisis. However, when the true ruler is kidnapped, he is forced to keep up the deception. Adventure, starring Stewart Granger, James Mason and Deborah Kerr.

Cast & Crew

Rudolf Rassendyll/King Rudolf V Stewart Granger
Rupert of Hentzau James Mason
Princess Flavia Deborah Kerr
Antoinette de Mauban Jane Greer
Col Zapt Louis Calhern
The Cardinal Lewis Stone
Michael, Duke of Strelsau Robert Douglas
Josef Francis Pierlot
Director Richard Thorp
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourAvailable on: video
Drama