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The Vagabond Lover (1929)

Passed  -  Comedy | Musical  -  1 December 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 139 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A zany musical about an amateur musician in search of work who impersonates a big band leader.



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Complete credited cast:
Rudy Bronson
Jean Whitehall
Ethel Bertha Whitehall
Charles Sellon ...
Chief George C. Tuttle
Mrs. Whittington Todhunter
Edward J. Nugent ...
Sport (as Eddie Nugent)
Danny O'Shea ...
Alan Roscoe ...
Grant's Manager
The Connecticut Yankees ...
Musical Ensemble


College senior Rudy Bronson forms a band with other students and decides to take them to the Long Island home of Ted Grant, his mail order saxophone teacher. Grant and his manager, however, annoyed at Rudy's persistent attempts for admittance, flee to the city. The band makes one last attempt to enter the house by breaking down the door, but they are witnessed by the neighbor, Mrs. Whitehall and her charming niece Jean, who call the police thinking they are burglars. Sport, one of the band members, tells the policeman that Rudy is the famous Ted Grant and lost his key, and Rudy goes along with the deception to avoid jail. Rudy then accepts Mrs. Whitehall's invitation to perform at her upcoming benefit for orphans, because he has fallen in love with Jean. But what will happen, he worries, when Jean finds out the truth. Written by Arthur Hausner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 December 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jazztrubaduren  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rudy Vallee's movie debut. See more »


Then I'll Be Reminded of You
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Ken Smith
Lyrics by Edward Heyman
Performed by The Connecticut Yankees
Sung by Rudy Vallee
See more »

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User Reviews

Profoundly Flawed But Interesting
10 September 2008 | by (Virginia, U.S.) – See all my reviews

Let's face it, as a movie, this is not persuasive. The principles of enunciating for the stage simply overwhelm the intimate sonics that even this incredibly early talkie were capable of producing. Almost immediately, subsequent movie directors understood the difference between stage and screen and made the corrections. Still, it's hard to believe that some of these scenes could not have been re-shot with more natural acting, once they saw the rushes. (I'm thinking they simply didn't think the delivery of lines would be that important in talkies. "Hey, they're talking! Ain't that enough?")

The music is another matter. Yes, this is not jazz as the revisionist historians would have us understand it (i.e., a largely black phenomenon, with only the most perceptive whites getting it). But it's a mere 30 years from the Gay 90s (that's 1890's) song revolution, and the tug of the sentimental ditty still reached out to 1929 the way early rock still has its effect on rock in the new millennium. Don't judge it harshly. Music like this was an important bridge to the wider American public's tolerance, then acceptance, and finally love of what we now think of as a more pure form of jazz.

Marie Dressler, born 5 years after the end of the Civil War, turns in a stunning performance. All the faces she makes while pushing away the maid's efforts to use smelling salts on her -- pure virtuosity, all done in the blink of an eye. But she can't save the movie entirely. All those shots of wooden Rudy and his entourage -- I've seen more life in the Petrified Forest.

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