The Boys from Syracuse


1h 13m 1940

Brief Synopsis

The action takes place in Ephesus in ancient Asia Minor, and the concerns The efforts of two boys from Syracuse, Anthipholus and his servant Dromio, to find their long-lost twins who, for reason of plot confusion, are also named Anthipholus and Dromio. Complications arise when the wife of the Ephesians, Adriana and her servant Luce, mistake the two strangers for their husband, though the couples eventually get sorted out after Adriana's sister Luciana and the Syracuse Antipholus admit their love

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 9, 1940
Premiere Information
Syracuse, New York opening: 18 Jul 1940
Production Company
Mayfair Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical The Boys from Syracuse , book by George Abbott, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (Boston, 11 Nov 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

In ancient Greece, Ephesus has just defeated Syracuse at war, and Antipholus of Ephesus or "Eph," a Grecian general, has persuaded the Duke of Ephesus to pass a law that any Syracusean found in Ephesus shall be beheaded. Eph is married to the beautiful Adriana, and his slave Dromio or "Dro" is married to Luce, Adriana's slave. The first Syracusean to be sentenced to death is Aegon, a father of twin sons who in turn had twin slaves. Both sets of twins had become separated during a storm years before, and since then, Aegon has been searching for his lost sons. His search has brought him to Ephesus, where the Duke pleads that Aegon's life should be spared, while Eph insists that the law be upheld. While Eph and Dro visit their tailors' shop, Antipholus of Syracuse or "Sy," who unknowingly is the twin brother of Eph, and Dromio or "Mio" of Syracuse, the twin brother of Dro, arrive in Ephesus searching for Aegon. A mix-up of the two sets of twins, who do not meet, is highly confusing to the tailors, Pinch and Angelo. Sy goes to seek lodging and he sees Phyllis, Adriana's beautiful sister, and begins to flirt with her. Believing that Sy is her brother-in-law, Phyllis becomes outraged and leaves. Sy then rejoins Mio on the street, where Adriana and Luce drive up in their chariot and Adriana mistakes Sy for Eph, while Luce believes Mio to be Dro. The amazed Syracuseans are taken to Adriana's home, and there they are wined and dined. Sy discovers the answer to the situation when he visits Eph's room and learns that he is in the home of his twin brother. Sy then tells Phyllis the whole story and swears his love for her. In response, she declares her love for him and warns him that his father Aegon is to be executed. Together they devise a plan to save the old man. On the day of the execution, which is the same day as the Festival of Athena, Sy poses as Eph and releases Aegon. As a result, the bewildered Eph and Dro are imprisoned by the Duke, but they overpower their jailers and escape. Meanwhile, Sy, Mio, Phyllis and Aegon try to escape by chariot, but are overtaken and returned to the festival, where the twins meet for the first time. As a result of the mix-up, the populace of Ephesus decides to set aside the laws dictating the execution of Syracuseans, thus freeing Sy to marry Phyllis.

Photo Collections

The Boys from Syracuse - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Universal's The Boys from Syracuse (1940). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 9, 1940
Premiere Information
Syracuse, New York opening: 18 Jul 1940
Production Company
Mayfair Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Co.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical The Boys from Syracuse , book by George Abbott, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (Boston, 11 Nov 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1940

Best Special Effects

1941

Best Visual Effects

1940

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The play The Boys from Syracuse was adapted from William Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (1592-93). In adapting the stage production to film, three songs were dropped: "Oh Diogenes," "Longest Day of the Year Has the Shortest Night of the Year" and "You Have Cast Your Shadow on the Sea." To take their place, Rogers and Hart wrote two new songs for the film: "Who Are You" and "The Greeks Have No Word for It." This was the first production of former film sales manager Jules Levey's Mayfair Productions. This Mayfair is not the same production company as Mayfair Pictures Corp., which was active in the early 1930s. Irene Hervey and Allan Jones were married when they appeared together in the film. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, the Ritz Brothers walked out on the production because they felt that their roles were not large enough. The picture received Academy Award nominations in the Art Direction (Black-and-White) and Special Effects (Photographic Effects, John P. Fulton, and Sound Effects, Bernard B. Brown and Joe Lapis) categories.