- Sep 23, 2017
- Reaction score
I just saw "The Prisoner of Zenda" from 1937, which is so much better than almost most modern filmic or televisual versions of classic stories, because the casting and performances did not alter the novel's characters; the plot kept the traditional themes of gentlemanly chivalry, virtus and honour; and the hero and heroine's lovestory was noble, pure and romantic.
The adventure films of the 30s and 40s tend to be the best in my experience, mainly due to tight plotting, good casts and not allowing the action to swamp all other aspects of the film: Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, The Man in the Iron Mask, Count of Monte Cristo, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Mark of Zorro and most famously The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Not sure it is any faithfulness to the text, although it is sometimes there as I find that once they move into the 50s and colour a lot the films are just as 'faithful' but become po-faced and serious and lose the zest, drive and humour that sustain the earlier films.