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"They fought for the right to rule, she fought for the right to love," and "The Prisoner of Zonda" lends itself to the screen in a manner that will not embarrass lovers of Anthony Hope's famous novel. Though we are given a touching and absorbing love story, as the picture unfolds, its spirit of high adventure and not its love sequences is what makes it a top notch film.
Ronald Colman plays a double role as both the king and the English sportsman who fills the king's shoes during the coronation period. Ruler for a day, he has the misfortune to fall in love with the king's betrothed, lovely Madeleine Carroll. That in the end they have to part does something to one's faith in Cupid or David O. Selznick, Jr. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., following in the footsteps of his illustrious father, turns in a superb performance as the delightfully unscrupulous Rupert of Hentzau. Though Mr. Colman has might and right on his side, he looks a little wan when he has to share a scene with Mr. Fairbanks.
Superbly photographed, "The Prisoner of Zenda" does not devote itself to love and intrigue alone; many scenes are salted with a humor that is as dashing as the theme. Anyone with red blood in his veins can find a splendid opportunity for escape from the humdrum ways of a modern world by visiting the University.
The companion feature is entitled "Dear Miss Aldrich," and, strangely enough, it succeeds in being almost funny at times. Edna May Oliver stretches her face to unprecedented longitudinal dimensions, Maureen O'Sullivan glides along in a manner that is just too, too demure, and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves in a mild way. "Dear Miss Aldrich" tells the tale of a girl's fight for recognition in a newspaper man's world; it is not recommended for consumption, unless the reader is feeling in a particularly receptive mood
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