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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.


Marshall Neilan


James Ashmore Creelman (by)

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Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees perform a short program, in the style of his shorter radio programs.

Director: Joseph Santley
Stars: Rudy Vallee, The Connecticut Yankees


Complete credited cast:
Rudy Vallee ... Rudy Bronson
Sally Blane ... Jean Whitehall
Marie Dressler ... Ethel Bertha Whitehall
Charles Sellon ... Chief of Police George C. Tuttle
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Whittington Todhunter
Edward J. Nugent ... Sport (as Eddie Nugent)
Danny O'Shea Danny O'Shea ... Sam
Alan Roscoe ... Jay Stein - Grant's Manager
The Connecticut Yankees 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


His Songs of Love Enchantment Echo In a Hundred Million Hearts! (Print Ad- Pittsburgh Sunday Sun-Telegraph, ((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 22 December 1929) See more »


Comedy | Musical


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 December 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jazztrubaduren See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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 »


Stevens - Reporter: Now, in the interests of The Police Gazette, might I ask you, if your niece has ever been photographed in a bathing suit?
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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 »

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User Reviews

Profoundly Flawed But Interesting
10 September 2008 | by barnesgeneSee all my reviews

Let's face it, as a movie, this is not persuasive. The principles of enunciating for the stage simply overwhelm the intimate sonics that even this incredibly early talkie were capable of producing. Almost immediately, subsequent movie directors understood the difference between stage and screen and made the corrections. Still, it's hard to believe that some of these scenes could not have been re-shot with more natural acting, once they saw the rushes. (I'm thinking they simply didn't think the delivery of lines would be that important in talkies. "Hey, they're talking! Ain't that enough?")

The music is another matter. Yes, this is not jazz as the revisionist historians would have us understand it (i.e., a largely black phenomenon, with only the most perceptive whites getting it). But it's a mere 30 years from the Gay 90s (that's 1890's) song revolution, and the tug of the sentimental ditty still reached out to 1929 the way early rock still has its effect on rock in the new millennium. Don't judge it harshly. Music like this was an important bridge to the wider American public's tolerance, then acceptance, and finally love of what we now think of as a more pure form of jazz.

Marie Dressler, born 5 years after the end of the Civil War, turns in a stunning performance. All the faces she makes while pushing away the maid's efforts to use smelling salts on her -- pure virtuosity, all done in the blink of an eye. But she can't save the movie entirely. All those shots of wooden Rudy and his entourage -- I've seen more life in the Petrified Forest.

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