Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Ronald Colman meets Ronald Colman
THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937). Director: John Cromwell.

Major Rudolph Rassendyll (Ronald Colman) is vacationing when people keep remarking upon his strong resemblance to Prince Rudolph (also played by Colman). The two men meet and turn out to be cousins. When the prince is given a knock-out potion on the night before his coronation, his aides importune the major to impersonate him or all will be lost. But there are two complications. Will Princess Flavia (Madeleine Carroll), the prince's beloved, be able to see past the deception? And what happens when the real king gets kidnapped? Colman is terrific in both roles, and there is also expert work from the lovely Carroll [My Son, My Son] ; Raymond Massey [Possessed] as his evil brother, who wants the crown for himself; C. Aubrey Smith and David Niven as the king's friends and comrades; Mary Astor as the woman who loves Massey not wisely but too well; and especially Douglas Fairbanks Jr. [Little Caesar] as the haughty, deceptively sinister Rupert. The film is capped by an exciting sword fight between Colman and Fairbanks, but it never quite becomes a classic. Remade at least once.

Verdict: Colman  and Massey are always interesting to watch. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Good film, very 1930s, and I believe it was David Selznick's production immediately prior to Gone With the Wind. But you are right, it's not a classic; but great cast and a lot of fun!

William said...