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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.



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

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vicomtesse de Lavedan
St. Eustache
Arthur Lubin ...
Joe Smith Marba ...
Innkeeper (as Joseph Marba)
Daniel G. Tomlinson ...
Emile Chautard ...


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


Ah, What a Picture! Enough important players to make a half-dozen features! (original ad) See more »


Drama | Romance






Release Date:

30 September 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bardelys el magnífico  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene with the romantic boat ride through the weeping willows was the result of impromptu providence. Director King Vidor showed up in a park in Pasedena, CA, to shoot the scene with no real plan on how to do it. At the park he was inspired when he saw the boat and willow trees. He then had his crew quickly construct a tunnel of willow branches. See more »


Bardelys: You are beautiful - - kind - - and clever. I had never hoped to find so many virtues - - in one woman -...
See more »


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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