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.
Of the three features L&H made based on operettas - The Devil's Brother (Auber's 'Fra Diavolo'), The Bohemian Girl (ibid, Balfe & Bunn), and Babes In Toyland (ibid, Sigmund Romberg) - I feel that this one shows off The Boys' comic abilities the best. James Finlayson, an L&H regular, is in his usual fine form, and Thelma Todd is marvelously coquettish. James C. Morton, who appeared so often as a policeman in so many of the L&H shorts, does a brilliant turn in the tiny part of the woodchopper. Best moment: Stan, ordered to hang Ollie, tightens the noose around his neck prior to hauling him up. "Stop that! You're choking me!" complains Ollie.
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