hat do you mean 'come easy, go easy?' Now we have to start all over again right at the bottom!


The review that follows was written following a preview of the film. As a result of such reviews, the final film was cut by nearly a half hour, to 9-reels.


Variety, March 24, 1933

This 11-reeler has sufficient Laurel & Hardy and connecting story to cut down to six spools and get an entertaining L&H feature, thus eliminating the slow and old-fashioned opera that has been recorded probably in the manner of its initial presentation in 1830.

The second deluge of musical pictures is just starting, but if many more 'Fra Diavolos' are made and released in the footage this was screened for preview audiences, the musical deluge will only be a short summer shower.

Too much of the original music is retained and too little of the lyrics are heard. Settings and ensembles are stage-like and a.k. Nothing is done with camera or crowd manipulation to improve the original. The L&H tempo, always ponderous, permeates the rest of the action, making it a stroll throughout.

The comic team dish up some hearty sequences, notably a sleeping powder gag, wine cellar scene and laughing gag. Henry Armetta foils well for them, as does Dennis King, who sings and plays the title part with dash and ability. Thelma Todd looks her most seductive opposite him. The more spiritual love element is kicked somewhere in the background and is handled by Lucille Brown and Arthur Pierson. James Finlayson is Miss Todd's nearsighted husband and is good, too.

Leroy Shields has arranged and conducted the music, a tough job capably done. Only interpolation in the L&H cookoo trademark. Photography is underlighted in many spots and otherwise handicapped by the 10-20-30 exterior sets.

Picture is underway 15 minutes before Laurel and Hardy make their initial appearance.


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