Beloved Rogue, The (1927): Silent Adventure Film, Starring John Barrymore

One of the cinematic highlights of 1927, The Beloved Rogue is a silent adventure, starring John Barrymore at the peak of his career.

Loosely based on the life of the 15th century French poet, François Villon, the movie was directed by Alan Crosland for United Artists.

Other cast members include Conrad Veidt (in his Hollywood debut) as King Louis XI, and Marceline Day as Charlotte de Vauxcelles.

The story had been made and remade many times. It was filmed in 1920 as If I Were King with William Farnum, then remade in the sound era with Ronald Colman. The tale was also used  as The Vagabond King in 1930, and then again in 1956

Devoted to helping the oppressed and the weak, François Villon is a poet and avid patriot whose father was burned at the stake.

With cunning and deceit, The Duke of Burgundy, who is out for the French throne, tries to deceive the superstitious king, who is warned by his astrologers about a war with Burgundy.  The king is also pressured that his ward Charlotte marry the Burgundian Count Thibault d’Aussigny.

On “Day of Fools” François is elected King of Fools by the citizens, who protest against the living conditions. The Duke wants to end the uprising, but is offended by François.  Fearing an affront to the duke, King Ludwig banishes François from Paris.

Assisted by friends, François steals a wagon with food that the Duke has sent to the King. They use a catapult to transport the food to the poor.

Meanwhile, Charlotte is waiting with her groom for the wedding to begin. The count pursues the surprised poet, and a battle ensues in which François defeats Thibault. Charlotte decides to run away with the poet, but François is captured and Charlotte surrenders to her fate.

François is brought to Burgundy, tortured and locked in a cage. The soldiers then attack the king who has been convinced that the wedding is part of intrigue against him. Freed by the soldiers, François and Charlotte now want to get married.

John Barrymore—François Villon
Conrad Veidt—King Louis XI
Marceline Day—Charlotte de Vauxcelles
W. Lawson Butt—Duke of Burgundy
Henry Victor—Thibault d’Aussigny
Slim Summerville—Jehan
Mack Swain—Nicholas
Angelo Rossitto—Beppo the Dwarf