Monday, August 22, 2011

The Devil's Brother

The Devil's Brother; comedy, USA, 1933; D: Hal Roach, Charley Rogers, S: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Dennis King, James Finlayson

Italy, 18th century. Fra Diavolo is a famous outlaw who robs rich people. When Laurel & Hardy get robbed, they decide to become thieves themselves and thus accidentally attack Diavolo. He and his gang at first want to hang them, but then change their mind. Diavolo introduces himself as Marquise of San Marco and brings Laurel & Hardy to a small town in order to seduce dutchess Pamela and steal her money. When the commander captures Diavolo, Laurel & Hardy also get arrested. Just as they were about to get shot, a bull shows up and disperses everyone.

Based on the "Fra Diavolo" opera, "The Devil's Brothers" are a simple, light, naive children's comedy, one of the lesser efforts of the famous Laurel & Hardy duo. The biggest problem is an uneven structure: too much time is wasted on Fra Diavolo (Dennis King), who is a too serious character, and on unecessary musical sequences, whereas the main attraction, Laurel & Hardy's humor, is rather overstretched (it again turns out that they work at best in comedy shorts). Of course, a few jokes are truly funny, like when Laurel has to hang Hardy and thus tries to lisp him: "This is going to be a lot more painful to me than to you!" - "I wish I was on your place." - "When you die, do you want me to burry you or to stuff you?" They save the movie from too large chunks of straightforward, serious segments revolving around the main bad guy.


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