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In 18th-century France a doctor confuses two sets of twins born to the Corsican Duke Di Sisi and to Coupé, a peasant; to ensure that each father will get at least one of his natural sons, he gives both men one baby from each set. By 1789 the Di Sisi brothers, Philippe and Pierre, have become notorious for their swordplay, and when King Louis XVI begins to fear that revolution is imminent, he sends a note asking for their help. The message is intercepted, however, by the Duke d'Escargot who, with Queen Marie Antoinette, is the chief conspirator against the throne; he invites the Di Sisis to join him in overthrowing the king, and they tentatively accept. Meanwhile, as the Di Sisis depart on a barge for Paris disguised as peasants, the simple-minded Coupé brothers, Claude and Charles, have joined Jacques Cabriolet's band of revolutionaries. When Cabriolet's men attack the barge, the Coupé brothers are mistaken for the Di Sisis and taken to the palace, while the Di Sisis are taken back to the revolutionaries' hideout and committed to an insane asylum when Cabriolet finds their behavior to be radically different. At the palace, the king asks the Coupés to assassinate the Duke d'Escargot to prevent him from marrying Princess Christina of Belgium and thus acquiring the power to conquer France; in addition, the unfaithful queen conspires with Claude, whom she still believes to be one of the Di Sisis, to kill d'Escargot so that they can rule France together. As the duke and a group of his men disguised as monks attempt unsuccessfully to assassinate the Coupés, the Di Sisi brothers escape from the asylum and rush to the palace, where great confusion results concerning the men's true identity. Cabriolet and his band march on the palace to depose the king, while the Coupé brothers hurriedly extract a reform proclamation from him; the reforms come too late, however, and the peasants attack the palace. At this point, narrator Orson Welles, in a 20th-century setting, attempts to complete the story by reading from a history book, but two look-alikes (descendants of Charles and Pierre) appear and shoot Welles; two more look-alikes (descendants of Claude and Philippe) appear, and one shoots both Charles/Pierre descendants. One of the Claude/Philippe descendants then shoots the other, and the survivor himself is shot by the "Man in the Iron Mask," who has finally been freed from the Tower by the insurgents.