Bardelys the Magnificent

Die Galgenhochzeit
In 17th century France, the Marquis de Bardelys, a charming womaniser and favourite of the king, lays a wager that he can wed the beautiful but prickly Roxalanne, the daughter of a landowner who opposes the court. Disguised as a wanted insurrectionist, he gains her trust – and then her love. But when Roxalanne sees through the masquerade, she betrays him to his pursuers and he is threatened with the gallows … In Bardelys the Magnificent, John Gilbert plays the role normally reserved for Douglas Fairbanks, breezily outdoing the latter’s already grand flourishes. King Vidor uses the chance of this, his only swashbuckler film, to poke gentle fun at the genre. The sword fights and chases end in a finale full of implausibility, with the camerawork itself becoming increasingly unbound as the action grows more turbulent. And yet Bardelys the Magnificent also contains one of the most romantic and best-known scenes in all of the director’s oeuvre, as the two lovers float languidly in a rowboat through a canopy of overhanging willows. Until the film, long thought lost, was found and then restored in 2007/2008, only a shorter clip of the scene existed, which Vidor used in Show People.
by King Vidor
with John Gilbert, Eleanor Boardman, Roy D’Arcy, Lionel Belmore, Emily Fitzroy, George K. Arthur, Arthur Lubin, Theodore von Eltz, Karl Dane, Fred Malatesta
USA 1926 English intertitles 90’ Black/White & Tinting


  • John Gilbert
  • Eleanor Boardman
  • Roy D’Arcy
  • Lionel Belmore
  • Emily Fitzroy
  • George K. Arthur
  • Arthur Lubin
  • Theodore von Eltz
  • Karl Dane
  • Fred Malatesta


Director King Vidor
Screenplay Dorothy Farnum
Story Rafael Sabatini Bardelys the Magnificent (1905)
Cinematography William Daniels
Editing Conrad A. Nervig
Art Director Cedric Gibbons, James Basevi, Richard Day
Costumes André Ani, Lucia Coulter
Assistant Director Harold Bucquet

Produced by

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp. (Loew’s, Inc.) (King Vidor’s production)

Additional information

DCP: Lobster Films, Paris

King Vidor

Filmography (selection)

1919 The Turn in the Road; Lost film 1925 The Big Parade (Die große Parade) 1928 The Crowd (Ein Mensch der Masse) 1929 Hallelujah 1934 Our Daily Bread (Der letzte Alarm) 1938 The Citadel 1940 Northwest Passage (Nordwest-Passage) 1947 Duel in the Sun (Duell in der Sonne) 1949 The Fountainhead (Ein Mann wie Sprengstoff) 1956 War and Peace (Krieg und Frieden) 1959 Solomon and Sheba (Salomon und die Königin von Saba)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020