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Count Rupert of Hentzau is the main antagonist of the 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda and its various film adaptations. He's Duke Michael's closest minion and ally towards helping him drug and hide his half-brother.

In the 1937 film adaptation he's portrayed by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Why He Rocks

  1. This character had an amazing impact on Douglas Fairbanks's career, as it started a swashbuckling trend in his career that continued into the 1940s. Also, Fairbanks is absolutely impeccable in his villainous role and he just disappears into his character.
  2. The villainous character is presented with a unique style that made him both charming and menacing at the same time. He's pretty much the archetypal lovable rogue as he can turn on as charismatic charm, but he does nothing to hide what an nasty man he is. He steals the show whenever he's onscreen.
  3. He manages to really stand out from just being another one of Michael's men thanks to his fearlessness, resourcefulness and affable demeanor and the fact that he lust for Antoniette eventually drove him into a fight with Michael that ended with Rupert killing him. Definitely not an easily forgettable character.
  4. He's very deceptive and unpredictable. Throughout the majority of the film, it seems like he's on Michael's side in disposing of the king and usurping for the throne, but in reality, he's really after Lady Antoniette. He's also a master planner as the chief enforcer of the scheme to overthrow the king and usurp for the crown. He's the one who drugged the king to make sure he missed his coronation, then after finding out that Rudolf V's identical cousin Rudolf Rassendyll was impersonating the king so the event would go on as planned, he lures Rassendyll into a trap while also attempting to seduce Michael's mistress Antoinette. He even manages to avoid getting captured in the end.
  5. He gets to show off even more of his gracefulness during the climax as he proves to be an incredible swordfighter during the battle with Rassendyll.

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