The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

Adventure | 11 September 1922

Director:

Rex Ingram

Cinematographer:

John F. Seitz

Editor:

Grant Whytock

Production Company:

Metro Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

The picture, based on the 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, spawned several film adaptations, including versions released in 1913, 1937, 1952, and 1979 (see entries).
       The 19 Jun 1920 FD announced the forthcoming picture as a Bert Lytell/Metro Pictures production, set to be filmed on the East Coast. However, various sources indicated that production occurred, more than two years later, in Los Angeles, CA. The 17 Dec 1921 Motion Picture News announced that director Rex Ingram and company were filming exteriors in Big Bear, CA.
       According to the 29 Apr 1922 Exhibitors Herald, the picture cost $1,118,453 to produce, with an estimated $111 per foot for the ten reel film. The lavish production enlisted the efforts of 23,000 persons. Twenty-six costume designers worked four months to create the costumes, and 540 people were employed as tailors and dressmakers. Additionally, $2 million in artwork was loaned to filmmakers. Crews constructed seventy-two buildings to make up six blocks of city dwellings in the imaginary kingdom of Ruritania. During the two weeks of filming the coronation sequence, producer-director Rex Ingram never left the lot, and required that the 10,000 background actors be housed on site as well, where army cots were provided in the constructed dwellings, and 432 cooks were employed to serve cast and crew using “army methods.” During the huge crowd scenes, Ingram utilized the newly invented “radiophone” to communicate with his assistant directors. Ingram noted it was “superior” to the use of a “telephone with wires.”
       According to various modern sources, director Rex Ingram and lead actress Alice Terry, who worked with the director on two previous ... More Less

The picture, based on the 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, spawned several film adaptations, including versions released in 1913, 1937, 1952, and 1979 (see entries).
       The 19 Jun 1920 FD announced the forthcoming picture as a Bert Lytell/Metro Pictures production, set to be filmed on the East Coast. However, various sources indicated that production occurred, more than two years later, in Los Angeles, CA. The 17 Dec 1921 Motion Picture News announced that director Rex Ingram and company were filming exteriors in Big Bear, CA.
       According to the 29 Apr 1922 Exhibitors Herald, the picture cost $1,118,453 to produce, with an estimated $111 per foot for the ten reel film. The lavish production enlisted the efforts of 23,000 persons. Twenty-six costume designers worked four months to create the costumes, and 540 people were employed as tailors and dressmakers. Additionally, $2 million in artwork was loaned to filmmakers. Crews constructed seventy-two buildings to make up six blocks of city dwellings in the imaginary kingdom of Ruritania. During the two weeks of filming the coronation sequence, producer-director Rex Ingram never left the lot, and required that the 10,000 background actors be housed on site as well, where army cots were provided in the constructed dwellings, and 432 cooks were employed to serve cast and crew using “army methods.” During the huge crowd scenes, Ingram utilized the newly invented “radiophone” to communicate with his assistant directors. Ingram noted it was “superior” to the use of a “telephone with wires.”
       According to various modern sources, director Rex Ingram and lead actress Alice Terry, who worked with the director on two previous films, secretly eloped during production, on Saturday, 5 Nov 1921, in South Pasadena, CA, and returned to work on Monday morning. The first reports of their marriage came from the 1 Apr 1922 Exhibitors Herald who announced that the couple were “now honeymooning” after the completion of filming.
       Film Year Book 1922-1923 called The Prisoner of Zenda one of “The Ten Best” pictures of 1922, and headlined the reviews as they appeared in Sunday issues of FD.
       It is available on YouTube in 2016. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
1 Apr 1922.
p. 35.
Exhibitors Herald
29 Apr 1922
pp. 68-69.
Film Daily
19 Jun 1920
p. 3.
Film Daily
30 Apr 1922
p. 3.
Film Year Book
1922-1923
p. 349.
Motion Picture News
17 Dec 1921
p. 4.
New York Times
1 Aug 1922
p. 14.
Photodramatist
Aug 1922
p. 14.
Photoplay
Jul 1922
p. 52.
Variety
4 Aug 1922
p. 34.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
Supv
WRITER
Written for the Screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope (London, May 1894) and play The Prisoner of Zenda by Edward E. Rose (London, 7 Jan 1896).
DETAILS
Release Date:
11 September 1922
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 31 July 1922
Production Date:
began late 1921
Copyright Claimant:
Metro Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
29 July 1922
Copyright Number:
LP18096
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
10,467
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While the weak and drunken King Rudolph of Ruritania awaits his coronation, he is drugged by his brother, Black Michael, who is preparing a coup d'état. Michael's plans are thwarted by the substitution at Rudolph's coronation of Rassendyll, an Englishman who is the king's exact double. Michael, discovering the ruse, kidnaps the real king and holds him captive in the castle at Zenda. Rassendyll aids in the king's rescue and renounces the love of the Princess Flavia, the king's bethrothed, to return to ... +


While the weak and drunken King Rudolph of Ruritania awaits his coronation, he is drugged by his brother, Black Michael, who is preparing a coup d'état. Michael's plans are thwarted by the substitution at Rudolph's coronation of Rassendyll, an Englishman who is the king's exact double. Michael, discovering the ruse, kidnaps the real king and holds him captive in the castle at Zenda. Rassendyll aids in the king's rescue and renounces the love of the Princess Flavia, the king's bethrothed, to return to England. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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