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The Beloved Rogue (1927)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, History | 12 March 1927 (USA)
François Villon, in his lifetime the most renowned poet in France, is also a prankster, an occasional criminal, and an ardent patriot.


Alan Crosland


Paul Bern (screenplay), George Marion Jr. (titles) | 2 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... François Villon
Conrad Veidt ... King Louis XI
Marceline Day ... Charlotte de Vauxcelles
Lawson Butt ... Duke of Burgundy
Henry Victor ... Thibault d'Aussigny
Slim Summerville ... Jehan
Mack Swain ... Nicholas
Angelo Rossitto ... Beppo - the Dwarf
Nigel De Brulier ... Astrologer
Lucy Beaumont ... Villon's Mother
Otto Matieson ... Olivier (as Otto Mattiesen)
Jane Winton ... The Abbess
Rose Dione ... Margot
Bertram Grassby ... Duke of Orleans
Dick Sutherland ... Tristan l'Hermite


In 1432, while François Villon is still an infant, his father dies as a martyr to his devotion to France. François grows up to be a renowned poet, an ardent patriot, and a notorious carouser who is not above criminal acts. During the revels of All Fools Day, he insults Duke Charles of Burgundy, for which King Louis XI, who is afraid of Charles, banishes Villon from Paris. In exile outside the city walls, François looks for ways to protect France from Burgundy's plots. When Charles plans to have one of his associates marry the king's ward Charlotte, Villon successfully disrupts the engagement, but for so doing is sentenced to death. But Villon finds a way to exploit Louis's superstitious nature long enough to give him another chance to serve France, while at the same time seeking the hand of Charlotte. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

france | patriot | king | burgundy | martyr | See All (16) »


This is BARRYMORE at the peak of perfection! (Print Ad- Evening News, ((San Jose, Calif.)) 12 July 1927)


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 March 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vagabond Lover See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Feature Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Silent (musical score)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Exterior sets from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) appear throughout the King of Fools sequence. See more »


When Francois Villon is stripped and whipped in the dungeon the lacerations on his torso move between shots. See more »


François Villon: Happy is Paris, where fools reign once a year - while everywhere else the fools reign all the time!
See more »


Version of The Vagabond King (1956) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the last great silent films
25 July 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

François Villon was a real-life poet and rogue who lived in Paris in the 15th century. However, most of what is portrayed in this historical film is actually fiction--from a play created at the beginning of the 20th century. Whereas in the film he met and became friends with Louis XI, in reality he died in his 30s and was never involved in all the intrigues like he was in this film. In reality, he wrote some lovely verse and was frequently on the wrong side of the law--not the combination of a patriot and Robin Hood-like character like he is in the film. Provided you know that the film is nearly 100% fiction, then it's well worth seeing--just don't assume it's a good history lesson.

In THE BELOVED ROGUE, Villon is played with wild abandon by John Barrymore. I was also pretty excited to see that his three friends were all played by very familiar faces. Angelo Rossitto, who was the plucky dwarf, played in tons of films over the years and had a very long career. Slim Summerville was a character actor known for adding a touch of comedy to films. Mack Swain is best known as the silent film foil in many of Chaplin's short films and played his partner in THE GOLD RUSH. All four of these men did a nice job and have no complaints---even with Barrymore's rather over-the-top treatment that was rather reminiscent of a Douglas Fairbanks performance. However, the performance I had a serious problem with was Conrad Veidt as King Louis XI. To call this "unsubtle" would be a gross understatement. He played the role like a high schooler who thought he was supposed to be the stereotypical Richard III--skulking about and acting like a demoniacal caricature. While Veidt was wonderful in many, many films (both silent and sound) but here he is just ridiculous.

As for the story, it's full of lusty adventure and action--like a swashbuckling film minus the sailing ships. The sets worked out well for all this, as they'd been used the previous year for THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Both films were set around the same time period.

Overall, it's one of the last great silent films. There's a lot to like and the film is a lovely combination of romance, comedy and action. Well worth seeing, though it loses a couple of points for Veidt's overacting as well as the way the film plays fast and loose with history.

By the way, this film was also made twice as IF I WERE KING (1920 and 1938) and apparently these two films are closest to the original play. However, in total, six films have been about Villon and tell, more or less, variations on the same tale!

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