17 user 2 critic

The Vagabond Lover (1929)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical | 1 December 1929 (USA)
A zany musical about an amateur musician in search of work who impersonates a big band leader.




On Disc

at Amazon



Complete credited cast:
Jean Whitehall
Ethel Bertha Whitehall
Chief of Police George C. Tuttle
Mrs. Whittington Todhunter
Sport (as Eddie Nugent)
Danny O'Shea ...
Alan Roscoe ...
Jay Stein - 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 <genart@volcano.net>

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?


This was one of the earliest of the more than 700 titles included in the RKO Radio feature film package released to television in late 1955 by the C&C Television Corp. Because of its age, telecasts were few and far between, but determined viewers were rewarded with its broadcasts in Pittsburgh Friday 27 December 1957 on KDKA (Channel 2), in Washington DC Wednesday 18 June 1958 on WTTG (Channel 5), and in San Francisco Monday 16 November 1959 on The Late Show on KPIX (Channel 5). It now receives an occasional airing on Turner Classic Movies, most recently Tuesday 14 June 2016 as part of their tribute to their Star of the Month, Marie Dressler. See more »


Opening Title Card: Every small town has its small town band with big town ideas.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Marie Dressler Steals the Show
8 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Vagabond Lover was an early all-talkie film (1929) that starred the current singing rage, Rudy Vallee. He plays the leader of a small-town band determined to make the big time. The band travels to Long Island to crash the home of noted band leader, Ted Grant. Of course, snoopy society matron (Marie Dressler) mistakes them for the all-star band and invites them to play at her musicale. In her rivalry with fellow matron (Nella Walker), Dressler will not stop at anything to "one up" her. The band plays well, and Vallee instantly falls for Dressler's niece, Sally Blane. OK plot, but the main setback is Vallee: he's a lousy actor, his singing seems thin, and he has a strong lisp. But Dressler makes up for it, stealing the film from the novice actor. By today's standards, she overacts, but she's so funny and lively, it's hard to find fault. Blane is pretty but no great actress. Malcolm Waite plays the real Ted Grant, Charles Sellon is the local cop, Edward Nugent and Danny O'Shea are band members, and Gladden James, once a silent-screen star (The Social Secretary with Norma Talmadge in 1916) plays one of the reporters.

The title song is sung over the opening credits. "I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now," "I Love You, Believe Me, I Love You," "Georgie Porgie," "If You Were the Only Girl in the World, and I Were the Only Boy," "A Little Kiss Each Morning, A Little Kiss Each Night," "Sweetheart, We Need Each Other," and "I'll Be Reminded of You" are the songs. A couple are well remembered. "Sweetheart, We Need Each Other" was also a featured song in 1929's smash hit, Rio Rita, sung by Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee (and in a better rendition).

This is Dressler's talkie debut in a feature. The same year, she starred with Polly Moran in a talkie short, Dangerous Females and appeared in the all-star Hollywood Revue of 1929. After having been a star on early films (Tillie's Punctured Romance, etc.) Dressler was on the comeback trail in 1928 (The Patsy with Marion Davies). Talkies cemented her return to stardom, and Dressler would be a top box office star within a year. Everything she appeared in was a hit (Anna Christie, Let Us Be Gay, etc.) and she resumed top billing in star roles, winning an Oscar for Min and Bill.

Blane would have a so-so career, eclipsed by her sister, Loretta Young. Vallee would re-surface in the 40s in comedies like The Palm Beach Story and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. Handsome Edward Nugent would linger for another decade but never made much of a splash. And Nella Walker would have a long career playing society ladies.

This film is certainly worth watching but is a disappointment. Vallee does NOT use his famed megaphone (it might have helped), nor does he sing his hit version on "The Stein Song" (from the University of Maine). Vallee attended both the University of Maine and Yale.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: