The Corsican Brothers (1942)

110-112 mins | Adventure | 1942

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HISTORY

The film's title card reads: "Alexandre Dumas' Immortal Classic The Corsican Brothers." The onscreen credits also note that the screenplay was based on "a free adaptation of the Dumas story." A written prologue appears following the onscreen credits, describing Corsica as a land "haunted by the grim shadow of Vendetta, that terrible law of life for a life, vengeance for vengeance, family against family." According to news items in HR, producer Edward Small originally negotiated with Twentieth Century-Fox to borrow director Fritz Lang for the film. HR news items also stated that Louis Hayward would star in the film, then reported that Small was seeking Paramount's permission to use Albert Dekker, provided the actor completed his role in M-G-M's Honky Tonk in time. Although a HR news item lists V. McFadden as assistant production manager, the extent of his participation in the final film is not known. A HR news item reported that locations on Catalina and near San Diego were scouted as possible production sites, after military operations on San Clemente made that location unavailable.
       Dimitri Tiomkin was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) for the film. Among the many other films based on, or inspired by, the Dumas story are: the 1917 French film Les Frères Corses, directed by Andre Antoine; the 1920 United Picture Theatres of America The Corsican Brothers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0804); the 1953 United Artists release Bandits of Corsica, starring Richard Greene ...

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The film's title card reads: "Alexandre Dumas' Immortal Classic The Corsican Brothers." The onscreen credits also note that the screenplay was based on "a free adaptation of the Dumas story." A written prologue appears following the onscreen credits, describing Corsica as a land "haunted by the grim shadow of Vendetta, that terrible law of life for a life, vengeance for vengeance, family against family." According to news items in HR, producer Edward Small originally negotiated with Twentieth Century-Fox to borrow director Fritz Lang for the film. HR news items also stated that Louis Hayward would star in the film, then reported that Small was seeking Paramount's permission to use Albert Dekker, provided the actor completed his role in M-G-M's Honky Tonk in time. Although a HR news item lists V. McFadden as assistant production manager, the extent of his participation in the final film is not known. A HR news item reported that locations on Catalina and near San Diego were scouted as possible production sites, after military operations on San Clemente made that location unavailable.
       Dimitri Tiomkin was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) for the film. Among the many other films based on, or inspired by, the Dumas story are: the 1917 French film Les Frères Corses, directed by Andre Antoine; the 1920 United Picture Theatres of America The Corsican Brothers (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0804); the 1953 United Artists release Bandits of Corsica, starring Richard Greene and directed by Ray Nazarro; the 1970 Warner Bros. release Start the Revolution Without Me, starring Gene Wilder and Donald Sutherland and directed by Bud Yorkin (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.4687); and the 1984 Orion release, Cheech and Chong's The Corsican Brothers, starring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong and directed by Chong.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Dec 1941
---
Daily Variety
17 Dec 1941
---
Film Daily
19 Dec 1941
p. 6
Harrison's Reports
20 Dec 1941
p. 203
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1941
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 1941
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jun 1941
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1941
p. 9
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 1941
p. 11
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1941
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1941
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Jan 1942
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Jan 1942
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Dec 1941
p. 431
New York Herald Tribune
18 Jan 1942
---
New York Times
16 Jan 1942
p. 25
New York Times
25 Jan 1942
---
New Yorker
17 Jan 1942
---
The Exhibitor
24 Dec 1941
pp. 916-17
Time
5 Jan 1942
---
Variety
24 Dec 1941
p. 18
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Des of prod and art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
William Claxton
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Edward Boyle
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Sd eff ed
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Max H. Golden
Prod mgr
Asst to prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Les frères Corses by Alexandre Dumas, père (Brussels, 1841).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Alexandre Dumas' The Corsican Brothers
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Washington, D.C.: 18 Dec 1941; Los Angeles opening: 15 Jan 1942
Production Date:
late Jul--early Sep 1941
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Edward Small Productions, Inc.
5 December 1941
LP10894
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110-112
Length(in feet):
10,000
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
7831
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

As Count Franchi, head of one of Corsica's leading families, anxiously awaits the birth of his heir, his enemy, the treacherous Baron Colonna, is delighted that the occasion has brought all of the Franchis together under one roof, making them easy targets. After Dr. Enrico Paoli informs Franchi that his wife his given birth to Siamese twins, the Colonna clan storms the castle, killing everyone except Dr. Paoli and the servant Lorenzo, who escape with the infants and take refuge with the Franchis' friends, Monsieur and Madame Dupre. Dr. Paoli then performs surgery to separate the twins, whom he baptizes Mario and Lucien. The Dupres take Mario to Paris and rear him as their son, while Lorenzo takes Lucien to live with him in the forest. Twenty years later, Lucien has grown up to become the leader of a gang of bandits, whereas Mario enjoys a life of wealth and culture in Paris. At the opera one night, Mario becomes infatuated with Isabelle Gravini, a beautiful Corsican countess, and defends her from the unwanted advances of a marquis. As Mario fights in Paris, Lucien tosses and turns in his bed in Corsica, grabbing his shoulder in pain when Mario is wounded. On the eve of the twins' twenty-first birthday, Dr. Paoli reunites Lucien and Mario at their parents' graves, telling them the story of their family, and the brothers vow vengeance against Colonna. Meanwhile, Count Gravini has just refused Colonna's request for his daughter Isabelle's hand in marriage when word arrives that two of Colonna's cousins were killed, in two different locations, by identical bandits. The following week, having had Gravini ...

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As Count Franchi, head of one of Corsica's leading families, anxiously awaits the birth of his heir, his enemy, the treacherous Baron Colonna, is delighted that the occasion has brought all of the Franchis together under one roof, making them easy targets. After Dr. Enrico Paoli informs Franchi that his wife his given birth to Siamese twins, the Colonna clan storms the castle, killing everyone except Dr. Paoli and the servant Lorenzo, who escape with the infants and take refuge with the Franchis' friends, Monsieur and Madame Dupre. Dr. Paoli then performs surgery to separate the twins, whom he baptizes Mario and Lucien. The Dupres take Mario to Paris and rear him as their son, while Lorenzo takes Lucien to live with him in the forest. Twenty years later, Lucien has grown up to become the leader of a gang of bandits, whereas Mario enjoys a life of wealth and culture in Paris. At the opera one night, Mario becomes infatuated with Isabelle Gravini, a beautiful Corsican countess, and defends her from the unwanted advances of a marquis. As Mario fights in Paris, Lucien tosses and turns in his bed in Corsica, grabbing his shoulder in pain when Mario is wounded. On the eve of the twins' twenty-first birthday, Dr. Paoli reunites Lucien and Mario at their parents' graves, telling them the story of their family, and the brothers vow vengeance against Colonna. Meanwhile, Count Gravini has just refused Colonna's request for his daughter Isabelle's hand in marriage when word arrives that two of Colonna's cousins were killed, in two different locations, by identical bandits. The following week, having had Gravini poisoned, Colonna sets off to court Isabelle, accompanied by his cousin and aide, Tomasso. Mario appears at Isabelle's window and promises to rescue her from Colonna, and that night, he and Lorenzo take her to their hideout. Lucien, who immediately falls in love with Isabelle, seeks out Dr. Paoli and confesses his frustration at living a life that is merely a reflection of his brother's. The doctor is then questioned by Colonna and Tomasso, who suspect that the Franchi twins are still alive. The next day, after Isabelle rejects his advances, Lucien admits his love for her to Mario, and the brothers fight. Isabelle flees, but Colonna's men intercept her, and Tomasso sends the brothers a message by carrier pigeon that Isabelle needs their help. When Lucien refuses to let his men intervene, Mario goes to Colonna alone, posing as a Parisian jeweler with a selection of betrothal gifts. At the baron's ball that evening, Mario tells Isabelle that Colonna's jealous mistress, Maria, has arranged for their escape. However, Mario is recognized and imprisoned in Colonna's dungeon, where, after summoning Dr. Paoli, Colonna and Tomasso attempt to flog him into revealing Lucien's whereabouts. When Mario passes out, Dr. Paoli administers a potion that makes him appear to be dead. Lucien, sensing his brother's demise, rouses his men for an attack on Colonna's estate. Dr. Paoli takes Mario home and revives him just as Lucien shoots Tomasso and is himself mortally wounded. Suddenly, to Colonna's amazement, Mario appears and kills him, avenging his family. After making peace with his dying brother, Mario goes to Isabelle's side.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.