The Prisoner Of Zenda (1937)

JOHN CROMWELL

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1937.  Screenplay by , dramatization by , adaptation by , additional dialogue by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1937.

returns to the small, fictional European country of his ancestry and is delightfully surprised to learn that he is identical in looks and manner to his cousin (also Colman), the soon-to-be King of the nation. For fear of an assassination attempt, the non-royal Colman is asked to substitute his cousin in a coronation ceremony, but the evil villain () who wants the king dead kidnaps the real one and leaves the royal court in a bind.  Colman the commoner must now continue to fill the roles and duties of his royal cousin without anyone knowing, including his betrothed-since-childhood fiance (a breathtaking ) who ends up liking the copy much more than the original. He, in turn, begins to fall in love with her as well, making things difficult when it comes time to put the rightful king back in his place. A marvelous adventure with energetic performances and beautiful sets, lovely photography and a deliciously villainous performance by scene-stealing Fairbanks.

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