Cast & Crew
Dr. Francesco Paoli writes a letter to the Society of Medicine at the Academie Francaise in Paris in which he relates the ongoing story of the "Corsican brothers," conjoined twins whom he separated at infancy. The doctor recalls an incident from several days earlier: Emilio, a local blacksmith, publicly denounces local tyrant Baron Cesare Jonatto. Jonatto challenges Emilio to a fight but then shoots him in the back. Following this incident, the doctor is summoned to a meeting called by Count Mario Franchi, a man committed to freeing the populace from Jonatto's rule: The meeting, comprised of noblemen who have vowed to support the benevolent rule of the Duke of Cassini, is interrupted by Cassini's driver, who reports that the Duke was murdered in an ambush by Jonatto's men disguised as bandits. To distract Jonatto while they develop a plan to overthrow his rule, Mario and the noblemen pretend to offer their full support. Later that evening, Mario urges his wife Christini to go to Venice for her own safety, but she refuses to leave his side. Returning to the present, the doctor resumes writing his letter, explaining that Mario's brother Lucien, long believed dead, was actually alive and living with a family of gypsies. The doctor adds that Lucien has a metaphysical bond with his brother that "manifest[ed] itself with extraordinary intensity," and recalls how they were eventually reunited: Lucien has forgotten his true identity, and is known to the gypsies as Carlos. One evening, as he practices knife-throwing with gypsy Zelda, he is overcome by a vision of a man he believes is himself riding horseback. Jonatto and his nephew, meanwhile, draft a letter to King Charles X asking the king's sanction in appointing him the local ruler. Jonatto's butler, Riggio, secretly reports the request to Mario, who intercepts Jonatto's courier to the king but makes it seem that the courier succeeded in delivering the message. After Lucien collapses in pain when Mario is shot in the shoulder during the ambush, Zelda brings Lucien to Dr. Paoli for help. The doctor later informs Mario and Christini that Lucien has reappeared. Mario is astonished and pleased, but is warned by the doctor not to remind Lucien of his true identity because of his resentment toward Mario. Jonatto is suspicious that Mario may have been involved in the ambush and, in the guise of protection, places a full-time guard around the count's home. When the doctor sneaks Lucien in through a secret passageway, the brothers are reunited. Lucien, still an amnesiac, is shocked to see his mirror image in Mario, but agrees to help by impersonating him while Mario attempts to undermine Jonatto's regime. While Lucien stays at the villa with Christini, Mario and his men distribute anti-Jonatto leaflets and attack Jonatto's mule-drawn supply wagons. In an attempt to suppress Mario's efforts, Jonatto insists that Lucien, now posing as Mario, and Christini stay at his castle for the unveiling of a statue and the ensuing festivities. Just then, Mario is thrown from his horse during a raid on Jonatto's armory, causing Lucien to collapse. Zelda and her friend Grisha rescue Mario, thinking that he is Lucien, and bring him to the doctor. Lucien, meanwhile, awakens and finally recalls his true identity. He professes his love to Christini, but his old bitterness emerges when she rebuffs him. Zelda is shocked when she sees Lucien, who has left the villa, and Mario together at the doctor's house. When Lucien vows to murder Jonatto, Mario urges his brother to remain calm and bring Christini to him the next morning. Lucien agrees but as he leaves, he enlists Zelda's help in eliminating his brother. Later that night, Lucien murders one of Jonatto's guards, slips into the castle and attempts to kill Jonatto. After he fails, Lucien urges Christini to flee for her own safety. When Christini is kidnapped by Jonatto, Lucien torches the villa. Jonatto then embarks on a manhunt for Mario during which many innocent people are harmed. Reunited with his brother, Mario reprimands Lucien for his rash behavior, but Lucien reveals his plan to rescue Christini using the gypsies as a cover. Mario agrees to participate, but insists that Lucien lead a raid on Jonatto's granary so that the people will see a Franchi still in charge, while Mario rescues Christini. Meanwhile, Christini gains her freedom to roam the castle grounds by flirting with Jonatto. When the gypsies arrive, Mario is with them in the guise of a fortune-teller who warns Jonatto of the granary raid and foretells that Christini will be united with a leader of the people. Jonatto is convinced of Mario's authenticity when he is informed of the raid, and allows the gypsies to entertain on the castle grounds. When Jonatto hears that a Franchi led the raid, he surmises that both Corsican brothers must be alive. After Zelda informs Jonatto of Christini and Mario's true identities and they are caught attempting to escape, Jonatto tortures Mario, but the count refuses to divulge any information and, when left alone, escapes to Christini's room. There Mario engages Jonatto in a sword fight while Lucien and his followers slip into the castle. When Mario loses his sword, Lucien tosses him his own, and Mario then kills Jonatto. Insisting that he can no longer live in his brother's shadow, Lucien attacks Mario. Mario's assistant, Lorenzo, kills Lucien with a knife, thereby saving Mario's life. The doctor concludes his letter by stating that Mario and his wife are now re-building their life.
Lee Van Cleef
George E. Diskant
Edward L. Ilou
John K. Kean
The working title of this film was The Return of the Corsican Brothers. Onscreen credits note that the film is "A Sequel to Alexander Dumas' `Corsican Brothers.'" Although Dumas' novel, Les frères Corses (The Corsican Brothers), is credited onscreen as the source for the film, the only similarity between the book and the film are the characterization of the twin brothers' prescience, and that they were surgically separated at birth. In the novel, the brothers are called Lucien and Louis de Franchi, while in the film, they are named Lucien and Mario Franchi. According to a Variety review, Michel Kraike was originally slated to produce but withdrew from the film days before production began. Edward Small took over producing duties, but refrained from taking credit on the film.
Bandits of Corsica is a sequel to the 1942 Edward Small Productions, Inc. release titled The Corsican Brothers, directed by Gregory Ratoff and starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). 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); 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); and the 1984 Orion release Cheech and Chong's The Corsican Brothers, starring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong and directed by Chong.