THE PRISONER OF ZENDA
Starring Lewis Stone, Alice Terry, Ramon Novarro
One of the first of the imaginary kingdom novels. Done into a picture by Rex Ingram, who has managed to capture the spirit and the color of the book and transfer them, almost intact, to the screen. A vivid plot of impersonations and conspiracies; of treachery, love and adventurers - gentleman and otherwise. Lewis S. Stone takes the double part of Rudolph Rassendyll and King Rudolf with a fine swagger. He presents a figure heroic enough to set any feminine heart a-flutter. Robert Edeson is a genuine Colonel Sapt, and Malcolm McGregor is reminiscent of Valentino before he was a star. Stuart Holmes is one of the villains and Ramon Samanyagos (Novarro), who does a fine bit of acting as Rupert of Hentzau, seems a decided find and an entirely new type. While the beauty of the lady villainess, Barbara La Marr, makes the blonde loveliness of Alice Terry seem almost weak at times.
So much for he cast, which merits almost any amount of praise.
As do the exquisite settings and the truth of the atmosphere.
One cannot help wondering why, with everything so perfectly in
tune, Rex Ingram dimmed the harmony of it all with unnecessary
and ugly bits of slapstick. There are butlers who trip over rugs,
men who throw over-ripe bananas, servants with flying suspenders.
Not many of them - but enough to enter a jazz note that is not
welcome. This minor fault does not keep the picture from being
splendid. Not another "Four Horesmen" perhaps - but
decidedly worthwhile entertainment. And Rex Ingram has had the
courage to venture an unhappy ending because the book read that
ps the picture a lot. Charles Kenyon and Philip Lonergon wrote the scenario from a Governeur Morris story.
Video source: Turner archives
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