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Devil's Brother
     

The Devil's Brother

Director: Hal Roach, Charles Rogers, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

Cast: Hal Roach, Charles Rogers, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy

 
Based on an 1830 opera entitled "Fra Diavolo" by Daniel F. Auber, the parts of two bit bandits were built up for Laurel and Hardy, but this was still just a minor effort--a few good laughs but nothing spectacular that wasn't done better elsewhere. Released later as Bogus Bandits and The Virtuous Tramps, changing the title didn't improve the product. A

Overview

Based on an 1830 opera entitled "Fra Diavolo" by Daniel F. Auber, the parts of two bit bandits were built up for Laurel and Hardy, but this was still just a minor effort--a few good laughs but nothing spectacular that wasn't done better elsewhere. Released later as Bogus Bandits and The Virtuous Tramps, changing the title didn't improve the product. A classic impersonation film, it has the comic duo servants to a bandit who is impersonating a Marquis to get his hands on the jewels worn by the upper crust. Standard dual identity film is similar to The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
The most successful, and arguably best, of Laurel & Hardy's comic operas, The Devil's Brother firmly established that the team could be as funny in a feature film as they had for years in short subjects. Producer Hal Roach, who handled the main direction chores himself, had chosen an obscure 1830 opera by Daniel F. Auber about an Italian highwayman, Fra Diavolo, who masquerades as a foppish marquis in order to take from the rich and give to himself. What interested Roach was obviously the fact that the opera contained two comic supporting characters perfectly suited for the reigning comedy team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. They play Stanlio and Ollio, a couple of wanderers robbed of their life savings by one of the area's multitudinous highwaymen. In perhaps his most lucid moment, Stanlio suggests that they should recuperate their losses by becoming robbers themselves but, unfortunately, their first victim proves to be none other than the notorious Fra Diavolo (Dennis King), whose signature song "On Yonder Rock Reclining" sends shivers up the spine of all decent folks. After a failed attempt to hang the overfed Ollio, Fra makes the pair his personal servants. The remainder of the film depicts how Diavolo, as the Marquis, succeeds in robbing wayward noblewoman Lady Pamela (Thelma Todd) of 500,000 francs, cunningly sewn into her petticoats, despite the dubious assistance of Stanlio and Ollio. With all these shenanigans taking center stage, the opera's dull ingenues, inn-keeper's daughter Zerlina Lucile Browne and Captain Lorenzo (Arthur Pierson), can only watch, numbly one would expect, from the sidelines. After hiring Broadway baritone Dennis King to play the romantic hero, Roach hedged his bets by casting slapstick regulars James Finlayson and Thelma Todd as the warbling highwayman's main targets, thus assuring that the opera's trite libretto would never risk being taken serious. King was neither better nor worse than the average screen baritone but Miss Todd, especially, shined as the flirtatious Lady Pamela, one of this ultimately tragic comedienne's most vivid performances. In the end, of course, The Devil's Brother belongs squarely to Laurel & Hardy, the former memorably driving his partner (and everybody else) crazy with the frustrating dexterity of his "kneesy, easy, nosey" routine. Released to thunderous ovations in Europe as Fra Diavolo, The Devil's Brother has been reissued to television as both Bogus Bandits and The Virtuous Tramps.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/27/1993
UPC:
0027616085634
Original Release:
1933
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Warner)

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stan Laurel Stanlio
Oliver Hardy Olio
Dennis King Fra Diavolo/Marquis de San Marco
James Finlayson Lord Rocberg
Arthur Pierson Lorenzo
Henry Armetta Matteo
Lane Chandler Lieutenant
Wilfred Lucas Alessandro
James C. Morton First Woodchopper
Carl Harbaugh Second Woodchopper
Louise Carver Tavern Patron
Kay Deslys Actor
Edith Fellows Actor
Cornelius Keefe Actor
Rolfe Sedan Actor
Walter Shumway Actor
Arthur Stone Brigand
Leo White Actor
Charles Rogers Actor
Dick Gilbert Actor
Jacqueline Taylor Village Children
Thelma Todd Pamela Rocburg
Lucille Browne Zerlina
Matt McHugh Francesco
Harry Bernard Bandit
George Miller Village Minister
John Qualen Man Who Owned the Bull
Nena Quartaro Rita
Stanley "Tiny" Sandford Woodchopper

Technical Credits
Hal Roach Director,Producer
Charles Rogers Director
Hap Depew Cinematographer
Bert Jordan Editor
Art Lloyd Cinematographer
Jeannie Macpherson Screenwriter
LeRoy Shield Musical Direction/Supervision
William Terhune Editor

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