Cast & Crew
On the same day in 1537 that Edward Tudor, the son of King Henry VIII, is born in London, a poor boy named Tom Canty is born in the slums of London. As Tom grows, he studies with Father Andrew and dreams of a life apart from the beggers and thieves that surround him, while Edward, pampered by the luxuries of royal life, becomes curious about the real England. One night, when Tom hides in the palace yard to escape a driving rain, the two boys meet, realize there is a striking resemblance between them, and playfully exchange clothes. In the midst of a game, the Captain of the Guard mistakes Edward for the beggar-boy and throws him out of the palace. When the Earl of Hertford, the King's scheming advisor who hopes to be appointed Edward's Lord High Protector, discovers the switch, he seizes the opportunity to control the throne by forcing Tom to continue the pretense, allowing him to order the murder of the real Edward. The boy is befriended by Miles Hendon, a soldier of fortune who indulges the boy's "fantasies" that he is Prince of England. Soon the King dies, and Edward manages, with Miles's help, to escape Tom's vicious father, John Canty, and return to the palace. The coronation is in progress, but Edward proves himself by revealing the whereabouts of the Great Seal of England. Finally, the true Edward is crowned, Hertford is banished, Miles is recognized for his bravery, and Tom is made a ward of the court.
St. Luke's Choristers
Mrs. Wilfrid North
Humbert F. Greenwood
Frank S. Hagney
Catherine Chisholm Cushing
Leo F. Forbstein
Oliver S. Garretson
Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Willard Van Enger
Jack L. Warner
Western Costume Company
The Prince and the Pauper (1937)
The Prince and the Pauper (1937) is a classic adventure yarn, from the storybook opening sequence to scenes of 16th century palace life, royal intrigue and, of course, dashing swordplay between Errol Flynn and every miscreant who crosses his path. Based on Mark Twain's story of a youthful prince who exchanges identities with a pauper boy, The Prince and the Pauper stars Montagu Love (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938) as King Henry VIII, Claude Rains (Casablanca, 1942) as the treacherous Earl of Hertford, twins Bobby and Billy Mauch as Prince Edward and pauper lookalike Tom Canty, and Errol Flynn as Miles Hendon, a soldier of fortune who befriends the prince and restores him to his rightful throne.
Directed by Warner Brothers veteran William Keighley, The Prince and the Pauper was released in 1937, coinciding neatly with the fanfare surrounding the coronation of King George VI of England. Because Flynn's price was considered too high by the studio, the dashing swordplay and roguish charm of Miles Hendon was almost portrayed by Patric Knowles (The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1936) or George Brent (Dark Victory, 1939). Both were secretly tested for the role. Only Flynn had the verve the producers required, and the job was his. Flynn arrived on the set in January 1937 suffering from pneumonia and a sinus ailment. As a dashing hero in knee breeches and silver sword, Flynn's performance is none the worse for wear. Off-camera, he entertained the young Mauch twins by teaching them practical jokes.
Playing to Depression-era audiences, The Prince and the Pauper weaves populist themes with fantasy storytelling. The lavish coronation scene that concludes the film is studded with extras, the St. Luke's Choristers choir, and sumptuous costuming.
Director: William Keighley
Producer: Robert Lord, Hal B. Wallis (executive)
Screenplay: Laird Doyle, based on the novel by Mark Twain
Cinematography: Sol Polito
Editor: Ralph Dawson
Art Direction: Robert M. Haas
Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cast: Errol Flynn (Miles Hendon), Claude Rains (Earl of Hertford), Henry Stephenson (Duke of Norfolk), Barton MacLane (John Canty), Billy Mauch (Tom Canty).
BW-118m. Close captioning. Descriptive Video.
By Jessica Handler
The Prince and the Pauper (1937)
Freddie Bartholomew was originally considered for the central dual role. Instead, real-life twins Billy Mauch and Bobby Mauch were hired.
MGM bought the rights to Mark Twain's novel in 1935 for $100,000, but never filmed the story. Eventually, Warner Bros. secured the rights.
The coronation scene was on a set that duplicated Westminster Abbey and took seven days to shoot.
William Dieterle filled in as director when William Keighley got the flu. Similarly, photographer 'Barnes, George' took over as director of photography when Sol Polito fell ill.
This was the first of twelve films in which Errol Flynn and Alan Hale worked together. News items in Hollywood Reporter note that William Dieterle filled in for William Keighley when he was ill with the flu and George Barnes replaced Sol Polito while he was ill. Press notes in AMPAS files state that the twenty-minute coronation scene took seven days to film on a set that was a duplicate of Westminster Abbey. Time notes that six unnamed technical advisors worked on the coronation scene. Motion Picture Herald notes the film was released to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the coronation of British King George VI. According to Hollywood Reporter, M-G-M bought the rights to the Mark Twain novel for $100,000 in 1935 but never filmed the story. It was to have starred Freddie Bartholomew with a script by Howard Estabrook. Other versions of the Twain story include the 1909 two reel film produced by Edison and directed by J. Searle Dawley, Paramount's 1915 film starring Marguerite Clark in the dual role of the Prince and the pauper (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.3552), an Austrian film, Seine Majestat, Das Bettlekind directed by Alexander Korda, a Walt Disney version made for television and directed by Don Chaffee in 1962, another version in 1969, directed by Elliot Geisinger for Storyland Films, (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.3920), and Crossed Swords, produced by the Salkind Brothers in 1978 and directed by Richard Fleischer.