German intertitles WriterMark Twain, Lajos Biro Release date19 November 1920 CastTibor Lubinszky, Franz Herterich Similar moviesCrossed Swords (1977)
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The Prince and the Pauper (German: Prinz und Bettelknabe) is a 1920 Austrian silent adventure film directed by Alexander Korda and starring Tibor Lubinszky, Albert Schreiber and Adolf Weisse. It is based on Mark Twain's 1881 novel The Prince and the Pauper about a poor boy who switches places with Edward, Prince of Wales in Tudor England.
The film's producer Alexander Kolowrat wanted to emulate the spectacle of Italian costume epics, and was particularly inspired by two recent German films, Madame Dubarry (1919) and Anna Boleyn (1920) by Ernst Lubitsch. It was Korda's first film after leaving his native Hungary and moving to Austria to work for Sascha-Film. He collaborated with the screenwriter Lajos Bíró, who had also been forced to leave Hungary, for the first time. They would go on to work together on twenty three films.
The film was largely praised on its release in Britain. Albert Schreiber's portrayal of Henry VIII was particularly praised for avoiding the buffoonery usually associated with the monarch. The critical reception was also favourable in Austria, Germany and the United States. The film's American release was delayed due to a legal dispute with an American company which was also planning a film version of the novel. Once it was eventually released it proved to be a great success.
The film's financial success in America inspired Korda towards his later ambitions to make "international films" which would have global market appeal, a strategy he put into place when working later in Britain which led to the worldwide success of his 1933 film The Private Life of Henry VIII.