The Devil's Brother
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|The Devil's Brother|
|Directed by||Hal Roach|
|Produced by||Hal Roach|
|Written by||Eugène Scribe (libretto)
Jeanie MacPherson (adaptation)
|Music by||Daniel Auber|
|Edited by||Bert Jordan
William H. Terhune
|Release date(s)||May 5, 1933|
|Running time||90' 01"|
The Devil's Brother or Bogus Bandits or Fra Diavolo is a 1933 comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy. It is based on Daniel Auber's operetta Fra Diavolo about the Italian bandit Fra Diavolo. At 90 minutes, it is the longest film Laurel and Hardy made.
In the early 18th century, the bandit Fra Diavolo returns to his camp in Northern Italy to tell his gang members about his encounter with Lord Rocberg and Lady Pamela. Via a disguise (as the Marquis de San Marco) he rode with them in their carriage. He charmed Lady Pamela into telling where she hides her jewels. He orders his thieves to ride to Rocberg's castle and rob Rocberg's belongings and Pamela's jewels. At the same time, Stanlio and Ollio, have also been robbed. Stanlio suggests to Ollio that they should become robbers themselves. After an unsuccessful attempt to rob a woodchopper the duo encounters Fra Diavolo. The notorious bandit wants Stanlio to hang Ollio, because Ollio was impersonating him. Then he is informed that his men have stolen Lady Pamela's jewels, but have not brought 500,000 francs hidden by Rocberg.
Diavolo once again disguises himself as the Marquis and takes Stanlio and Ollio with him as his servants. His plan is to steal the money sum of 500.000 francs from Rocberg. In an inn where Diavolo once again romances Lady Pamela. Stanlio and Ollio unwittingly capture Lord Rocberg, who had disguised himself as the marquis in an attempt to win back his wife. Diavolo's attempt to find the francs is however foiled once again when Stanlio accidentally drinks a sleeping potion meant for Rocberg. Diavolo does succeed in stealing Pamela's medallion, and the loss is blamed on young Captain Lorenzo. Lorenzo is the sweetheart of Zerlina, who is to marry the next day with a boring merchant named Francesco on orders of her father, Matteo the innkeeper. Lorenzo swears he will prove his innocence before Zerlina is forced to marry Francesco.
Meanwhile, Diavolo romances Pamela once again and finds out that Rocberg's fortune is hidden in her petticoat. Just as Diavolo steals the petticoat, Lorenzo finds out his true identity from Stanlio, who is "spiffed" after a visit to Matteo's wine cellar. Lorenzo's soldiers surround the inn and he then duels with Diavolo, whom he bests with a little inadvertent help from Stanlio. The good-natured Diavolo returns the jewels, and when Rocberg will not pay the reward for them to Lorenzo, Diavolo gives Lorenzo the money that he stole from Pamela's petticoat. While the jealous husband rushes upstairs to confront his wife, Lorenzo gives the money to Matteo, thereby saving him from having to sell the inn. Diavolo, Stanlio and Ollio are then taken away to be shot by a firing squad. Stanlio asks permission to blow his nose and takes out his red handkerchief, a bull is enraged by the color and breaks up the ranks when he charges. Diavolo escapes on his horse, and Stanlio and Ollio escape while riding the bull.
Kneesy-Earsy-Nosey was the game of coordination and dexterity played by Stanlio within this film, to the great despair of Ollio. The game became a fad shortly after this film was released. The game consisted of clapping the knees with both hands, and then alternatively grabbing the left ear with right hand while grabbing the nose with the left hand, again clapping the knees, and then grabbing the right ear with left hand while grabbing the nose with the right hand. Participants proceeded to do it with increasing speed. The processes seem easy to acquire, but require time and training, as they require constant shifting of coordination of the left and right control areas of the brain. Once the right coordination has been acquired, it is possible to do it extremely fast, and it can be redone after years of hiatus.