Archive for November, 2015

Criterion Blogathon: Babette’s Feast

In 1987 a gentle movie came out of Denmark and it happened to win the Best Foreign Language Film at that year’s Academy Awards.  It  won the BAFTA(British of Film and Television Arts) for Best Foreign Film, and it also won Best Film in Denmark, the Bodil and Robert Awards.  I watched it in the late 1980s when it came out on video and I enjoyed it immensely.  I’m referring to the film Babette’s Feast, and it’s my choice to write about for the Criterion Blogathon.  Be sure to visit the Blogathon’s link to read about other wonderful movies that have been featured via Criterion, the American video-distribution company.

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Babette’s Feast began it’s creative life as a short story written by Danish author Karen Blixen, who is most famously known for her autobiographical novel, Out of Africa.  The film’s screenplay was written by Gabriel Axel,  the late Danish actor, film director, and producer.  Axel also directed the film, in a straightforward manner, with narration provided by actress Ghita Norby.  Axel’s vision gives us the tale of simple people, who create a life appropriate for themselves, and with connecting lives and coincidences, serve one another, and show one another respect and love.

Babette's Feast

Babette’s Feast is  set in the barren beauty of western Jutland.  Now I’m an American and had no idea  what Jutland meant, so when I recently re-watched the movie, I did an online search for Jutland.  I found that it’s a peninsula shared by Denmark and Germany.  The North Sea lies to its west, the Skagerrak to the north, the Kattegat and Baltic Sea lie to the east, and Germany on the south.  When one of the character’s in the film is banished there for 3 months, he groans out his disappointment, “Jutland?”  From what we are shown, it’s a flat land, with some hills, near the sea, no trees in sight, just lots of grasses and lots of wind.

It is to this geographic panorama we are sent, to a small village where everyone knows everyone.  Two sisters, Martine and Philippa, are maiden ladies,  senior citizens, who go about their lives in quiet routine.  They visit the infirm and bring them meals, they host a weekly bible study attended by fellow senior citizens, they pay homage to their deceased father, the minister of the village, who named his only children after Martin Luther and Luther’s friend, Philip Melanchthon.   To an outsider, their lives seem very dull.  But to these two ladies, their lives are very full and they don’t ponder very much as to  what their lives could have been.

Philippa and Martine with their father, the village's Minister

Philippa and Martine with their father, the village’s Minister

The narrator then sends us back in time, via two flashbacks, to show that Martine and Philippa’s lives could have turned out so very different, if they had only followed their hearts.  The first flashback is Martine’s: when she was a beautiful young woman she met by chance a handsome officer, Lorens Lowenhielm, who had been banished to Jutland for 3 months by his father due to many gambling debts.  Lorens accepts his punishment glumly but when he meets Martine, he is immediately drawn to her and wants to get to know her.  He attends her father’s church services, and the smaller bible study gatherings, that meet at Martine’s home.  Martine’s father is not an overbearing type of man, but he does have a quiet charisma about him, and he has impressed on his daughters that they are his “right and left” hands, and that he can’t do without them, so when Lorens makes his final farewell to Martine, it is with sadness as he hasn’t been able to break down that barrier that exists between Martine and any possible suitor.

Martine with Officer Lorens, who loves her so

Martine with Officer Lorens, who loves her so

The second flashback is Philippa’s .  Philippa is blessed with a beautiful singing voice and it is by coincidence that a French opera star, Achille Papin, needing a rest from his performances, agrees to a friend’s suggestion that he stay in Jutland, at the very village where Martine and Philippa live.  Achille happens to be out on a Sunday morning walk and he hears a gorgeous voice among the others, singing a hymn in the church and he enters the building.  He learns that the voice of the angel belongs to Philippa, and he contacts her father, offering to give Philippa voice lessons.  The voice lessons begin and it’s evident to Achille and Philippa that she has a wonderful talent, that she too, could go on the stage and probably become an opera star.  Achille is drawn to Philippa, especially when they sing a duet from a famous  operatic love song.  Alas, Philippa decides to stop the voice lessons and to stay in Jutland with her father and sister, and sadly, Achille goes back to Paris without his muse.

Achille and Philippa during her voice lesson

Achille and Philippa during her voice lesson

After the two sisters’ flashbacks, we are brought back to the present, which is 1871 and a knock on the sisters’ front door during a rainstorm.  A stoic woman is standing on their threshhold, sopping wet.  Martine and Philippa immediately usher this stranger into their home, give her a cup of hot tea, start to mop the water off of  the woman’s face, when she hands them a letter.  The letter is from Achille Papin, now retired.  His letter is a plea for these ladies to take into their home, refugee from Paris, Babette Hersant.  France has been undergoing a civil war and Babette’s husband and son were shot and killed and she herself had to go into hiding.  Achille, an old family friend, remembered the two kind sisters in Jutland, would they take Babette into their home?  Martine and Philippa agree, but explain to Babette that they can’t afford to pay a housekeeper or cook, and Babette explains that that is fine with her.  Babette settles in to the Danish home, begins to learn the langugage, money rate exchange, and how to cook the meals the sisters prefer.  All is quiet and peaceful for many years until the day Babette receives a telegram.

Babette, settling in nicely as housekeeper and cook

Babette, settling in nicely as housekeeper and cook

The telegram states that Babette has won the French lottery-$10,000 francs!  Martine and Philippa are happy for Babette, who is happy and stunned by this win.  The two sisters assume Babette will soon take her leave of them but no, that is not Babette’s plan.  To show her servant’s heart, to show her thankfulness to the two sisters who took her in and gave her a home, to show that a true artist cannot live without doing their utmost to let their art shine, Babette uses her lottery winnings to make  a masterpiece of a meal.

Babette leading the parade of ingredients she ordered, into the village

Babette leading the parade of ingredients she ordered, into the village

It is soon to be the anniversary of Martine and Philippa’s father’s 100th birthday and they had been planning a small party, inviting their fellow senior citizen church members.  Babette begs them to let her make the meal for this party. With reluctance, and some worries when they see the rich and extravagant ingredients Babette has ordered from France(Wine!), the sisters warn their guests that they can’t be sure that what they eat and drink won’t be too decadent or sinful!  Each of the guests agrees that they won’t utter one word of enjoyment as they partake in the meal.  A last minute guest is added to the list, General Lorens Lowenhielm, Martine’s long ago suitor, who happens to be visiting his aged aunt  who is on the guest list, so she sends word that her nephew will be attending, too.

The guests digging into the feast

The guests digging into the feast

What I like so much about Babette’s Feast: the locale of Jutland-it’s barren, yet it has a simplistic beauty and the people who live there are resilient.  The romances of the two sisters, who turned down chances at love, which caused heartache for their two suitors.  The coincidental link of Achille Papin finding Babette refuge with the two sisters.  The silly stoicism of the dinner guests that they won’t comment on the fabulous meal;thank goodness for General Lorens, as he keeps praising each course and each wine selection.  The wine, in fact, gets the grumpy seniors to stop their bickerings with each other, and friendships are renewed.  I also like the fact that Pope Francis has said this is his favorite film!

The cast is outstanding, of course!  Babette is played by French actress Stephan Audran, Birgitte Federspiel is Martine, Bodil Kjer is Philippa, Young Martine is Vibeke Hastrup, Young Philippa is Hanne Stensgaard, their father, known just as The Minister, is Pouel Kern, Young Officer Lorens Lowenhielm is Gudmar Kloving, General Lowenhielm is Jarl Kulle, Achille Papin is Jean-Philippe Lafont.

Of course to view the wonderful film, seek it out at The Criterion Collection!

An afterthought: I have a son training to be a chef.  I called out to him the methods Babette used in creating her feast.  The ingredients, the wines, the courses-he kept nodding his head as he has had some coursework on French cooking and how a meal there would be served, the courses, etc.  As I watched the montages of Babette cooking, I kept marveling that this was all done without modern kitchen conveniences: no microwave oven, no convection oven, no double wall oven, no Kitchen Aid mixer, no blenders, no Cuisenart food choppers, no refrigerators or freezers!  We modern day cooks have it easy!!!

Babette busily cooking

Babette busily cooking

Lastly, here’s the feast that Babette fixed: 1st Course: Potage a la Tortue(Turtle Soup) served with Amontillado sherry.  2nd Course: Blinis Demidoff (Buckwheat cakes with caviar and sour cream) served with Veuve Cliquot Champagne.  3rd Course: Cailles en Sarcophage (Quails in puff pastry with foie gras and truffle sauce) served with Clos de Vougeot Pinot Noir. 5th Course: Endive Salade.  6th Course: Savarin au Rhum avec des Figues et Fruit Glacee( Rum Cake with figs and candied cherries) served with champagne.  7th Course: Assorted cheeses and fruits served with sauterne.   When the guests left the dinner table to congregate in the living room, Babette made sure they were served coffee and vieux marc Grand Champagne cognac.

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WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon 2015: Sir C. Aubrey Smith

How many of us, when we reach(ed) our 50s would be facing a turn in our career that would bring us more fame and fortune than we could imagine?  That is exactly what happened to star cricket  athlete-turned acclaimed stage actor-turned movie character actor par excellence, Sir C. Aubrey Smith, and he’s my topic for today,  for the 4th Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon 2015,   hosted by those fabulous classic movie fans: Aurora, Kellee, and Paula.  Be sure to visit their wonderful sites to read about the awesome character actors and actresses who have graced the movie screens through the years.   C. Aubrey Smith movie still

Sir C. Aubrey Smith(knighted in 1944) was born in 1863, son of a doctor and he did consider a medical career ever so briefly in his youth.  At the age of 12, when enrolled at Charterhouse, a boarding school for boys in Godalming, 50 miles north of Brighton, where the Smith family lived, C. Aubrey was introduced to playing the game of Cricket and quickly mastered the sport, eventually parlaying his natural skill for the sport when he enrolled at Cambridge University in 1881.  Playing cricket and performing in the University’s amateur thespian troupe interested him a lot more than his plan of studying chemistry and physics.  He did graduate from Cambridge and took a position teaching mathematics in Haywards Heath, 12 miles from Brighton, at a school for cadet students who wished to be accepted at either of England’s top two military academies.  He also continued to act in area theatrical shows and to play cricket with the Sussex Club.   In 1887, the school was closed, and Smith found himself without a job.  He didn’t want to pursue a medical career, and acting professionally didn’t appeal to him as a proper career for a Cambridge grad.   Fortunately, the Sussex Club asked him to be  the captain of their cricket team.  Smith quickly agreed to this offer, and in the off seasons, he was invited to play “Test Cricket Matches” in Australia and South Africa.

Sir C. Aubrey Smith when he played cricket for the Sussex Cricket Club, late 1880's

While in South Africa, he and a cricket teammate decided to try and make it rich with the booming gold market and began their own brokerage firm that was recognized by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.  Smith was making money, all was looking wonderful when the gold market bubble burst, Smith became deadly ill with typhoid, pleurisy, and pneumonia, and his business partner fled the country, leaving their brokerage firm in debt.  Smith was even erroneously reported by the British newspapers  as having died!  He did recover after many months, managed to get the business debts paid off, and with the help of friends, was able to sail back to England.

Now what to do to earn a living?  The Sussex Cricket Club let him back in but after a year, let him go due to the team’s poor performances that year.  The London Stock Exchange wouldn’t let him join due to the debts that had happened in South Africa.  Fortunately, Smith and his two younger sisters had kept active with amateur theatrical productions  and Smith caught the attention of professional theater producer August B. Tapping, who hired Smith to join his Acting Company.  As Smith’s acting chops were developed and  a very successful stage career began, so did a long-lasting marriage, to Isobel Mary Scott Wood.

Smith appeared in a lot of London stage plays that were also sent across the pond to Broadway, and he became a well-known stage actor in America, too.  In 1915, through his having worked with the American producer Charles Froman, he agreed to appear in the Froman backed movie, The Builder of Bridges, and thus, Sir C. Aubrey Smith’s film career began.

I’ve listed the filmography of Sir C. Aubrey Smith, and as I perused it, I  deduced that he certainly was cast as a very definitive type in films: the responsible, elder statesman, often with an impressive military background, or patriarch of a wealthy family.  I decided to list the roles that I have seen Smith perform.

1931: The Bachelor Father-Smith is a wealthy man, but lonely.  He has 3 illegitimate adult children who he wants to get to know, and to help financially.  An interesting pre-code film due to the topic it tackles, and Smith is good as the grouchy old man who finally decides to become a real father, something he realizes he was wrong not to have done or aknowledge years ago.   Bachelor Father movie

1932: Tarzan the Ape Man-Smith is Jane’s father, James Parker, explorer and trader, in this, the first Tarzan film produced by MGM.  He’s the strong father-figure one would expect for this story.

With Maureen O'Sullivan as his daugher, Jane

With Maureen O’Sullivan as his daugher, Jane

1937: The Prisoner of Zenda-Smith plays Col. Zapt, who discovers that a visiting Englishman looks exactly like the prince that is soon to take the throne and then is kidnapped.  Zapt comes up with the plan to get the Englishman to pretend to be the prince and to take the throne, so that Zapt and his men can rescue the real prince, and quietly have the prince and Englishman trade places.

With fellow British actor, Ronald Coleman, in The Prisoner of Zenda

With fellow British actor, Ronald Coleman, in The Prisoner of Zenda

1937-The Hurricane-Smith is Father Paul, and one of the few films where Smith appeared without his trademark bushy moustache.  John Ford directed this action/romance film.  Smith is good as the priest who has dedicated his life to serving the natives of a small, Polynesian island.

With Mary Astor, in The Hurricane

With Mary Astor, in The Hurricane

1939-Often known as Hollywood’s Golden Year due to so many excellent movies produced that year, this one, from Britain, is also excellent, The Four Feathers-Smith in one of his many military roles, as General Burroughs, who’s lovely daughter is engaged to a young officer, who resigns his commission the day before his regiment will be ordered to fight an uprising in North Africa, led by a militant Egyptian rebel leader.

With June Duprez as his daughter, in The Four Feathers

With June Duprez as his daughter, in The Four Feathers

1939- Five Came Back:  A small film with a simple plot: 12 people survive when their plane crashes in the wild’s of South America, where a cannibalistic tribe is lurking nearby.  There is only enough gas to fly out 5 survivors.  Smith is wonderful as Professor Stenger, who along with his elderly wife, keep that stiff upper lip going despite the dangerous situation all find themselves in.

From Five Came Back, with Joseph Caillea

From Five Came Back, with Joseph Caillea

1940- Rebecca: Alfred Hitchcock’s first American directorial debut, Joan Fontaine won Best Actress for her role.  Based on Daphne du Maurier’s best selling book.  Smith is Captain Julyan, Chief Constable of the County and it’s his job to find out how Maxim de Winter’s first wife, Rebecca, died.  Smith is the capable and logical government servant in this outstanding film.

In Rebecca, with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier

In Rebecca, with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier

1940-Beyond Tomorrow: A fantasy film set at Christmas time.  Smith is one of 3 bachelor engineers/industrialists who is killed in a plane crash.  Their 3 ghosts return to their NYC home, determined to help out a young couple who they believe love each other.  A sweet, gentle film.

Beyond Tomorrow's 3 Ghosts: Charles Winninger, Harry Carey, and Smith

Beyond Tomorrow’s 3 Ghosts: Charles Winninger, Harry Carey, and Smith

1945-And Then There Were None: The film version of an Agatha Christie murder mystery.  Smith is General Sir John Mandrake, one of ten guests at an isolated island estate, each guest having a secret to hide:each guest inadvertently caused another human being’s death.  Now someone in the house is picking them off, one by one!

And Then There Were None: L-R:Louis Hayward, Smith, Barry Fitzgerald, Richard Haydn, Mischa Auer, and Walter Huston

And Then There Were None: L-R:Louis Hayward, Smith, Barry Fitzgerald, Richard Haydn, Mischa Auer, and Walter Huston

1949-Little Women: Smith plays Mr. Laurence, the wealthy neighbor and family friend to the March family.  This was Smith’s last role as he passed away in 1948 and this film was released posthumously.  He is wonderful as the neighbor the March girls assume is a grouch, but they all learn that he’s not.  He grows especially close to third March daughter Beth, as she reminds him of his own daughter who died young.  It’s a lovely scene when he bestows on Beth his late daughter’s piano.

Little Women, with Margaret O'Brien as Beth

Little Women, with Margaret O’Brien as Beth

Those are the films of Smith’s that I have seen and enjoyed.  When I see his name listed in a movie’s cast, I always know that he’ll provide an excellent character portrayal.  I also think it a fine thing that he carried his love of cricket to Hollywood and founded the Hollywood Cricket Club, where fellow Britains in the film industry could join him for weekend cricket matches.  Here are  a few  photos of Smith with some of his fellow cricket players.

Smith showing his form as Karloff and British actor Henry Stephenson chit chat.

Smith showing his form as Boris Karloff and British actor Henry Stephenson chit chat.

What fun to have Boris Karloff throw your pitches to you!

What fun to have Boris Karloff throw  to you!

The Hollywood Cricket Club, which Smith founded, in Vancouver. Errol Flynn, front row, far left, Nigel Bruce is next to him, Sir C. Aubrey Smith is in striped jacket on front row.

The Hollywood Cricket Club, which Smith founded.  Errol Flynn, front row, far left, Nigel Bruce is next to him, Sir C. Aubrey Smith is in striped jacket on front row.

Of the films of Smith’s that I’ve seen, only Little Women will be airing in the near future-on Dec. 4th at 4:30 am EST/3:30 am CST  and again on Dec. 24th, Christmas Eve, at 4:30 am EST/3:30 am CST, all courtesy of Turner Classic Movies, so set that dvr if you want to catch Sir C. Aubrey Smith at his finest!

I want to acknowledge Mr. Ken Robichaux, at The Picture Show Man website, and his wonderful article: “C.Aubrey Smith-Hollywood’s Resident Englishman”.  I’ve included a link to Mr. Robichaux’s article as I found it a rich resource in writing my blog, and he also lists the resources he used to write his piece.  Plus, he has some more wonderful pictures of Sir C. Aubrey Smith for all to see.

 

 

For the Swashathon: 1941’s The Corsican Brothers

I love a good, action movie.  Sword fights, so much the better!  Not the modern versions of sword fights that show all of the gore(I’m referring to you, 1995 film Rob Roy.) I know that in real life, a sword fight was a bloody battle, but I like the classic films that depict sword fights with the ultimate battle involving the baddie fighting the hero, with little blood flowing.  The baddie usually ends the fight by grasping his fatal wound, eyes shut, staggering backwards, then falling over, dead.

When I found out that my favorite blog dedicated to silent movies was going to host a “Swashathon” dedicated to swashbuckler movies, I jumped right in.  Be sure to visit Movies, Silently and read about all of the swashbuckler films being paid homage to this weekend.

swashathon-flynn

On November 28th, 1941, the film The Corsican Brothers premiered to rave reviews.  Distributed by United Artists, the film was based on French writer Alexandre Dumas’s adventure novel.  Like many of Dumas’s works of fiction, The Corsican Brothers has a rollicking plot with lots of action.

The Corsican Brothers poster 1

Director Gregory Ratoff, working with the screenplay by George Bruce and Howard Estabrook, kept the story flowing fast;never a dull moment in this movie.   To play the main characters, identical twin brothers, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. won the role.  The movie’s main baddie played by a blustery and glowering Akim Tamiroff.  The lovely Ruth Warrick is the love interest and damsel in distress.   The wonderful supporting cast: J. Carrol Naish, H.B. Warner, Henry Wilcoxon, Gloria Holden, Walter Kingsford, and Nana Bryant.

The movie opens on the island of Corsica and we quickly meet two noble families, the good Franchi family and the evil Colonna family.  It is known in the village that Countess Franchi(Gloria Holden) is about to give birth to her first child, and that all of Count Franchi’s(Henry Wilcoxon) relatives have come to his home to await the birth.  Across town, Baron Colonna(Akim Tamiroff) and his minions are eating a meal and when the Baron learns that all of the Franchis are in one spot, he decides to attack them and murder them all! There is a blood feud between the two families, and it’s explained that in 1841 Corsica, when this story takes place, all Corsicans follow the idea of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.

Baron Colonna announcing Death to all the Franchis!

Baron Colonna announcing Death to all the Franchis!

Countess Franchi bravely labors away in her gorgeous bedroom with the attentive care of Dr. Paoli(H. B. Warner) and a nun/nurse.  Shortly after her twin sons are born, it is known to all that the Countess is dying.  The Count hurries in to see his wife and his sons; he is overjoyed that God has blessed him with two sons!  Dr. Paoli quietly tells him that the twins are conjoined.  The Count is crushed by this news, and he begs the doctor to surgically separate the boys.  Before a surgery can happen, Dr. Paoli manages to sneak the twins out of the mansion, with the help of Franchi family servant Lorenzo(J. Carrol Naish).   Sadly, all of the rest of the Franchis are killed by Baron Colonna and his henchmen.  There’s a touching moment as the nun is helping with the babies escape and she begs her mistress to leave too, but the Countess bravely smiles and tells  the nun to not worry for her, as she’ll face her death with bravery and grace.

Count Franchi and Lorenzo getting ready to defend against Colonna and his henchmen.

Count Franchi and Lorenzo getting ready to defend against Colonna and his henchmen.

Dr. Paoli, back at his home with the babies and Lorenzo, shares his fear that Colonna won’t believe that the babies died in the inferno that engulfed the Franchi home and that he must somehow hide these boys until they are of age.  The surgery has been done and the babies are now separated twins.  With Lorenzo’s suggestion, they contact the Franchi’s good friends, Monsieur and Madame Dupre,(Walter Kingsford and Nana Bryant) who are childless.  After the babies are baptized and christened Mario and Lucien, the Dupre’s take baby Mario back with them to Paris.  Lorenzo agrees to raise Lucien, in the hills of Corsica, near the village of the Franchis.

20 years fly by.  Mario is a cultured and educated young man.  He meets Corsican Countess Isabelle Gravini and it’s love at first sight for him.  At the Paris Opera House, where they meet, he protects her from the attentions of a clod, who later assaults Mario.  When Mario suffers a wound in his shoulder, Lucien awakes with a pain in his shoulder!  Despite being separated, Lucien feels the pains, pangs and passions his twin brother experiences.(Cue the Twilight Zone music!  By the way, I have identical twin daughters, and they have never experienced this “spiritual twin” syndrome, as Dr. Paoli calls it.)  Here’s a clip, courtesy of TCM, of this “spiritual twin” syndrome, and the meeting of Countess Isabelle and Mario.

When Mario and Lucien turn 21, Dr. Paoli asks for the Dupres to allow Mario to travel to Corsica as it’s time for the boys to meet and learn the truth of their ancestry.  The Dupres comply and Mario and Lucien meet for the first time.  Both brothers vow to avenge their parents death at the hands of Baron Colonna.  Here’s the clip of that scene, also courtesy of TCM.  The rest of the movie deals with the brothers exacting their revenge, with a love “square” getting put into the plot.

One of the many excellent camera shots of Fairbanks, Jr. playing twin brothers, appearing in the same scene.

One of the many excellent camera shots of Fairbanks, Jr. playing twin brothers, appearing in the same scene.

I say love “square” instead of triangle because this plot device involves 4 people.  Countess Isabelle loves Mario,Mario loves Countess Isabelle,  Lucien loves Countess Isabelle(he has some fun getting her to kiss him as she thinks he’s Mario and he’s not about to correct her!), and evil Baron Colonna has seen Countess Isabelle, has asked her father for her hand, and when her father says, “No”, Colonna has him poisoned so that he can pursue the Countess unhindered!!

Lucien(or is it Mario?) introducing Countess Isabelle to the camp.

Lucien(or is it Mario?) introducing Countess Isabelle to the camp.

Baron Colonna makes Countess Isabelle's skin crawl!

Baron Colonna makes Countess Isabelle’s skin crawl!

There is a somewhat sad plot point added to the end of the film, but it also ties the story line up neatly, like a bow.  Fairbanks, Jr. is just fantastic as Mario/Lucien.  He’s athletic, gorgeous, and sincere in his acting the dual roles.  The special effects for this film were well done: scenes where Fairbanks, Jr. plays the twins talking to each other, or in scenes where both twins are with other actors at the same time. One scene where the twins get into a fight with one another, yes another actor/double was used but the fight was so carefully choreographed and shot from afar, that it’s hard to tell the double from Fairbanks, Jr.

Wilcoxon and Holden, the doomed Franchi parents,are noble and brave.  H.B. Warner as Dr. Paoli is tender-hearted and wise.  J. Carrol Naish is great as servant Lorenzo, who raises Lucien to be a defender of the people against the evil Colonna, and Kingsford and Bryant are also warm and wise, as the childless couple who raise Mario as their own. Ruth Warrick is so pretty, and has a natural chemistry with Fairbanks, Jr.  I’d like to think they had a lovely time making this film together.   Tamiroff has a blast playing Colonna and his sword fight scene showdown with Mario is a great scene. They fight in a large room, but with furniture to knock over and wounded bodies to dodge, plus a large mirror is used for good visual effect.  Spoiler in this clip.  If you don’t want to know what it is, then don’t watch this clip! Here it is, courtesy of Youtube.

TCM aired The Corsican Brothers this past July, the first time they had ever aired it.  Check their schedule, especially in 2016 as I am sure they’ll be airing this film again.  It’s available to purchase at Amazon in a dvd or to watch it through their prime instant video.  It’s also available at TCM’s Shop.

For an excellent tale complete with swashbuckling derring do, seek out The Corsican Brothers.