Lewis Stone, no stranger to leading-man roles in the 1920s, plays the dual role of a kidnapped king and the look-alike Englishman recruited to fill in for him. The cast includes Barbara La Marr and Ramon Novarro then named Ramon Samaniegos.
Of all tales of gallantry and romance, few are as durable as Andrew Hope's beloved swashbuckler. There are at least seven screen versions, including this 1922 adaptation featuring some of the era's most luminous players. Lewis Stone, no stranger to leading-man roles in the 1920s, plays the dual role of a kidnapped king and the look-alike Englishman recruited to fill in for him. The cast includes Barbara La Marr, the exotic and ill-fated looker hailed as "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful." And Ramon Novarro, then named Ramon Samaniegos, gives his breakthrough performance as villainous Rupert. Because of his rising stardom, Novarro was top-billed in rereleases of the film, as is the case in this print.
This epic-scale silent adaptation of the popular novel by Anthony Hope concerns Rudolph (Lewis S. Stone), a member of the royal family of Ruritania who is about to be crowned King. However, his conniving and ill-tempered brother has designs on the throne, and he drugs his sibling shortly before his coronation. Rudolph's allies find a British tourist who bears a striking resemblance to the would-be king, Rudolph Rassendyll (also played by Stone). They persuade the visitor to pose as Rudolph during the coronation to prevent the brother from usurping the crown. When the brother's henchmen discover that the Englishman is posing as Rudolph, they lock the real monarch away in a dungeon and attempt to expose the false king before he can be given the crown. THE PRISONER OF ZENDA was directed by Rex Ingram, one of the most important directors of the American silent cinema, and co-starred Alice Terry as Princess Flavia and Robert Edeson as Colonel Sapt. The story was previously filmed in 1915, and would enjoy three more remakes during the sound era.
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