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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:

Ludwig Berger, Ernst Lubitsch (uncredited)

Writers:

Brian Hooker (operetta), Herman J. Mankiewicz (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis King ... François Villon
Jeanette MacDonald ... Katherine
O.P. Heggie ... King Louis XI
Lillian Roth ... Huguette
Warner Oland ... Thibault
Arthur Stone ... Oliver the barber
Tom Ricketts ... The Astrologer (as Thomas Ricketts)
Lawford Davidson ... Tristan
Christian J. Frank Christian J. Frank ... Executioner
Elda Voelkel ... Girl
Dorothy Davis ... Brunette
Thora Waverly Thora Waverly ... Brunette
Cecile Cameron Cecile Cameron ... Brunette
Jean Douglas Jean Douglas ... Blonde
Eugenia Woodbury 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Musical | Romance

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The clip from this film shown in the 2004 miniseries Broadway: The American Musical (2004) marks the first time that any part of this film has ever been shown on television in color. It was long considered lost, and as of 2004 still has not been shown on TV in its entirety since its restoration. See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was also released as a silent, for theatres not yet equipped for sound and for overseas markets that were not receptive to musicals. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne
(uncredited)
Music by Rudolf Friml
Lyrics by Brian Hooker
Sung by Chorus
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Onward, Onward, Swords Against The Foe, Forward, Forward The Lily Banners Go"
6 November 2007 | by bkoganbingSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der König der Vagabunden See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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