Delightful Rogue, The (1929): Early Sound Adventure Starring Rod La Rocque

This romantic adventure film is directed by A. Leslie Pearce, from a screenplay by Wallace Smith, based on his short story, A Woman Decide, which had originally appeared in Cosmopolitan.

The film stars Rod La Rocque as a modern day pirate in the South Seas. La Rocque had been playing similar style adventurers in silent films, and this film attempts to replicate their success, using RCA’s early, primitive sound equipment, the Photophone system.

Lastro plays a modern day pirate, who hijacks a yacht and heads into the tropic port of Tapit; he’s wanted for murder and robbery. Upon arrival, he is recognized by the local native leader Junipero, who takes a bribe to not turn him in.

While in Tapit, he is smitten by the American dancer Nydra, who’s also being pursued, by Harry Beall, the heir to a wealthy American family.  Nydra is intrigued by Lastro’s self-assurance and audacity.

Lastro is betrayed by Junipero, who brings the police. To secure his escape, Lastro takes Beall as hostage back to his yacht. Nydra begs Lastro to let Beall go, which Lastro agrees to if Nydra spend the night with Lastro in his yacht’s cabin

However, Beall has spent the night imagining the worst, and his jealous reactions turn turn Nydra off. Disgusted with his conduct, she leaves with the gallant pirate, Lastro.

There is one song, “Gay Love,” written by Oscar Levant and Sidney Clare.  After the film’s release, Bing Crosby recorded a version of “Gay Love” on the B-side of “Can’t We Be Friends” on a Columbia Records.

Cast

Rod La Rocque as Lastro, the Pirate

Rita La Roy — Nydra

Charles Byer — Harry Beal

Ed Brady — MacDougal

Sammy Blum — Junipero

Bert Moorhouse — Nielson