Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Previously filmed in 1913 by Edwin S. Porter, Anthony Hope's classic swashbuckler The Prisoner of Zenda was given a lavish and respectful treatment by British director George Loane Tucker. Henry Ainley was excellent in the dual role of King Rudolf of Ruritania and his look-alike British cousin Rudolf Rassendyl. Called upon to impersonate the king in order to foil the plans of the evil Black Michael (Arthur Holmes-Gore) and the roguishly villainous Rupert of Hentzau (Gerald Ames), Rassendyl pulls off the assignment with flying colors, fooling even King Rupert's betrothed, the lovely Princess Flavia (Jane Gail). For a British film of this period, Prisoner of Zenda boasted superb production values, and the action highlights -- especially the climactic duel between Rassendyl and Rupert -- were equally impressive. This Prisoner of Zenda remained the "definitive" version until Rex Ingram's opulent 1921 remake.
aristocracy, Britain, duel, identity, impersonation, kidnapping, king, kingdom, lookalike, overthrow, role-switching, scheme, throne
High Artistic Quality, High Production Values