Beat the Devil (film)
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|Beat the Devil|
1953 film poster
|Directed by||John Huston|
|Produced by||John Huston|
|Screenplay by||John Huston
|Based on||Beat the Devil (1951)
by Claud Cockburn (as James Helvick)
|Music by||Franco Mannino|
|Edited by||Ralph Kemplen|
|Distributed by||British Lion Films (UK)
United Artists (USA)
|Release dates||November 24, 1953|
|Running time||89 min.|
|Box office||£115,926 (UK)|
Beat the Devil is a 1953 film directed by John Huston. The screenplay was by Huston and Truman Capote, loosely based upon a novel of the same name by British journalist Claud Cockburn, writing under the pseudonym James Helvick. It is a parody of Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941) and films of the same genre.
The script, which was written on a day-to-day basis as the film was being shot, concerns the adventures of a motley crew of swindlers and ne'er-do-wells trying to lay claim to land rich in uranium deposits in Kenya as they wait in a small Italian port to travel aboard an ill-fated tramp steamer en route to Mombasa. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, and Bernard Lee.
- Humphrey Bogart as Billy Dannreuther
- Jennifer Jones as Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
- Gina Lollobrigida as Maria Dannreuther
- Robert Morley as Peterson
- Peter Lorre as Julius O'Hara
- Edward Underdown as Harry Chelm
- Ivor Barnard as Maj. Jack Ross
- Marco Tulli as Ravello
- Bernard Lee as Insp. Jack Clayton
- Mario Perrone as Purser on SS Nyanga
- Giulio Donnini as Administrator
- Saro Urzì as Captain of SS Nyanga
- Aldo Silvani as Charles, Restaurant Owner
- Juan de Landa as Hispano-Suiza Driver
In a review coinciding with the film's release to 68 New York metropolitan area theaters, The New York Times called it a "pointedly roguish and conversational spoof, generally missing the book's bite, bounce and decidedly snug construction."
Humphrey Bogart never liked the movie, perhaps because he lost a good deal of his own money bankrolling it, and said of Beat the Devil, "Only phonies like it." Roger Ebert, who included the film in his "Great Movies" list, notes that the film has been characterized as the first camp movie. In the biographical film dramas Infamous (2006) and Capote (2005), Truman Capote, portrayed respectively by Toby Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman, reminisces about life during the filming of Beat the Devil.
- Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p501
- "Beat the Devil (1953)". MRQE. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- "Beat the Devil (1953)". Rotten tomatoes. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- H. H. T. (March 13, 1954). "Beat the Devil City-Wide Debut". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- Ebert, Roger (November 26, 2000). "Beat the Devil". Retrieved 2013-08-20.