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The Brothers O'Toole (1973)

 -  Western | Comedy  -  16 May 1973 (USA)
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The brothers, a couple of ne'er-do-wells, turn a sleepy mining town upside-down in their search for quick riches.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Allyn Joslyn ...
Richard Jury ...
Jesse White ...
Steve Carlson ...
Miranda Barry ...
Francelle Fuller ...
Ted Claassen ...
Harlan Knudson ...
Leon Enge ...
Jacques Hampton ...


The brothers, a couple of ne'er-do-wells, turn a sleepy mining town upside-down in their search for quick riches.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Western | Comedy






Release Date:

16 May 1973 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The Mayor uses the phrase 'like a wolf upon the fold', a quote from "The Destruction of Semnacherib" by Lord Byron. See more »


The attorney's name is shown as 'Benoni Beidermeier' on his bag but as 'Bedermeir' on the credits. See more »


Michael O'Toole: Not a friend in the world. And that's the only thing I've got to be thankful for.
See more »


References The Great Gildersleeve (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

A Long-Time Favorite
10 January 2010 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

About the only movie I consider funnier than "The Brothers O'Toole" (1973) is "The Big Lebowski" (1998). Both have the same combination of huge exaggeration coupled with subtle parody, exploding film conventions of their respective genres with completely out-of-place dialog. My appreciation of this no doubt speaks to a twisted sense of humor and an appreciation of the absurd; of which there is so little in more mainstream comedy features. So if you happen to be "Duckman" off-kilter, then "The Brothers O'Toole" is a film that you should seek out.

John Astin's success the year before in another western parody, "Evil Roy Slade" (1972), inspired a sequel of sorts. Or at least a reprise of his title role, this time playing a very similar extreme outlaw character named "Desperate" Ambrose J. Littleberry. When not busy terrorizing citizens, poor Desperate is a henpecked husband. An almost unrecognizable Lee Meriwether wonderfully overplays his shrewish wife Poloma. It is definitely her signature performance and I laugh every time I think about what the Miss America pageant people must have thought about this hysterical portrayal.

The humor in both films is nicely twisted but the "The Brothers O'Toole" is several notches above "Evil Roy Slade" on the IQ scale, which may account for it being a bit more obscure. Think "Support Your Local Sheriff" vs "Support Your Local Gunfighter" for an example of the same type of comparative difference.

For Astin this is a duel role, as he and Steve Carlson play the title characters; a pair of too sophisticated drifter brothers Michael and Timothy O'Toole. Michael is an unambitious cardsharp and Timothy is a small-time rogue and roué. They come to the tiny town of Molybdenum, Colorado (Molly B'Damn to the locals) from separate disasters. Michael has just been ridden out of another town and Timothy is fleeing the shotgun wedding bells and angry father of his latest conquest, Bonnie Lou MacClanahan (Miranda Berry who is flat out irresistible).

The town is a collection of characters played by a collection of character actors like Richard Erdman, Pat Carroll, Allyn Joslyn (the reluctant sheriff), Jessie White (the slimy mayor). Joslyn and White are especially good, as is Hans Conried who plays a financier obviously modeled on Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The main plot device is mistaken identity as Michael O'Toole is mistaken for A. J. Littleberry and thrown in jail. Michael's summation at his trial and a later diatribe about the town are simply comedy classics, as is pretty much everything done and said by Richard Jury who plays the town's greedy undertaker, Harmon P. Lovejoy.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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