In 1461, French nobles fearing King Louis XI may seize their lands, join forces with the rebellious Duke of Burgundy to overthrow the king. One of the Duke's captains suggests enlisting the aid of Francois Villon who is known to oppose the king and is leader of the Vagabonds, a group that robs the rich to aid the poor. In league with Burgundy, Villon and two of his cohorts enter Paris, but are captured by the king's men. The king, recognizing Villon's power over the people, proposes that Villon defend Paris against Burgundy and help uncover traitors in the court. Written by
Ray Hamel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Louis, self-styled king, my Lord Burgundy and the noble members of the public will, in solemn session, have deemed you unsound of mind and body, unworthy to carry on the glorious traditions of our country. You have neither the confidence of the nobility nor the confidence of the people. Hardly able to rule, barely able to reign, you cling to the throne with an old man's perversity to the detriment of a great nation. Louis, your cause is lost. The Duke of Burgundy bids you surrender up this city...
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The Vagabond King did have the ingredients in the first place to be good. And it was. The story is rather old-fashioned and has a couple of dull spots, but I also think it is quite charming and well-meant too. You do forget that though when you see the lavish production values, the costumes, sets and photography are all gorgeous to look at, and hear the beautiful score and memorable songs that add so much to the film's quality. Song of the Vagabonds is especially catchy. The choreography and direction, apart from a couple of stage-bound moments, are otherwise skillful. The cast also add a lot. Kathryn Grayson is a charmer, Rita Moreno plays her role with both grace and fire and you can never go wrong with Vincent Price as narrator. The real surprise though was Oreste, handsome in looks, dashing in acting ability and ringingly resonant in voice, one does wonder why he like the film was forgotten afterwards. All in all, a very well-done film that is worthy of more appreciation. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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