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The Prisoner of Zenda

Easily the best version of Anthony Hope's perennial Ruritanian adventure, often cited as one of the great swashbucklers. It's certainly impeccably cast, with Colman at his dashingly romantic best doubling as the King and the English lookalike who helps to save his throne, while Fairbanks revels in Rupert of Hentzau's charming villainy, Carroll provides a sweetly melting princess, and Massey is iconographically perfect as Black Michael the usurper. Lots of pomp and splendour (especially in the over-indulged Coronation sequence) make Cromwell's elegant direction incline to stateliness, but the swordplay is ripping and Wong Howe's camerawork superb.

Release details

Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Cromwell
Screenwriter: John L Balderston, Wells Root
Cast: Ronald Colman
Madeleine Carroll
Douglas Fairbanks Jr
Raymond Massey
Mary Astor
C Aubrey Smith
David Niven
Montagu Love
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