Friday, February 9, 2007

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER (Warner Bros. 1937) Warner Home Video

The Prince and The Pauper (1937) is based on the much loved Mark Twain classic. In a nutshell, the plot centers on twins: one, the spoiled heir to the English throne, Prince Tudor (Bobby Mauch); the other, Tom Canty (Bill Mauch) a beggar with a heart of gold. When these two accidentally cross paths they become inseparable. For the fun of it, they decide to secretly trade places, much to the chagrin of one of the king's advisors, the Earl of Hertford (Claude Rains) who is plotting to kill the heir and take over the throne.

Into this fray of royal intrigue comes fortune hunter, Miles Hendon (Errol Flynn). His wily spirit not withstanding, Hendon vows to set everything right - for king, for country and for the healthy financial profit it will derive.

It all ends pleasantly enough in a very un-Twain-like myriad of sword and swashbuckling and a coronation sequence that is probably one of the most lavish bits of spectacle ever put on film. The Mauch Twins never did much in Hollywood after this film – a genuine pity since they’re one of the reasons this film has retained its original luster for so many years since.

Warner Home Video delivers a solid looking transfer that is sure to please. The gray scale has been balanced with deep blacks and very clean whites. Fine detail is evident throughout. Certain sequences exhibit a hint of edge enhancement and pixelization, but nothing that will distract from this visually stunning adaptation. The sound elements are somewhat more disappointing. The main title sequence exhibits a muffled characteristic. Dialogue - for the most part - is presented at an adequate listening level with only the slightest of pops, scratches and hiss. Apart from an essay on sword play and the film’s theatrical trailer there are NO EXTRAS!

FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)



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