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W.S. Van Dyke
Douglas Fairbanks jr plays Siamese twins, separated by a good doctor [scalpel hemostat sutures quickly!!] after their parents are killed by Vendetta, personified by Akim Tamiroff in bolero suits. One goes to Paris, one to the Corsican Mountains to become, respectively, a gentleman and a bandit. What will happen? "I have performed the miracle I have separated their bodies. But what of their souls?" Lucien [the bandit] feels everything Mario [the Parisian fop - I mean, gentleman] feels. 20 years pass...then another year...and they are reunited in Corsica. Banditry and vendetta and a beautiful Corsican countess ensue. Written by
Chris in Oxford UK
In many scenes, there appear to be two of Fairbanks in the medium shot without trick photography. The director did it by having a stuntman wear a special Fairbanks mask, complete with mustache. See more »
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.'s final film before enlisting in Uncle Sam's navy was The Corsican Brothers. It's the tale of the feuding houses of Franchi and Colonna who've got a thing going on Corsica that would outstrip what those Hatfields and McCoys are doing in the Appalachians in the USA.
Malevolent Baron Colonna and his brother Tomaso played by Akim Tamiroff and John Emery respectively launch a preemptive strike against the House of Franchi which has gathered to celebrate the birth of twin sons. However it turns out that the twins are Siamese twins. As the Colonna clan descend on the feasting Franchis and massacre all the adults, family physician H.B. Warner takes the twins and successfully separates them at birth. Family friend Walter Kingsford takes one twin to Paris and the other is given to Franchi family retainer J. Carrol Naish to raise deep in the Corsican woods.
Of course the twins grow up to both be Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and when they are reunited, start their own reign of terror on the usurping Colonnas who at first can't figure out what's happening.
Alexandre Dumas, pere who wrote this novel was a very clever fellow indeed. Though the concepts of ego and id hadn't been invented by Sigmund Freud, Dumas was writing about man's dual nature seen in the characters of both Mario and Lucien Franchi.
Fairbanks in the difficult task of performing two separate characters does a magnificent job. He really does take on a whole different personality as the dashing Mario and the brooding Lucien. What drives them apart temporarily is that both fall big time for Ruth Warrick who if this film had been made at Warner Brothers, Olivia DeHavilland would have had the part.
The Corsican Brothers, though one of Dumas's minor works is brought to the screen with dash and aplomb. Enough swashbuckling action to satisfy that taste and some real good acting, especially by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
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