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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
Contrary to popular belief and what has been reported in filmographies for years, Wilfred Lucas' scenes as Alessandro have, in fact, not been deleted from the film. In the DVD commentary by Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann, they point out Lucas' role briefly in the opening scene as one of Diavolo's conspirators, hidden behind a false set of whiskers that has kept him from being identified by viewers for years, including in Bann's earlier filmography published in the book "Laurel and Hardy". See more »
Position of the noose during the hanging sequence. See more »
[to a Guard]
Leave us alone, or I'l tell Diavalo on you.
He doesn't mean Diavalo, sir; he means the Marquis de San Marco.
[realizes he's made the connection between the two]
See more »
Ollio is played by Oliver Hardy, but Stanlio is played by X. See more »
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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