The Prince and the Pauper (1937 film)
|The Prince and the Pauper|
|Directed by||William Keighley|
|Produced by||Jack L. Warner|
Hal B. Wallis
|Screenplay by||Laird Doyle|
Catherine Chisholm Cushing
|Based on||The Prince and the Pauper|
by Mark Twain
Billy and Bobby Mauch
|Music by||Erich Wolfgang Korngold|
|Edited by||Ralph Dawson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
The Prince and the Pauper is a 1937 film adaptation of the 1881 novel of the same name by Mark Twain. It starred Errol Flynn, twins Billy and Bobby Mauch in the title roles, and Claude Rains and has been described as "a kids' fantasy."
The film was originally intended to coincide with the planned coronation of Edward VIII in 1936. However, its release was delayed until the following year. The film was released on May 8, 1937, four days before the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
In Tudor England, two boys are born on the same day in the most different circumstances imaginable. Tom Canty (Billy Mauch) is the son of vicious criminal John Canty (Barton MacLane), while Edward Tudor (Bobby Mauch) is the Prince of Wales and the son of King Henry VIII of England (Montagu Love). One grows up in poverty, hungering for something better for himself and his family, the other in isolated luxury, with a strong curiosity about the outside world.
They meet and are astounded by their striking resemblance to each other. As a prank, they exchange clothes, but the Captain of the Guard (Alan Hale, Sr.) mistakes the prince for the pauper and throws him out of the palace grounds. Tom is unable to convince anybody except for the Earl of Hertford (Claude Rains) of his identity. Everyone else is convinced that he is mentally ill. When Henry VIII dies, Hertford threatens to expose Tom unless he does as he is told. Hertford also blackmails the Captain into searching for the real prince to eliminate the dangerous loose end.
Meanwhile, Edward finds an amused, if disbelieving protector in Miles Hendon (Errol Flynn). An attempt to assassinate the boy on the instigation of the Earl of Hertford, who fears for his power if the real king lives, changes Hendon's opinion of Edward's story. With Hendon's help, Edward manages to re-enter the palace just in time to interrupt the coronation ceremony and prove his identity. Edward becomes King Edward VI while Tom is made a ward of the new king, Hertford is banished for life, and Hendon is rewarded for his services.
- Errol Flynn as Miles Hendon
- Billy Mauch as Tom Canty
- Bobby Mauch as King Edward VI
- Claude Rains as the Earl of Hertford
- Henry Stephenson as the Duke of Norfolk
- Barton MacLane as John Canty
- Alan Hale, Sr. as The Captain of the Guard
- Eric Portman as The First Lord
- Lionel Pape as The Second Lord
- Leonard Willey as The Third Lord
- Murray Kinnell as Hugo Hendon
- Halliwell Hobbes as The Archbishop
- Phyllis Barry as The Barmaid
- Ivan F. Simpson as Clemens
- Montagu Love as Henry VIII of England
- Fritz Leiber as Father Andrew
- Elspeth Dudgeon as John Canty's Mother
- Mary Field as Mrs. Canty
- Forrester Harvey as The Meaty Man
- Joan Valerie as Lady Jane Seymour
- Lester Matthews as St. John
- Robert Adair as The First Guard
- Harry Cording as The Second Guard
- Robert Warwick as Lord Warwick
- Rex Evans as Rich Man
- Holmes Herbert as The First Doctor
- Ian MacLaren as The Second Doctor
- Anne Howard as Lady Jane Grey
- Gwendolyn Jones as Lady Elizabeth
- Lionel Braham as Ruffler
- Harry Beresford as The Watch
- Lionel Belmore as The Innkeeper
- Ian Wolfe as The Proprietor
- Leo White as Jester (uncredited)
Warner Bros had Billy and Bobby Mauch under contract, and had used them separately in Anthony Adverse, The White Angel and The Charge of the Light Brigade. The studio announced The Prince and the Pauper as part of their line up in June 1936. (They bought the rights to the story from Twain's estate for $75,000.)
According to Warner Bros records, the film earned $1,026,000 domestically and $665,000 foreign making it the studio's most popular film of the year.
Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times wrote, "Bobby and Billy justify their twinship completely, not merely by investing the Twain legend of mistaken royal identity with a pleasing degree of credibility, but by playing their roles with such straightforwardness and naturalness that the picture becomes one of the most likable entertainments of the year ... The novel and the screen have been bridged so gracefully we cannot resist saying the Twain and the movies have met." Variety published a negative review, reporting: "The fragile plot scarcely holds together a full length screen play", and suggesting that its running time could have been trimmed at the beginning so Flynn could enter the film earlier. John Mosher of The New Yorker praised the film as "a fine spectacle". Harrison's Reports called it "An excellent costume picture" with "outstanding" performances.
The Prince and the Pauper is a novel by Mark Twain with Edward VI of England as the central character. This fictional narrative has been adapted to film many times:
- The Prince and the Pauper (1909), a two-reel short that features some of the only known film footage of Mark Twain, shot by Thomas Edison at Twain's Connecticut home
- The Prince and the Pauper (1915), directed by Hugh Ford and Edwin Stanton Porter; the first feature-length adaptation
- The Prince and the Pauper (1920 film) (German: Prinz und Bettelknabe), a 1920 Austrian film directed by Alexander Korda
- The Prince and the Pauper (1937 film), featuring Errol Flynn as Miles Hendon and Billy and Bobby Mauch as the title characters
- The Prince and the Pauper (1962 film), part of Walt Disney anthology television series television series. It starred Guy Williams as Miles Hendon, and Sean Scully in the dual roles of Prince Edward and Tom Canty.
- The Prince and the Pauper (1977 film), released in the United States as Crossed Swords, starring Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Ernest Borgnine, George C. Scott, Rex Harrison, and Charlton Heston
- The Prince and the Pauper (1990 film), an animated short starring Mickey Mouse
- The Prince and the Pauper (2000 film), a television film featuring Aidan Quinn and Alan Bates
- A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper a 2007 film starring Dylan and Cole Sprouse
- Warner Bros financial information in The William Shaefer Ledger. See Appendix 1, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, (1995) 15:sup1, 1-31 p 18 doi:10.1080/01439689508604551
- Vagg, Stephen (November 10, 2019). "The Films of Errol Flynn: Part 2 The Golden Years". Filmink.
- Tony Thomas, Rudy Behlmer * Clifford McCarty, The Films of Errol Flynn, Citadel Press, 1969 p 54-55
- Shafer, Rosalind. (Apr 19, 1936). "Mauch Twins Rising Stars in Film Sky: Scenario Planned for 11 Year Old Veterans of Vaudeville and Radio". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. D4.
- "WARNERS TO SHOW 60 FEATURE FILMS: 1936–37 Production Schedule Announced at Convention in Progress Here. GREEN PASTURES' LISTED Seven Other Stage Successes to Be Screened -- Adaptation of 'Anthony Adverse' Ready". New York Times. June 4, 1936. p. 27.
- "FACTS ON A FEW OF THE NEW PICTURES". New York Times. May 2, 1937. p. X4.
- Schallert, Edwin (Oct 21, 1936). "SIDNEY BLACKMER WILL PLAY THEODORE ROOSEVELT ON SCREEN: Spencer Tracy Re-signed; Gets New Role". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
- Schallert, Edwin (Dec 5, 1936). "ERROL FLYNN CALLED BACK FOR ROLE IN "PRINCE AND THE PAUPER": John Ford to Direct Shirley Temple Film". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
- The New York Times Film Reviews, Volume 2: 1932–1938. The New York Times Company & Arno Press. 1970. p. 1388.
- "Film Reviews". Variety. New York: Variety, Inc. May 12, 1937. p. 12.
- "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. New York: F-R Publishing Corp. May 15, 1937. pp. 105–106.
- "The Prince and the Pauper". Harrison's Reports. New York: Harrison's Reports, Inc.: 3 May 8, 1937.