It's 1938, but Stan doesn't know the war is over; he's still patrolling the trenches in France, and shoots down a French aviator. Oliver sees his old chum's picture in the paper and goes to... See full summary »
A band of Gypsies are camped outside the walls of Count Arnheim's palace. Oliver's wife kidnaps the Count's daughter Arline, then leaves the child and runs off with her lover, Devilshoof. ... See full summary »
It's Prohibition, and the boys wind up behind bars after Stan sells some of their home-brew beer to a policeman. In prison, Stan's loose tooth keeps getting him in trouble, because it ... See full summary »
The boys' Army buddy, Eddie Smith, is killed in the trenches in France, leaving his baby girl an orphan. Back home after Armistice, they try to find Eddie's father and turn the child over ... See full summary »
Stanley and Oliver are mousetrap salesmen hoping to strike it rich in Switzerland, but get swindled out of all their money by a cheesemaker. While working off their hotel debt, Oliver falls... See full summary »
Unbeknownst to Stanley and Oliver, their long-lost twin brothers, sailors Alfie and Bert are in town on shore leave carrying a valuable pearl ring entrusted to them by their ship's captain.... See full summary »
Oliver is heartbroken when he finds that Georgette, the inkeeper's daughter he's fallen in love with, is already married to dashing Foreign Legion officer Francois. To forget her, he joins ... See full summary »
Barbershop owners Stanley and Oliver both answer a personal ad from a rich widow seeking a husband. Oliver hides Stanley's reply and mails just his own. When Oliver receives a proposal of ... See full summary »
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.
Two hapless misfits find themselves working for Fra Diavolo (THE DEVIL'S BROTHER), the notorious singing bandit of the early 18th century.
Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy are at the top of their form - high praise indeed - in this lavish, but rather obscure, rendition of Daniel-François Auber's popular operetta. Laurel's frightened squeak & Ollie's pout of wounded dignity are on display, as is the easy camaraderie and genuine affection of these two gentle souls. Here they are simply allowed to do what they did best: amuse. One hilarious sequence follows another: Stan attempting to hang Ollie (really!); their slapstick endeavor to capture the bandit; the Boys helpless in an uncontrollable fit of laughter. Director Hal Roach understood their comedic style better than anyone, and he lets them make the most of their time before the cameras. Their every moment captured on film is precious; each minute they are missing so that subplots may develop is decried as an intolerable waste.
In the title role, British opera star Dennis King monopolizes much of the screen time. A good deal of his vocalizing is unintelligible, but he plays the charming rogue well. However, it is important to notice that despite his charm, he is one of the most dangerous villains the Boys encounter in any of their films. Beneath the thin veneer of civility, he is little more than a murderous, thieving rapscallion. He has nothing but his handsome face & dulcet tones to separate him from a Karloff or a Lugosi.
Peppery James Finlayson & lovely, tragic Thelma Todd play silly, vain aristocrats who have more jewels than common sense. Both of these wonderful performers were always welcome in roles large or small - his bristling mustache and popping eyes & her classic beauty so often the focal point of great humor. But here they have very little contact with the Boys and so much of their comedic talent is rather dissipated in mildly adulterous scenes with the Bandit Chief. Pity...
There is a subplot involving the Innkeeper's daughter and her forbidden love of a young military officer, but fortunately it is not allowed to intrude too much. Henry Armetta as the Innkeeper, however, is given some very funny moments as he tries without success to duplicate Stan's intricate hand games.
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