Because of their similar appearances, a poor English boy and Edward, son of King Henry VIII and Prince of Wales switch places as a joke and must live each other's lives. — Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure — Rating: NR — R... more »elease Date: 26-AUG-2003
I always enjoyed this version of the classic story.
Although Errol Flynn is supposed to be a side character, he (of course) steals the show.
I actually first developed my taste for Errol Flynn from this film. He plays a likable, friendly guy, who helps the Prince get back to his home.
A good movie, fine for kids.
Errol Flynn in Support of Mauch Twins in Classic Twain Tale!
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 09/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1937, the WB, capitalizing on Errol Flynn's spectacular performances in CAPTAIN BLOOD and THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE, cast him in four films, with varying degrees of success. The best, by far, was William Keighley and William Dieterle's production of the Mark Twain classic, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, where he supported new WB 'discoveries' Billy and Bobby Mauch, portraying London urchin Tom Canty and his look-alike, Prince Edward Tudor. The twins were gifted, young (12 at the time of the filming) actors, with a Freddie Bartholomew-like quality of engaging innocence, and they gave this version of the oft-filmed tale a sense of reality that split-screen performances by a single actor could never achieve.The story is an engaging one, as young Canty, inspired by his mother and a local priest to dream of a finer life than his father, an ill-tempered beggar (Barton MacLane) could provide, sneaks onto the grounds of Buckingham Palace. There, he meets young Prince Edward, who is thrilled to meet a boy his own age...and, after cleaning him up a bit, is astonished to discover that the pair could pass as twins. Edward decides this is a golden opportunity to see what life outside the Palace is really like, so, against Canty's misgivings, the two exchange clothing, and the Prince leaves...creating far more of an uproar than either boy could ever imagine!Canty is soon considered 'mad', as he insists he is not Edward, and the Prince, abused and ridiculed by Tom's father, is unceremoniously thrown off the Palace grounds when he attempts to return, by a disbelieving Captain of the Guards (Alan Hale, in the first of 12 films he'd make with his friend, Errol Flynn). The ambitious Earl of Hertford (the always brilliant Claude Rains) investigates Canty's claim, and realizes, after interviewing the Captain, that the boy is telling the truth, giving him a golden opportunity to seize power. Ordering the Captain to find and kill the Prince, the Earl then threatens to kill Canty if he doesn't obey his commands.Things grow desperate for the young Prince, as he attempts to evade his murderous 'father' on the streets, until Miles Hendon (Flynn), a roguish but good-natured 'soldier-for-hire' comes to his aid. Offering his protection to the lad, Hendon thinks him a bit balmy, as well...until events (the child's obvious despair over the death of Henry VIII, the Palace search party, and a sword duel with the Captain, where Flynn KILLS Alan Hale!!!) convince him otherwise. Then it becomes a race against time to smuggle the real King into the Coronation, before Canty is crowned, and the Earl assumes "the Power behind the Throne".Blessed with a gifted cast, including wonderful character actor Montagu Love as the dying Henry VIII, the film offers a truly exceptional film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (who would eventually expand the theme into a symphonic work). Audiences have always been surprised that Errol Flynn's role is not larger, but as a faithful Twain adaptation, the focus had to be on the two boys, and not on the impoverished soldier. Flynn had fun playing Hendon, and the Mauch twins were nothing less than superb as the leads.With THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD less than a year away, and Errol Flynn's star continuing to ascend, the WB had every reason to celebrate, and THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER is a pleasure to watch, to this day!"
CLASSIC TWAIN ADVENTURE - GREAT LOOKING TRANSFER!
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 08/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Prince & The Pauper is based on the much loved Mark Twain classic. In a nutshell, the plot centers around twins, one the spoiled heir to the English throne, a other a begger with a heart of gold. When the two accidentally cross paths they become best friends and secretly trade places, much to the chagrin of one of the king's advisors (Claude Rains) who is plotting to kill the heir and take over himself. Enter into this fray a fortune hunter (Errol Flynn) who vows to set everything right for king, country and a healthy financial reward. It all ends pleasantly enough in a sword and swashbuckling sort of way.
WARNER HOME VIDEO gives us a handsome looking transfer that is sure to please. The gray scale has been impeccibly balanced with solid blacks and very nice renderings of fine detail. Certain scenes exhibit a touch of edge enhancement and a hint of pixelization, but nothing that will distract from this visually stunning film adaptation. The sound elements are somewhat disappointing by contrast. The main title sequence in particular sounds as though the music track was discovered under a rock. Nevertheless, dialogue - for the most part - is presented at an adequate listening level with only the slightest of pops, scratches and hiss.
EXTRAS: An essay and theatrical trailer - BIG DEAL!
BOTTOM LINE: The Prince & The Pauper is a visually stunning movie that, although straying somewhat from Twain's original intent, is nevertheless faithful enough to remind us why his name continues to be among America's greatest literary talents. The transfer is solid. I recommend this DVD!"
More in common with "The Man in the Iron Mask"
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 02/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a superb movie but it has little in common with the book by the same name. It more closely resembles Alexandre Dumas "The Man in the Iron Mask" than Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper". Errol Flynn and the Mauch twins are both great in this movie. Plenty of action for Flynn to show off his skills, and wonderful drama and comedy make it a family favorite. When a young poor street urchin swaps places with a prince a kingdom is almost lost. The Mauch twins do an excellent job of carrying both roles. They do an excellent job portraying a brat and a considerate boy. As good as Freddie Bartholomew in "Captains Courageous"."
RHYMES WITH TALK
scotsladdie | 11/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1937, the Brothers Warner acquired a unique movie property - identical twin boys named Bobby and Billy Mauch; they looked so much alike that only their mother could tell them apart. Inevitably, the studio decided to cast them in Mark Twain's THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER. The fanciful tale was not only a natural for the Mauchs but had great timeliness because it includes scenes of an English coronation. It's the story of mistaken idenity involving Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII, and Tom Canty, a beggar boy. The confusion begins when the Prince takes the Pauper to the palace to play and for fun they swap clothes. Beholding themselves in a mirror, they are amused in that they look exactly alike!............Errol Flynn does well in his role as Miles Hendon, a soldier of fortune and Claude Rains in excellent as usual. Although a lively, enjoyable comedy, this picture proves the Mauch Twins did not a great movie make, it is, however a colourful production nevertheless."
The Twain and the Movies Have Met
Michael King | New Hampshire Highlands | 05/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mark Twain's witty and delightful blending of historical fact forms the basis for this rousing "trading places" adventure in medieval London.
This is a film where you can turn off the picture and just listen to Erich Wolgang Korngold's wall-to-wall score, where each scene has its own theme, as do the leading characters. Korngold envisioned his film scores as operas without words, where he pitched his music to that of the actor's voices, the melody varying in tone and tempo to reflect their feelings. The climatic Coronation sequence, featuring St. Luke's Choristers, from Long Beach, CA, is spectacular. This was one of the composer's favorite scores, which he later reworked into Violin Concerto in D. Op. 35. (The Itzhak Perlman Edition, EMI records Ltd 2003).
If this weren't enough, the period settings, costumes and mise-en-scene are incredibly detailed and richly textured. The once-in-a-lifetime cast, headed by Errol Flynn, the remarkable Mauch twins, Claude Rains and a host of familiar Warners character actors, is impeccable.
Even Shawn, Prince Edward's giant Irish wolfhound, is a scene-stealer.
William Keighley's direction is first-rate, as is Sol Polito's black and white cinematography, where each set-up enhances the drama of the moment. The term Black and White is clearly a misnomer... never more apparent than in viewing this film, with its shimmering silver halide crystals, which have never been more beautifully presented on the screen. The transfer to DVD is stunning and the sound track comes through loud and clear on my system.
Hardly just a kids' film, this is one for the ages with its dark themes of poverty, child abuse, political skulduggery and talk of beheadings. Rest assured that all's well that ends well, with Errol Flynn coming to the rescue in the nick of time!
In the words of the N. Y. Times in its original review: "The novel and the screen have been bridged so gracefully that we can not resist in saying that the Twain and the movies have met.""