The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)

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The Prisoner of Zenda (1952) Poster

An Englishman vacationing in a Ruritarian kingdom is recruited to impersonate his cousin, the soon-to-be-crowned king after the monarch is drugged and kidnapped.


7/10
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  • Robert Douglas and Jane Greer in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  • Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  • Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  • Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  • Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
  • James Mason in The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)

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18 September 2003 | harry-76
Recycled Cocktail
Seems to me that if you're going to do a re-make of an earlier film, you need to have a better approach than just to refilm it, scene-by-scene, from its immediate predecessor.

Watching this 1952 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda," it emerges an astonishing "carbon copy" of its 15-year-old vintage model, only with different actors and in color.

What was most surprising was using Alfred Newman's 1937 music almost note-for-note. Conrad Salinger, MGM arranger-orchestrator-composer, seemed to have merely pulled out the old score, dusted off the parts, and passed them out to the MGM Orchestra to re-record.

Since this was also the music used for the now historic early December '39 sneak-preview of "Gone With the Wind" (outside of Los Angeles prior to its premiere before Max Steiner finished his work) it's even more strange to hear it here.

While the '52 cast was talented and the production values intact, there were no particularly fresh insights or viewpoints offered here, resulting in an efficiently "cloned" confection.

Less that an auspicious feather in MGM's cinematic folio, it still probably went over well with a new "generation" unfamiliar with either the '37 film or the original novel.

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