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The Vagabond King (1930) DVD-R


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Starring Dennis King, Jeanette MacDonald, O.P. Heggie, Lillian Roth,
Warner Oland
Directed by Ludwig Berger

Print: black/white
Runtime: 104 min.
Genre: musical
Print Quality: B

The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon,
sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about
him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His hanging will be postponed for 24
hours, and in that time he must defeat the invading Burgundians and win
the love of the beautiful Katherine.

The movie, The Vagabond King is set in the year 1461. An earlier version of the movie, The Vagabond King was released in 1930. The military forces of Charles, Duke of Burgundy gather outside the gates of Paris. King Louis XI is warned that the defense of the city is very weak as the unpaid mercenaries of the king are deserting in groups. Louis is informed that he has to form an alliance with the poet-thief, Francois Villon who is known as the king of vagabonds. The king does not agree to this condition as Villon had insulted him previously in various poems. Louis goes with his chancellor, Tristan to the Fir Cone tavern and witnesses Thibault, his provost marshal meet Rene, a spy and receive a list of people who are loyal to Burgundy. Villon informs the disguised Louis that he will overthrow the king soon. Villon and Thibault are involved in a duel. Thibault is saved from being killed by the Parisian troops and he and Rene escape to join Burgundy’s men. Villon is arrested by Louis in spite of requests by Huguette, a woman at the tavern. Thibault informs Burgundy that Louis plans to stay in Paris and fight against him.

Burgundy informs his troops to burn the farms surrounding Paris in the hope that the King will starve and that the Parisians will turn against the King. Villon taunts the King by singing one of his poems and the King challenges him that if he defeats Burgundy, he will be freed. Under the assumed name of Count de Montcorbier, Villon frees his friends from prison and courts Lady Catherine de Vaucelles, whom he had admired previously. She is also one of Louis’ ladies-in-waiting. She becomes angry when she learns that she is to be married to Villon whom she assumes to be a traitor. However, she changes her mind when Thibault arrives in Louis’ court to demand the king’s surrender. Thibault is sent by Villon back to Burgundy on a donkey. Soon, Burgundy marches his troops towards Paris. Villon suspects General Antoine de Chabannes to be a traitor, so he requests the king to hold a royal ball in the palace. This would help to reassure the Parisians of their king’s victory as well as find out the traitors in the palace. At the Fir Cone tavern, Rene tries to instigate the vagabonds against Villon. Villon is saved from being killed by Ferrebouc, the captain of Louis’ guards.

Villon returns with Huguette to the Fir Cone where he organizes an army to fight against Burgundy. The Duke is soon captured by Villon and his men. During the battle, Huguette sacrifices her life to save Villon. Louis soon passes an order that as a result of saving Paris, Villon and Catherine are to be married. The film, The Vagabond King starred Oreste and Kathryn Grayson in the lead roles of Villon and Catherine. The movie was distributed by Paramount Pictures and ran for duration of 88 minutes. It was released in the year 1956 and was initially staged as an opera.

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