"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 17, 1946 with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. reprising his film role.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie onJune 5, 1939 with Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. reprising their film roles.
"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 20, 1949 with Ronald Colman reprising his film role.
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!" 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.
Fay Wray screen-tested for the role of Princess Flavia. Color footage of this - apparently Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s home movies - survives in the Motion Picture Academy's archive.
David Niven and Raymond Massey who both starred together in The Prisoner of Zenda and A Matter of Life and Death both died on the same day, July 29th 1983.
George MacDonald Fraser's novel "Royal Flash" (and the 1975 film written by Fraser and directed by Richard Lester), one of a series of memoirs of the fictional dashing and heroic Sir Harry Flashman (who reveals himself to be a complete bounder, coward and liar), tells of Flashman's involvement (through the malice of Bismarck and Lola Montez) in the Schleswig-Holstein question, since Flashman is the double of a minor Danish nobleman who is to wed a German Baroness, etc.In the book, after barely surviving the adventure, Flashman comes home to London and tells the story (in a way that makes himself look dashing and heroic and noble) to his solicitor, an aspiring author named Anthony Hope (the author of the novel, "Prisoner of Zenda").
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.
Director John Cromwell was not happy with his cast. In memos to David O. Selznick he said that Fairbanks and Niven were "overindulged and lazy." Colman "never knows his lines. I don't know which one of them annoys me most. Also, both Colman and Carroll insist they have a 'bad side' to be avoided by the camera, but it's the same 'bad side.' Shooting them face-to-face is all but impossible."
In 'Salad Days', his first autobiography, 'Douglas Fairbanks Jr' said that when Raymond Massey told Sir C. Aubrey Smith, who played Col. Zapt, 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 either'.
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.
On November 2nd, 1937, this film opened the world famous Odeon Cinema, in London's Leicester Square.
Producer David O. Selznick was unsatisfied with the action scenes in the film, particularly the fencing, so he brought in directors W.S. Van Dyke and George Cukor to reshoot them after principal photography was finished.
The original New York production of The Prisoner of Zenda opened at the Lyceum Theater on September 4, 1895.
The Persian word for "prison" is "zendân".
The play made from the novel opened in London on 7 January 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!"