The Corsican Brothers (1941)

The Corsican Brotherscorsican brothers poster
Directed by Gregory Ratoff
Written by George Bruce and Howard Eastabrook based on the novel by Alexander Dumas pére
Edward Small Productions

First viewing/Amazon Prime Instant Video


“True, I have raped history, but it has produced some beautiful offspring.” ― Alexandre Dumas

I thought this was a very well-done swashbuckler.

The Countess Franchi gives birth to Siamese twins Mario and Lucien on the day the evil Colonna (Akim Tamiroff) kills her and the rest of the Franchi family.  Dr. Paoli (H.B. Warner) separates the twins.  Lucien is sent off to the forest with a loyal Franchi servant (J. Carroll Naish) and Mario is adopted by aristocrats and goes off with them to Paris. During their childhood, Mario keenly feels Lucien’s feelings even though he is ignorant of his existence.  On their 21st birthday, the twins (both played by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) are reunited in Corsica and swear a solemn vow to restore the Franchi family and kill Colonna and his supporters.  Complications arise when Mario and Lucien discover they are both in love with the Countess Gravini (Ruth Warrick). In his jealousy, Lucien vows to kill Mario and be free of his influence.

corsican brothers

On the whole this is well acted and exciting with many good sword fights, some between the twins themselves.  I kept wondering how the script would resolve the rivalry between the twins and didn’t quite expect the ending.

Dimitri Tiomkin was nominated for an Academy Award for his scoring of The Corsican Brothers.

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