PopuIar Culture Trivia
-MGM planned to make a musical version with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, with music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, but it was never produced.
-As a publicity stunt, Publicity Chief Russell Birdwell flew from Zenda, Ontario, Canada (named for the fictional kingdom) along with 12 residents, to the New York world premiere. He also had the mayor of Los Angeles start a fencing tournament.
-A play, made from the novel, opened in London on January 7th, 1896.
-When Antoinette de Mauban leaves the dungeon after caring for the imprisoned king, Rupert bows to her and quotes a poem. It's an abbreviated version from Sir Walter Scott: "O woman! in our hours of ease Uncertain, coy, and hard to please, And variable as the shade By the light quivering aspen made; When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou!"
-Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. initially wanted the double role for himself and actually tested for it. He was devastated when it was awarded to Ronald Colman. Instead, he was offered the part of Rupert of Hentzau and, according to David O. Selznick, "Nobody else stood a chance!" of doing the role as well. His father, Douglas Fairbanks convinced his son that it was a blessing in disguise, as it was the best part in the piece, and advised him on billing and costume.
-In 'Salad Days', his first autobiography, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. said that when Raymond Massey told Sir C. Aubrey Smith, who played Col. Sapt, that he didn't understand his own part of Black Michael, Smith said "Ray, in my time I've played every part in Zenda except Princess Flavia, and I've never understood Black Michael
-On November 2nd, 1937, the film opened the world-famous Odeon Cinema, m London's Leicester Square.
-The original New York production of The Prisoner of Zenda opened at the Lyceum Theater on September 4th, 1895.
-David Niven and Raymond Massey who both starred together in The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946) both died on the same day, July 29th, 1983.
-In the Broadway musical Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks makes mention of Ruritania in one of the songs. King Wilhelm-Rudolf gave Mr. Brooks gave honorary knighthood for this mention.
-Producer David O. Selznick was unsatisfied with the action scenes in the film, particularly the fencing, so he brought in director W.S. Van Dyke to reshoot them after principal photography was finished.
Continuity errors in the 1937 film "The Prisoner Of Zenda"
-The sword fight in the castle of Zenda between Coleman and Fairbanks Jr.
appears to be with rapiers, however when the fight is picked up again in the
outside room the rapiers have become sabers (which was necessary in order to cut the rope
of the drawbridge).