The Beloved Rogue

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The Beloved Rogue
Poster of the movie The Beloved Rogue.jpg
Original theatrical poster
Directed by Alan Crosland
Written by Paul Bern (adaptation & scenario)
Walter Anthony (intertitles)
Based onIf I Were King
by Justin Huntley McCarthy
Produced by Joseph M. Schenck
Starring John Barrymore
Cinematography Joseph H. August
Edited by Hal C. Kern
Art Cinema Corporation /
Feature Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • March 12, 1927 (1927-03-12)
Running time
10 reels
(9,264 ft)
CountryUnited States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

The Beloved Rogue is a 1927 American silent romantic adventure film, loosely based on the life of the 15th century French poet, François Villon. The film was directed by Alan Crosland for United Artists. [1] [2]


François Villon is played by John Barrymore, and other cast members include Conrad Veidt as King Louis XI and Marceline Day as Charlotte de Vauxcelles.

The story had been filmed in 1920 as If I Were King with William Farnum. The film was later re-made in the sound era again reverting to its original title If I Were King (1938) with Ronald Colman, and as an operetta in The Vagabond King (1930), and again in 1956.


François Villon is a poet and avid patriot whose father was burned at the stake. François is particularly committed to helping the oppressed and the weak. The Duke of Burgundy is out for the French throne. With cunning and deceit he tries to deceive the superstitious king, who is warned by his astrologers about a war with Burgundy. So the king also gives in to the demand that his ward Charlotte marry the Burgundian Count Thibault d'Aussigny.

On "All Fools' Day" François is elected King of Fools by the population. During the festivities, the Duke of Burgundy encounters the rabble and wants to end the celebration. François Villon recognizes the Duke and demands that the crowd remove him from his horse. The melee is interrupted by the arrival of King Louis and his entourage. The King, fearing an affront to the duke, banishes François from Paris. Soon thereafter, while Villon endures his banishment at a hostel outside of Paris, a wagon filled with food, which the Duke has sent to the King, stops outside of the hostel. Villon's desire to ridicule the King gets the better of him, and with his two loyal friends, Little Jehan and Nicholas, they steal the wagon in order to send the food to the people instead of the king. Climbing the treacherous walls of the city, they use the King's catapult to shuttle the food into town to care for the poor.

François is accidentally catapulted into the city. He ends up literally flying head first into the room of Charlotte de Vauxcelles. She and Count Thibault d'Aussigny have been forced to take refuge at an inn during a snow storm when Charlotte's sleigh breaks down. Entering the room to interrupt Charlotte's and Villon's encounter, the count pursues the surprised poet. A comical 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.

The full film

François is brought to Burgundy, tortured and, as a special wedding surprise, locked in a cage. Surprisingly, soldiers attack the king who has been convinced that the wedding is part of an intrigue against him. The soldiers free François and Charlotte, who now want to get married.


Cast member Dick Sutherland, like Rondo Hatton a couple of decades later, suffered from acromegaly.


According to "Hazard of the Game", an episode of the Thames documentary Hollywood , Paul Malvern, John Barrymore's stunt double, insisted on extensively testing a stunt involving a catapult and a net with sandbags before performing it, because he had doubts about the initial mathematics used for coordinating the stunt.


John Barrymore viewed the premiere of the film with a large picture palace audience. Unknown to the audience, he was standing at the back of the movie house. Barrymore apparently was discontented or bemused or perhaps being self-effacingly charming regarding his own performance, stating "what a ham".


The only surviving domestic print of The Beloved Rogue was found in John Barrymore's former mansion by its subsequent occupant, Edgar Bergen, who donated it to the American Film Institute. It was subsequently preserved by the Library of Congress.

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