Monday, October 27, 2014

Little Of Column A, Little Of Column B: The Prisoner Of Zenda

I don't about you, but sometimes I see a remake of a movie and end up wishing I could combine elements of both it and the original. The 1952 version of The Prisoner of Zenda, which TCM broadcast again last night, is just such a movie. I like it, and I like the original 1937 version, too (and I especially like the book they're both based on). But I like Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. from the '37 version better while I prefer Deborah Kerr and Jane Greer from the '52 version.

Mind you, there's nothing wrong with, respectively, Stewart Granger, James Mason, Madeleine Carroll and Mary Astor. They're great. I just think in these particular roles, the other pairings are better.

Now if only somebody could whip out their computer and cut and paste the two films together, we might really have something.


HeatherD said...

Was there an earlier silent version of "The Prisoner of Zenda?" BTW, I enjoy your blog.

Mythical Monkey said...

You're right, there is -- the 1922 version, a good one. Ramon Novarro played Rupert, what I think of as the Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. role. A breakout performance for him.

I should have remembered that since I write about silent movies!

Some day I'm going to get back to this blog in earnest, after I finish moving the mountain of a project that I have dedicated myself to.

Erik Beck said...

How ironic that you drop Mason. The two versions of a film I always think about in this context are the 1962 and 1997 Lolita. Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain are so much better in the latter (with the more dramatic elements) but Peter Sellers and Shelley Winters are so damn good in the former (with more of the comedic elements). Mason is fine, but I really wish I had the leads from 97 and the supporting cast from 62.

Mythical Monkey said...

We have the same take on the two versions of Lolita. I was living in England when the 1997 version came out and wound up seeing it on video tape a couple of years later. Maybe Irons and Swain were too good -- there's no pretending their relationship is anything other than what it was. But in any event, it never had a snowball's chance of finding an audience.

I think James Mason was a great actor but he had a narrow range. The Prisoner of Zenda and Lolita were both outside it.

mister muleboy said...

Yes, we heard it too -- didn't we, Leonard?


within the range