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Paul Bern (screenplay)
George Marion Jr. (titles) ...
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Release Date:
12 March 1927 (USA) See more »
François Villon, in his lifetime the most renowned poet in France, is also a prankster, an occasional criminal, and an ardent patriot. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
This Week On DVD and Blu-ray: July 7, 2009
 (From Rope Of Silicon. 7 July 2009, 2:16 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Two hams and some hard-boiled eggs See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

John Barrymore ... François Villon

Conrad Veidt ... King Louis XI

Marceline Day ... Charlotte de Vauxcelles
Lawson Butt ... Duke of Burgundy

Henry Victor ... Thibault d'Aussigny

Slim Summerville ... Jehan
Mack Swain ... Nicholas
Angelo Rossitto ... Beppo - the Dwarf
Nigel De Brulier ... Astrologer
Lucy Beaumont ... Villon's Mother
Otto Matieson ... Olivier (as Otto Mattiesen)

Jane Winton ... The Abbess
Rose Dione ... Margot
Bertram Grassby ... Duke of Orleans
Dick Sutherland ... Tristan l'Hermite
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Martha Franklin ... Maid (uncredited)
Stubby Kruger ... (uncredited)

Dickie Moore ... Baby Francois (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Crosland 
Writing credits
Paul Bern (screenplay)

George Marion Jr. (titles) and
Walter Anthony (titles)

John Barrymore  uncredited
Paul Bern  story

Cinematography by
Joseph H. August (photographed by) (as Joe August)
Film Editing by
Hal C. Kern 
Art Direction by
William Cameron Menzies 
Production Management
Walter Mayo .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gordon Hollingshead .... assistant director
Paul Malvern .... stunt double: John Barrymore (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Melbourne Spurr .... publicity photographer (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Frank Donnellan .... wardrobe manager
Other crew
Bryan Foy .... comedy construction (as Bryant Foy)
Ned Mann .... technical director (as Ned Herbert Mann)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
99 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Silent (musical score)
Canada:G (Ontario)

Did You Know?

Exterior sets from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923/I) appear throughout the King of Fools sequence.See more »
Continuity: When Francois Villon is stripped and whipped in the dungeon the lacerations on his torso move between shots.See more »
François Villon:Happy is Paris, where fools reign once a year - while everywhere else the fools reign all the time!See more »
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23 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
Two hams and some hard-boiled eggs, 26 August 2002
Author: boblipton from New York City

Superb silent version of the story of Francois Villon. Although remade in the thirties as IF I WERE KING, with Frank Lloyd directing, Preston Sturges scripting and Ronald Colman starring, this version is even better. Barrymore, with a cohort of comedians, plays the comic fool and the wine-depressed Villon with a verve that Colman could not match. The photography is startling in its beauty and innovation and the supporting cast, particularly Conrad Veidt in his American premiere, the incredibly beautiful Marceline Day, and the supporting comics, Slim Summerville and Hank Mann, steal every scene they are in.

It is a shame that Barrymore did so few first-rate comedies. Among his sound films, only his lead in TWENTIETH CENTURY and his supporting role in MIDNIGHT can compare to this, and those stand up only because of his superb voice. In this silent movie, Barrymore must tell his tale without benefit of words, and he does so, alternately hilariously unrecognizable as the King of the Fools and tenderly as Villon in love. He even gets to leap around in the swashbuckling style of Fairbanks, most convincingly. He also lets his supporting cast have their share of glory, capering in this ensemble work like any talented comic of the era.

Finally, a brief word about Alan Crosland, a director known today only for directing the first talking feature, THE JAZZ SINGER in the same year this was released. Crosland was a careful, innovative, delightfully original director, and it is a shame that more of his works are not known. Perhaps this movie, far more interesting as a movie than his best-known work, will be your introduction to his other talents. If so, you could do far worse.

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