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Based on the famous Alexander Dumas novel of the same name, Siamese twins, Mario and Lucian Franzi are separated at birth by surgery and adopted by different parents. Lucian is raised in Corsica as a bandit, while Mario grows up in Paris as a suave gallant, but Lucian has a special psychic ability to feel his brother's feelings, though he is not even aware of his existence. At age 21, they are reunited in Corsica by their foster-parents and are informed that their parents were murdered by Count Colorra who has become the ruler of Corsica by killing off all his enemies through vendettas. In typical Sicilian fashion, the bandit brothers swear vengeance and start their campaign by attacking Colorra's interests. Mario becomes romantically involved with Countess Isabelle Gravini who is under pressure from Colorra to marry him and saves her from Colorra's clutches. Lucian who also falls in love with Isabelle,becomes jealous of his brother and abandons him when Colorra captures Mario. How Lucian escapes and gets his girl constitutes the final part of the movie.
The highlight of this movie is Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, who stars in the title roles with great gusto and suavity. He is great in roles in like this, much better than his father was. However, to swashbuckling buffs, the swordfights in this film are, perhaps, only of middling quality. While Fairbanks carries the film on his broad shoulders, his co-star Ruth Warrick is not impressive. And Basil Rathbone would have been a great choice to play the villain Colorra rather than Akim Tamiroff who comes across more as a buffoon than as a sinister Sicilian cutthroat.
In summary, "The Corsican Brothers" is a pleasant, highly watchable movie, with just the right amount of violence to make it exciting. However, the director Gregory Ratoff should have portrayed the unsavory institution of vendetta which blighted so many families in the isle of Sicily, in a less approving light.
Reviewed by Sundar Narayan
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