The Vagabond Lover (1929)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  1 December 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 147 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:
Jean Whitehall
Ethel Bertha Whitehall
Charles Sellon ...
Chief George C. Tuttle
Mrs. Whittington Todhunter
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Sport (as Eddie Nugent)
Danny O'Shea ...
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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 »


If You Were the Only Girl in the World
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Nat Ayer
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
Played by The Connecticut Yankees
Sung by Rudy Vallee
See more »

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User Reviews

Marie Dressler and the music save this film
27 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is for those who are interested in early talkies, and early talkie musicals in particular. If you are not in that group, then skip this film.

The plot has Rudy Bronson (Valee) and his band going to Long Island to attempt to audition for Ted Grant, who has loaned his name to a musical correspondence course that Bronson took and according to a newspaper clipping is looking for new talent. Promptly thrown out by the butler, the band members decide to break into Grant's home through the garden entrance, set up their instruments, and play for Grant anyway. However, Grant has already left to go back to New York. A series of misunderstandings has Bronson mistaken for the famous Grant by a neighbor, Mrs. Ethel Bertha Whitehall (Marie Dressler). A series of musical performances and comic misunderstandings later, and Mrs. Whitehall's niece has fallen for Bronson, with everyone still thinking he is Ted Grant. However will he get out of this dilemma?

The musical performances are quite good and include several big hits of that time including the title song which Valee also performs in "Glorifying the American Girl" which also came out in 1929. There is also a dancing performance by a group of chorus girls that involves some interesting formations that are photographed from a top view several years before Busby Berkeley made this sort of thing an art form. Rudy Valee and the other players leave much to be desired in the acting department, leaving plenty of room for Marie Dressler to steal the show as the comic society matron.

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