Hollywood was so pleased with the critical and box-office success of The Prisoner of Zenda in 1937 that it decided to do it again 15 years later. The ambitious, big-budget remake was slavishly faithful to the original, with screenwriter John Balderston taking a major hand in both. The adventure saga is about an Englishman posing as the ruler of a small country and falling in love with the queen. Though all the technical details are well realized, some of the liveliness of the 1937 version is missing. Stewart Granger, James Mason, and Deborah Kerr have the lead roles. Lewis Stone, who starred in the 1922 silent version, plays a church official. One more attempt was made to film the story in 1979, with Peter Sellers adding more comic touches and playing a dual role, but that version was a flop.
by Michael Betzold review