The Prisoner of Zenda is a classic mistaken-identity thriller. Rudolph Rassendyll, a dashing English gentleman travelling in Ruritania, bears an uncanny resemblance to its future monarch. This likeness draws him into a world of treachery, when Rassendyll is called upon to save the future King who has been imprisoned by his scheming brother 'Black' Michael. Packed with romance and swashbuckling action, the tale is considered by some to be the best adventure story ever written.
The ultimate escapist adventure story, The Prisoner of Zenda transports the listener into a bygone era, awash with swashbuckling heroism, cunning plots and courtly love. The popularity of Hope's tale of intrigue was such that is spawned an entirely new genre known as the 'Ruritanian romance'. When the King of Ruritania is kidnapped, the onus falls on a British tourist, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the King, to stand in for him and to avert disaster by coming to his rescue. The frequent replays of the film with Ronald Colman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. testify to the continuing popularity of this evergreen adventure. Andrew Pugsley's reading captures the excitement and the momentum.