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Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 30 September 1926 (USA)
Rafael Sabatini's story of the swashbuckling era and of Bardeleys, the handsome courtier who could win any woman he set his mind to...and was not above boasting about it to all who would listen.

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Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bardelys
...
...
Chatellerault
...
...
Vicomtesse de Lavedan
...
St. Eustache
Arthur Lubin ...
...
Lesperon
...
Rodenard
...
...
Castelrous
...
Lafosse
Joe Smith Marba ...
Innkeeper (as Joseph Marba)
Daniel G. Tomlinson ...
Emile Chautard ...
Anatol
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Storyline

In the court of French king Louis XIII, a courtier named Bardelys carries with him a grand reputation as an irresistible ladies' man. When another figure in the court, Chatellerault, fails to win the hand of the beautiful Roxalanne (whose family fortune the king wishes to bring under his control), Bardelys suggests that he could win the young woman's hand. Thus a bet is made, and Bardelys embarks on the pursuit of Roxalanne and her fortune. But intrigue and mistaken identity lead Bardelys into grave danger. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He loved like he fought - and he fought like the devil - the greatest lover - the greatest fighter in all France! (original ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bardelys el magnífico  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne, the reason this film was (almost) lost was that Rafael Sabatini, the author of the book, didn't sell the movie rights to MGM outright. Instead, he leased them for 10 years, and in 1936 MGM chose not to renew the lease because it decided that a silent film with a now-dead star no longer had commercial value. So, according to the terms of Sabatini's contract, MGM destroyed the negative and all known prints. See more »

Quotes

Bardelys: If they catch me, I'll lose my head - - and I have too good a head to lose.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Show People (1928) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Don Juan Of France
10 January 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Bardelys The Magnificent which put John Gilbert in strong competition with Douglas Fairbanks for screen's best silent swashbuckler is based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini who gave us much good material for those action adventure swashbucklers on the silent screen and in sound. We're far more familiar with work like Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and The Black Swan. Sad Bardelys The Magnificent never got a sound remake, the role would have fit either Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn perfectly. Especially Flynn because the story has elements of Don Juan which Flynn so successfully brought to the screen.

As the Don Juan of France, Gilbert as Bardelys is tricked into a wager with his court rival Roy D'Arcy that he can't get the hand of a young woman widely known for her virtue in those bawdy times of the court of Louis XIII. Later on through a combination of circumstances Gilbert arrives at Eleanor Boardman's estate incognito in the guise of a rebel to Louis XIII. He woos and wins her and as is usual in these romance stories actually falls for her. But you can already see he's got some real problems to win her.

John Gilbert was as dashing as any of the other noted swashbucklers of the screen. When dialog was given him when talkies started it was in these kind of roles that his voice did not record well and his career took a tumble. But seeing this you have no doubt of why he was considered a great screen lover. Eleanor Boardman is as virtuous as Mary Pickford or Lillian Gish ever were in their films and she wound up marrying the director of Bardelys The Magnificent, King Vidor.

For completists the restoration of Bardelys The Magnificent is of great interest to fans of John Wayne. The Duke no doubt under his real name of Marion Michael Morrison was an extra in this film. But with all the men wearing beards and mustaches as befit the period, I doubt you could spot him in crowd scenes. And Lou Costello probably under his birth name of Louis Cristillo is also an extra.

For Costello this would prove ironical because the actor playing Louis XIII is Arthur Lubin who later became a director of some note and he directed several early Abbott&Costello features, most notably their breakthrough film, Buck Privates.

The action highlight of the screen is John Gilbert's escape from the gallows which rivals anything that Douglas Fairbanks did in his film. There is some really clever use of a pike to aid Gilbert in his escape and I wonder if Gilbert did any of that work himself. No doubt MGM frowned on injuring his rather expensive body with these deeds.

Of course the real beneficiary of this restoration is John Gilbert and the legacy of work did for the big screen. Bardelys The Magnificent is an expertly staged well done piece of cinema.


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