6.3/10
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The Vagabond King (1930)

The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(operetta), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Arthur Stone ...
...
The Astrologer (as Thomas Ricketts)
...
Christian J. Frank ...
Executioner
Elda Voelkel ...
Girl
Dorothy Davis ...
Brunette
Thora Waverly ...
Brunette
Cecile Cameron ...
Brunette
Jean Douglas ...
Blonde
Eugenia Woodbury ...
Blonde
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Storyline

The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His hanging will be postponed for 24 hours, and in that time he must defeat the invading Burgundians and win the love of the beautiful Katherine. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

swashbuckler | operetta | See All (2) »

Taglines:

The most sensational move ever made in Motion Picture History! See more »

Genres:

Musical | Romance

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der König der Vagabunden  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ernst Lubitsch oversaw the retakes, including a battle montage near the end of the film, without credit. See more »

Connections

Version of François Villon (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

What France Needs
(uncredited)
Written by Sam Coslow, Newell Chase and Leo Robin
Sung by Dennis King and Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Onward, Onward, Swords Against The Foe, Forward, Forward The Lily Banners Go"
6 November 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The chance to see a major Broadway star recreate his role for the screen is an opportunity not to be missed. It's sad though that Dennis King was not given proper direction for the screen in his performance.

Of course he and Jeanette MacDonald sing the Rudolf Friml-Brian Hooker songs beautifully. We even get a bonus of Lillian Roth singing the Waltz Hugette which was a big hit for her. If you remember in the biographical film, I'll Cry Tomorrow, Susan Hayward as Roth sings that song among others identified with Roth on the soundtrack.

Probably a lot more of you remember the straight dramatic version of Justin Huntly McCarthy's play If I Were King that starred Ronald Colman eight years later. Seeing both I know where all the songs are, it's like seeing Pygmalion after you've seen My Fair Lady. The Colman version had a much lighter touch to it though. Dennis King played it as a stalwart hero, a little less of the rogue that Colman was.

O.P. Heggie was also a far more serious Louis XI than Basil Rathbone was, though I saw aspects in Heggie's performance that Rathbone no doubt imitated.

Probably The Vagabond King was done just a tad too early. The early sound recording techniques don't help and in a few years King would have learned to dial it down a bit for the screen. Take a look at his dramatic non-singing role as the country vicar in Between Two Worlds.

King was Rudolf Friml's favorite Broadway leading man. He was the original Mountie in Rose Marie for those of you thought the part originated with Nelson Eddy and besides The Vagabond King he also starred as D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers. For some reason that operetta was never made into a film and I wish it had. Even Dennis King playing it like he would for the stage would have been better than that awful thing with Don Ameche and the Ritz Brothers.

The Vagabond King is certainly a film for Jeanette's legion of fans and it is a chance to see a Broadway star recreate his role for the screen despite the flaws.


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