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Bardelys the Magnificent
Directed by King Vidor
Written by Rafael Sabatini (novel)
Dorothy Farnum
Starring John Gilbert
Eleanor Boardman
Music by William Axt
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) 1926
Running time 90 min.
Country  United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

Bardelys the Magnificent is a 1926 silent romantic drama film directed by King Vidor starring John Gilbert and Eleanor Boardman, based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini. It was only the second film of the 19 year old John Wayne, who had a minor role. The film is mentioned in Saul Bellow's 1953 novel The Adventures of Augie March.

This was the only film opening Greta Garbo ever attended; she joined Norma Shearer, Irving Thalberg and John Gilbert.



The film is set in the reign of King Louis XIII. When Châtellerault fails to win the heart of the icy Roxalanne de Lavedan, he wagers his entire estate against that of Bardelys that Bardelys can't either. On the way to the Lavedan estate, Bardelys stumbles upon a wounded and dying man, Lesperon, who asks Bardelys to say farewell to his beloved but dies before telling him her name. Bardelys takes his papers and assumes his identity, only to find that Lesperon is a traitor to the king.

Bardelys, as Lesperon, encounters the king's soldiers who are hunting Lesperon, fights them, and escapes, badly wounded, to the castle of Lavedan. Roxalanne hides him from the king's soldiers and tends to his wounds. She nurses him to health and pledges her love, but when a guilt-ridden Bardelys refuses to marry her, she angrily turns him over to the king's men. Bardelys, still believed to be Lesperon, is brought to trial for treason—where Châtellerault is the judge. Châtellerault refuses to admit his identity and condemns him to death. Roxalanne finds Bardelys in prison, confesses her love, and marries Châtellerault in a desperate effort to save Bardelys' life. Bardelys escapes from the gallows just as the King arrives to confirm his identity. Châtellerault dies in a duel with Louis' men, and Bardelys and Roxalanne embrace.[1]


The film was considered lost for many years, the only surviving bits being the trailer and a brief excerpt in Vidor's Show People. A nearly complete print of the film was found in France in 2006, missing only reel three.[2] It was restored, using production stills to stand in for the missing section, and made available in 2008 for U. S. theatrical and DVD release.


See also


  1. ^ Plot summary at Turner Classic Movies
  2. ^ The Silent Era

External links



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