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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Beloved Rogue (1927)

Francois Villon (John Barrymore), the most beloved poet in 15th century France, is also both a notorious womanizer, lover of fine wine and a patriot. When the weak King Louis XI (Conrad Veidt, CASABLANCA) allows the Duke of Burgundy (W. Lawson Butt) to take the King's beautiful ward Charlotte (Marceline Day) for his bride against her will (and also nearer to the throne of France), Villon attempts to save France from the ambitious Duke's plans for taking the throne while romancing Charlotte himself. Barrymore is wonderfully charming here in this entertaining swashbuckler. Since he lacks the physical grace of Douglas Fairbanks, the swashbuckler of the silent era, Barrymore wisely concentrates on his comedic skills and roguish charms rather than duels though he does his share of jumping off parapets and leaping off roofs. Veidt's impersonation of Louis XI is a bit odd. He looks like he's auditioning for RICHARD III! Directed by Alan Crosland (who directed Barrymore in DON JUAN) and with Slim Summerville, Angelo Rossitto and Henry Victor.

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