If I Were King


(out of 5)

 plays a ruffian poet living in Louis XI’s France who keeps getting into trouble with the law. Criminal behaviour is a particular problem in Paris at this point as the city is surrounded by invading Burgundians who are cutting off the city’s supplies for food. After being arrested for raiding the imperial stores, Colman engages in a battle of wits that sees the dotty monarch () propose a challenge: let the devilish rogue prove that he can clean up the city and solve the problem of the enemies at the gate within one week or else forfeit his life. Colman and his moustache were tailor-made for these vehicles, while Rathbone gained critical acclaim for his sniggering, highly mannered and annoying performance. Lavish sets, but The Prisoner Of Zenda is a lot more fun. The wonderful dialogue is by Preston Sturges.

Paramount Pictures

USA, 1938

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the play by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1938


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