The Prisoner Of Zenda 1922 silent film ImagiNations


Meanwhile back in Zenda …

I watched a free YouTube copy of the Prisoner of Zenda 1922 silent film version (speeded up on the right corner click replay to 1.5 / 1.75)


Leafy Strelsau


The bad guys in black helmets – Teutonic looking Black Cuirassiers, who play no further role in the film whatsoever …  all dressed up and nowhere to go, nothing to do …
The good guys – the White Guard at the Coronation … hardly seen after this.
A Hollywood mix of Balkan romance uniforms … Tarlenheim (right)

IMDB entry with crew list and trivia

Taster Clips of several film versions of Zenda exist, the 1937 ones onward seem to be available online or DVD. So you would have to buy them. Must track the Peter Sellars 1979 one down.

I could not find this 1922 MGM movie in UK playable DVD form so hopefully not infringing anyone’s copyright by watching.

One of several Youtube links to entire film (admittedly with adverts)

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 21 May 2020

13 thoughts on “The Prisoner Of Zenda 1922 silent film ImagiNations”

  1. I do like the stills you have posted, very evocative of the world of imaginations.. I have a liking for them “Student Prince” which I can never quite fathom out as it is not the best of films. Jan and I liked the Audrey Hepburn films that have spies and/ or an imagination in it, can’t recall the name. I always feel “Passport to Pimlico” has great gaming potential in it or as a scenario springboard. Wednesday afternoon was free from classes and Filmhouse in Edinburgh charged us students 50p so I went to anything and everything, the good ,the bad and the ugly. Got out of the habit of cinema going ( except for children’s films) as the family grew up and was just getting back into it when I retired prior to the Corona virus.
    Films often play a part in how I visualise m y games. Aguirre Wrath of God for example and the scenes on the raft is in my mind as I paint Renaissance stuff for example and Victorian through Nosferatau. I try to not see Middle Earth through the films however.
    P.s blogger is odd this morning. I wrote a long rambling reply to your reply and then it vanished, very odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Student Prince again pure chocolate box soldier Ruritanian – one for the Costume Depertment to play.
      I too a student went to every cheap film foreign or otherwise but have not kept this hobby up the last 15 years. A film visit is still a bit of an event / rarity. Passport to Pimlico is a lovely ensemble cast film and period piece. Nosferatu – silent 1922 version? very good odd film


      1. Definitely worth a read if you can get a copy. I read her books as a child and they have shaped some of my ideas!


  2. Great stuff! I may have mentioned I’ve been researching Ruritania with a view to developing my own imagi-nation vision in miniatures, maybe even wargaming them. I thought that my Marlburian figures could stand as early 18th century Ruritanians, the 2nd novel in the Ruritanian series being set in the 1720s-30s.

    There’s not much reference to the uniforms in the books so this is interesting. I wonder then if the white guard and the black cuirassiers could be represented in Marlburian form…?


    1. I think the Zenda film uniforms are wonderfully lazy. Bunch of old pickelhaubes, two a penny after WW1.
      My late Mum and Dad said that as children in the 1930s people in local streets in London used pickelhaubes hung upside down as hanging baskets outside their front doors.
      The tricorne predecessor to Zenda Ruritanian 19th Century could be interesting! I look forward to seeing what you do with this. Often just creative reflagging is all that is required.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s interesting. I recall my grandad for some time used a gurkha kukri knife to trim his lawn (he served in India in WWII). Swords to ploughshares, you might say.


  3. The Merry Widow is another couple of good early Ruritanian films, set vaguely in Serbia (as the hero’s name is Danilo.) I don’t remember much of the militaristic elements in it, but it could provide some inspiration. Saw lots of these on the Turner Classic Movies channel in college.

    Have nearly completed my North Point paper figures, with Portuguese standing in for Maryland militia and Brits in white facings for Royal Marines.

    I did get in touch with Bold Frontiers. The shipping is tremendous but I think I will go in for a couple packs.


    1. Of Forest Trees and ImagiNations …
      Thanks – I shall add or introduce The Merry Widow to The Student Prince in my line of Ruritanian ImagiNations films to track down along with different film versions of The Prisoner of Zenda.
      Good to hear that you can use your quiet empty library time productively to plan complete the next library gaming sessions. The uniform switch should not be a problem. At a distance many troops on campaign after months would end up faded and shabby, looking pretty similar to many others. One article I read in the 80s suggested buying figures in greatcoats and shaky covers and using them as most nations, just having additional flags to vary the nationality. Inspired, visually Dull but workable. It works well with ImagiNations, dual flagging.

      Bold Frontiers Trees – well worth it I think for your kind of public library youth orientated Games. I mentioned you and what you did when I emailed Chris Lynch their creator a few days ago with pics of my forest skirmish as we were discussing rules etc, how his Junior General rules compare to Close Wars. Hopefully you will hear back from him positively re. Supply and shipping etc.
      I have now sat down, written both rule sets out longhand (as I used to from borrowed library books) and mapped them into my head. I have yet to run a skirmish scenario with his JG Infantry starter rules which owe much to simpler spirit of Wells / Featherstone.
      I have now painted in forest green the top sections of the low flat marker trees to make them more photogenic. Some of my artist friends and family (who it has to be said are not gamers) have mentioned not liking the white outlines of the trees but I argued that this is what gives them their 3D pop up children’s story book feel. As if my Wellsian childish excuse for Wargames need any realism …


  4. I just discovered an Australian animated version of Prisoner of Zenda on Youtube! Doesn’t seem to have many soldiers in it – Michael’s henchmen are Cockney thugs with small brains.


    1. Interesting. There are barely any soldiers in the 1922 silent version (which was not the first) – small cast, few uncredited extras – lots of henchmen and soldiers needs extra animation or cash. In the book Michael has the Six henchmen including Rupert of Henzau, including a dubious Englishman. In the 1922 he has the Three, obviously a budget version.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s