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"The Beloved Rogue" is a historical romantic drama featuring John Barrymore and Marceline Day, a star of Silent Hall of Fame.
The film is by any measure a super production even in the contemporary meaning of the word. It has rich sets, enormous crowds, intriguing storyline that includes numerous adventures, such as roof jumping and catapult shooting and, yes, a beautiful romance that goes through agony to reach the final triumph.
The film has as its principal player John Barrymore, who portrays the 15th century French poet Francois Villon. Two preeminent movie personalities have expressed their strong opinion about John Barrymore’s acting in this film. The first one is Orson Wells, who, introducing "The Beloved Rogue", says:
“I better admit that I am prejudiced, and I have to preface my remarks by saying that John Barrymore was my idol, that he was one of the greatest actors of our century, and that he was one of my dearest friends, from early childhood to the last years of his life. So I am speaking as a friend and a great admirer when I say that he is not at his best in this feature.”
The second preeminent movie personality is John Barrymore, and he agreed with Orson Wells.
We are going to disagree with both of these distinguished film stars. John Barrymore produces a fine play in many episodes of the film, and his acting is an excellent effort.
The supporting male role is that of the German actor Conrad Veidt, portraying King Louis XI. Conrad Veidt does a very fine job in depicting this absolute monarch as a superstitious and hesitant ruler, who is forced to do the right thing and get rid of the threat to his throne only by the rebellion of the poor, instigated by Villon. For his loyalty the King rewards Villon with a new feather to write poems and with the girl of his dreams.
The supporting female role is entrusted to Marceline Day, who portrays brilliantly the haughty little countess Charlotte de Vauxcelles. All the extraordinary romantic appeal of the film, and of the whole film itself, is due to Marceline Day’s superb emotional acting in all romantic scenes, where she is ably supported by John Barrymore.
Marceline Day was recommended for this role to John Barrymore by his brother Lionel, with whom she played the year before, 1926, in the powerful drama “The Barrier”. Lionel Barrymore said that Marceline Day has “exceptional talent”. Below are a few critic reviews in support of this opinion:
Marceline Day shines brilliantly in innumerable scenes. (Northern Star)
The many scenes that reveal Barrymore and Marceline Day in romantic episodes are chockful of artistry and sincerity. (Morning Bulletin)
Marceline Day makes the film the most colorful, romantic screen story in the history of motion pictures. (Sunday Times)
Directed by Alan Crosland
Produced by Art Cinema Corporation
Written by Justin Huntley McCarthy(novel & play If I Were King)
Paul Bern (adaptation & scenario)
Walter Anthony (intertitles)
Starring John Barrymore, Marceline Day, Conrad Veidt
Cinematography Joseph H. August
Distributed by United Artists
Release date 12 March 1927
Running time 98 min.
Country United States
Language Silent film, English intertitles
You can see a slideshow of stills from this film and other interesting stuff on our website silent-hall-of-fame.org.
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