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The Devil's Brother (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical | 5 May 1933 (USA)
Two wannabe bandits join the service of a dashing nobleman, who secretly masquerades as Fra Diavolo, a notorious outlaw.

Directors:

Hal Roach, Charley Rogers (co-director) (as Charles Rogers)

Writer:

Jeanie Macpherson (adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dennis King ... Fra Diavolo / Marquis de San Marco
Thelma Todd ... Lady Pamela
James Finlayson ... Lord Rocburg
Lucile Browne ... Zerlina
Arthur Pierson ... Lorenzo
Henry Armetta ... Matteo
Matt McHugh Matt McHugh ... Francesco
Lane Chandler ... Lieutenant
Nina Quartero ... Rita (as Nena Quartaro)
Wilfred Lucas ... Alessandro
James C. Morton ... Woodchopper
Stan Laurel ... Stanlio
Oliver Hardy ... Ollio
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Storyline

At Stanlio's urging, Ollio foists himself off as the dread singing bandit Fra Diavolo and unknowingly attempts to rob the notorious brigand himself. As punishment, Diavolo orders Stanlio to hang Ollio, but gives them a second chance when Stanlio bungles the job. Taking them on as his retainers, Diavolo travels to the Tavern de Cucu in his guise as the foppish Marquis de San Marco to rob the rich, aged Lord Rocburg and woo beauteous Lady Pamela. Stanlio drives Ollio and the innkeeper to distraction by playing "earsie kneesie nosie" and "finger wiggle," and gets drunk helping Ollio fill tankards of wine, sending him into an uncontrollable laughing fit. The boys plot to capture Diavolo but wind up with him in front of a firing squad. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the early eighteenth century, Northern Italy was terrorized by bandits. Boldest among the robber-chieftains was Fra Diavolo (The Devil's Brother), who masqueraded as the elegant Marquis de San Marco in order to mingle with the rich. Great lords lost their gold to him-great ladies their hearts. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Virtuous Tramps See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the wine cellar scene, it is so cold that Ollio's breath can be seen. See more »

Goofs

Position of the noose during the hanging sequence. See more »

Quotes

Ollio: What are you doing?
Stanlio: I'm playing kneesy-earsy-nosey.
Ollio: [Disapprovingly] Kneesy-earsy-nosey.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ollio is played by Oliver Hardy, but Stanlio is played by X. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original theatrical version had brief exit music. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Sherlock Hound: Chase the Airship White Silver! (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Fra Diabolo
(1830) (uncredited)
Music by Daniel-François Auber from his comic opera
Libretto by Eugène Scribe
Excerpts and arias Played and Sung throughout the movie
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Reportedly Stan Laurel's favorite, and mine, too
30 January 2005 | by rbsjrxSee all my reviews

As someone else mentioned, when Laurel & Hardy ventured into feature length films, they often adapted operettas. This is the best of the lot, although "The Bohemian Girl" runs a close second. This is L&H at the top of their form. I've seen every L&H film still extant, and this definitely ranks in the top five.

The plot stays fairly close to the operetta in most major details, but adds genius bits of comic business for Stan & Ollie. The catchiest tune in the original, the "Romanze" (or Diablo's theme) is retained and used as a center piece for some of the funniest bits in the show.

For those who can appreciate Stan Laurel's sublime comedic genius (he was the brains and creative force of the duo), I can't recommend this highly enough.


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