In sixteenth century London, a prince and a pauper are born on the same day. Ten years later, beggar boy Tom (Billy Mauch) takes shelter in the king’s castle where he meets Prince Edward (Robert Mauch). The boys play together, and noting their close resemblance, switch clothes for fun. Then the king’s guard (Hale) throws out the pauper, not realizing he’s the real royal. Edward befriends rakish squire Miles Hendon (Flynn) who becomes convinced that the boy is telling the truth. Together they must outwit the evil Earl of Hertford (Rains) who has his own designs on the throne.
Mark Twain’s classic novel gets the royal treatment in Keighley’s fun-filled tale of mistaken identities and political intrigue. Flynn received top billing after his back-to-back successes in “Captain Blood” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” but only makes his entrance at the one hour mark. Still, his dazzling charm and swashbuckling bravura make every second he’s on screen count. The Mauch twins are exceptional (they were just 12 years old at the time of filming), going head to head with the inimitable Rains as the villainous Earl and silent film star Love as King Henry VIII. In this film, character actor Hale makes his first of eleven appearances alongside Flynn. Beware of the remakes; the original is the one to treasure!