Buckles are swashed in a most lavish manner. Lewis Stone plays an Englishman who must take his look-alike cousin’s place in order to save the throne, etc. etc. but Ramon Novarro steals the show as a deranged dandy. It’s easy to see why this was his breakout role.
Has fine passages but also has some incredibly boring stretches. Pacing issues aside, gorgeous direction and cinematography and some first-rate performances make this one worth seeing.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.The day is saved but our noble hero must give up the woman he loves to ensure the integrity of the royal line and all that.
Read my full-length review here. I also cover not one but TWO talkie remakes!
If it were a dessert it would be: Devonshire Splits. Old-fashioned, polite, attractive and not likely to set the world on fire with a fresh perspective. Still pretty enjoyable, though.
Availability: Released on DVD by Warner Archive.
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I just read your full-length review of the three main Zendas, and I absolutely agree with the ranking of ’37-’22-’52 as best to worst, although all have merit.
Regarding MGM’s decision to remake the already perfect 1937 version, I had always thought it had something to do with the accession of Queen Elizabeth that occurred in 1952. But then I read that MGM had purchased the Zenda rights in 1951, when George VI was still alive. So it just worked out coincidentally as perfect timing, giving audiences a taste of royal pomp and pageantry several months before Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.
It’s a pity the ’52 version wasn’t better but it did inspire the maroon uniforms for the Star Trek films, so all was not lost.
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