The Prisoner of Zenda (1952 film)

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The Prisoner of Zenda
The Prisoner of Zenda 1952 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Produced by Pandro S. Berman
Written by Wells Root
Donald Ogden Stewart
Screenplay by Noel Langley
John L. Balderston
Based on The Prisoner of Zenda
1894 novel 
by Edward Rose
Anthony Hope
Starring Stewart Granger
Deborah Kerr
James Mason
Louis Calhern
Robert Douglas
Jane Greer
Robert Coote
Music by Alfred Newman
Cinematography Joseph Ruttenberg
Edited by George Boemler
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
November 4, 1952 (1952-11-04)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,708,000[1]
Box office $5,628,967[1]

The Prisoner of Zenda is a 1952 film version of the classic novel of the same name by Anthony Hope and a remake of the famous 1937 film version. This version was made by Loew's and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Pandro S. Berman.

The screenplay, attributed to Noel Langley, was nearly word-for-word identical to the one used in the 1937 version, which was by John L. Balderston, adapted by Wells Root, from the Hope novel and the stage play by Edward Rose, with additional dialogue by Donald Ogden Stewart.

The film stars Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr and James Mason with Louis Calhern, Robert Douglas, Jane Greer and Robert Coote.

Alfred Newman's 1937 music score was adapted by Conrad Salinger, since Newman was unavailable to work on the film; and the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg. The art direction was by Cedric Gibbons and Hans Peters and the costume design by Walter Plunkett.[2]

The silent film versions, The Prisoner of Zenda (1913) starred James K. Hackett and Beatrice Beckly and The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) starred Lewis Stone and Alice Terry. A comedy version The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) starred Peter Sellers and Lynne Frederick.


Background and production notes[edit]

This version of The Prisoner of Zenda used the same shooting script as the 1937 David O. Selznick film directed by John Cromwell and starring Ronald Colman and Madeleine Carroll. Slight variations in the screenplay were added by Noel Langley. In addition to the dialogue, the same film score, composed by Alfred Newman for the 1937 version, was also used for this version. A comparison of the two films reveals that settings and camera angles, in most cases, are the same.

According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, MGM was to pay Selznick USD $225,000 for the remake rights to the novel and the play by Edward Rose.

In 1999, blacklisted writer Donald Ogden Stewart, who was credited with additional dialogue on the 1937 production, was given a restored credit for the 1952 film.

Director Richard Thorpe and producer Pandro S. Berman had previously collaborated on Ivanhoe (1952) and, in addition to The Prisoner of Zenda, would go on to team up again in All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953), Knights of the Round Table (1953), The Adventures of Quentin Durward, (1955) and Jailhouse Rock (1957)


According to MGM records the film earned $2,078,000 in North America and $3,550,000 elsewhere, making an overall profit of $1,759,000.[1]

The film was a hit in France, with admissions of 2,415,938.[3]


  1. ^ a b c 'The Eddie Mannix Ledger’, Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study, Los Angeles
  2. ^
  3. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story

External links[edit]