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Bardelys the Magnificent (1926)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 30 September 1926 (USA)
Rafael Sabatini's story of the swashbuckling era and of Bardeleys, the handsome courtier who could win any woman he set his mind to...and was not above boasting about it to all who would listen.


King Vidor


Rafael Sabatini (novel), Dorothy Farnum (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Director: King Vidor
Stars: Eleanor Boardman, James Murray, Bert Roach


Cast overview, first billed only:
John Gilbert ... Marquis Christian de Bardelys
Eleanor Boardman ... Roxalanne de Lavedan
Roy D'Arcy ... Comte de Chatellerault
Lionel Belmore ... Vicomte de Lavedan
Emily Fitzroy ... Vicomtesse de Lavedan
George K. Arthur ... Chevalier de Saint Eustache
Arthur Lubin ... King Louis XIII
Theodore von Eltz ... René de Lesperon
Karl Dane ... Rodenard
Edward Connelly ... Cardinal Richelieu
Fred Malatesta ... Castelrous
John T. Murray ... Lafosse
Joe Smith Marba Joe Smith Marba ... Innkeeper (as Joseph Marba)
Daniel G. Tomlinson Daniel G. Tomlinson ... Sergeant of Dragoons
Emile Chautard ... Anatol


In the court of French king Louis XIII, a courtier named Bardelys carries with him a grand reputation as an irresistible ladies' man. When another figure in the court, Chatellerault, fails to win the hand of the beautiful Roxalanne (whose family fortune the king wishes to bring under his control), Bardelys suggests that he could win the young woman's hand. Thus a bet is made, and Bardelys embarks on the pursuit of Roxalanne and her fortune. But intrigue and mistaken identity lead Bardelys into grave danger. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Screen's "Great Lover" in a Dashing Role See more »


Drama | Romance








Release Date:

30 September 1926 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bardelys el magnífico See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Long thought lost, a print of this film was discovered in a private collection in France and restored for a DVD release. It was missing its third reel, but scenes from the trailer and production stills were edited in via a continuity script. See more »


It is odd that loyalist and judge Chatellerault should propose marriage to a woman from what he know is a rebel family which is of such repugnance to the king that he forbids Bardelys from proposing to her. See more »


Bardelys: If they catch me, I'll lose my head - - and I have too good a head to lose.
See more »


Featured in Show People (1928) See more »

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User Reviews

King Vidor makes Bardelys Magnificent for John Gilbert
8 January 2011 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

"In an age of light loves and lively scandals, a certain gentleman of France excelled in the noble art of getting himself talked about," introduces us to womanizing swashbuckler John Gilbert (as Bardelys). When Mr. Gilbert meets beautiful and rich Eleanor Boardman (as Roxalanne), he is dared to settle down and get married, on a bet. However, Gilbert's "rival in fashion and love" Roy D'Arcy (as Chatellerault) is also determined to win Ms. Boardman's hand, on orders from the King...

If "Bardelys the Magnificent" had not been lost for most of the 20th century, it would have built a reputation as a highly regarded and influential classic. The MGM personnel is first class, led by director King Vidor and cameraman William Daniels. Writer Dorothy Farnum gives Rafael Sabatini's story a very witty adaptation. Comic relievers George K. Arthur (the original Mike Myers) and Karl Dane are used well; it was after this film that they teamed up as a successful comic duo.

Gilbert's rambunctious sensuality is at its peak. It may not have been discussed, but Greta Garbo admired this film and had Gilbert do a version of his "Bardelys" character for "Queen Christina" (1933); her relationship with Gilbert has been documented, but she was also close with underrated co-star Boardman and Mr. Daniels, who photographed both films. A great cast and crew doesn't always guarantee high art in motion pictures, but it happens here. Everyone and everything is stupendous.

Some great moments tease along the way to a majestic (approximately five minute long) sequence involving Gilbert's escape from beheading. Don't miss this part (after about 75 minutes of running time), you'll want to play it again. Helping make "Bardelys" magnificent, the "3-D"-like escape sequence is certainly one of Mr. Vidor's greatest accomplishments. Thanks to everyone who worked with Eric Lange, Serge Bromberg and David Shepard in making "Bardelys the Magnificent" available.

********** Bardelys the Magnificent (9/30/26) King Vidor ~ John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Roy D'Arcy, George K. Arthur

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