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The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

All That Money Can Buy (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 29 October 1941 (USA)
1:57 | Trailer

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A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer who makes a compact with Satan for economic success enlists Daniel Webster to extract him from his contract.



(story "The Devil and Daniel Webster"), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Miser Stevens
Frank Conlan ...
Daniel Stone
Cy Bibber


A down-on-his-luck farmer makes a deal with the devil for seven years of prosperity. When Mr. Scratch comes to collect, orator and hero of the common man Daniel Webster comes to the rescue. Written by Little Pine Weasel <kristinat@cerritos.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


STEPHEN VINCENT BENET'S Amazing Saturday Evening Post Story See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 October 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Certain Mr. Scratch  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Prints that have been made under the title "The Devil and Daniel Webster" also say "Originally released as 'All That Money Can Buy' ", indicating that this was the film's original title. See more »


Characters in this film set in pre-Civil War America routinely use the phrase "loan shark" despite the fact that it came into the English language between 1900 and 1905. See more »


Mr. Scratch: [reading from his list] Sherwin, Slaterly, Stevens - I can cross him off the list, he's an old customer...
[something like a moth flies out of his handkerchief toward Jabez]
Miser Stevens' Voice: [faint] Help me, Jabez Stone! Help me!
Jabez Stone: That's Miser Stevens' voice!
Mr. Scratch: [catching it] Miser Stevens' soul, I'm sorry for the disturbance.
Jabez Stone: But he isn't dead, he's dancing! He's in there!
Mr. Scratch: He was.
[Jabez runs into the ballroom and sees Stevens' body stretched out]
Mr. Scratch: In the midst of life, one really hates to close these long standing ...
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Version of Shortcut to Happiness (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

The Longer Criterion Version Is The One To See
7 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First off, let me state that after viewing both versions of this film: the 85-minute and the 106-minute ones, both have their merits. For VHS, I recommend the shorter version. If you have the Criterion DVD with a 106-minute one, however, you have the best. I had seen both on tape but when I saw the longer version with a great DVD transfer, it convinced me the longer one is the version you want to see. It also seemed to improve the whole movie.

The Criterion DVD helped me appreciate the underrated black-and-white cinematography in this movie. It simply looks super, and even the special-effects are still pretty darned good considering the year this was made.

Character-wise, as so often is the case, the bad-guys are the most interesting in the movie. The best was Walter Huston playing "Scratch" (the Devil) and Simone Simon playing a female helper of his. Simon has the allure in this story to drive leading character "Jabez Stone" away from his sweet wife "Mary" (Anne Shirley).

Depressed and whining over his financial state of affairs and general lot in life, "Jabez" is ripe pickings for the wily "Scratch" and his cohort. The Devil makes Stone sign away his soul for money, prosperity, power, etc. Jabez gets carried away with his greed and winds up learning some valuable lessons.

Meanwhile, Edward Arnold plays "Daniel Webster," a folk hero during this time period, a man revered by all in New England. He winds up defending Jabez in a court-like scene i the end to see if he can win back the man's soul. Arnold is captivating in his role as Webster and gives an old-fashioned patriotic message at the end which would make today's Hollywood filmmakers sick.

Craig, who gets 12th billing in this film - go figure - has the most lines in the movie! How can be ignored, not only on the DVD and VHS boxes but on the bottom of the credits on this IMDb cast page? Craig overacts in his role and, thus, becomes a little annoying at times. Shirley might have been the most attractive I've ever seen here, mainly because of her strong, Christian character and down-home plain beauty that shines through in this character, Jabez's faithful wife "Mary." (She also gets slighted in the billing.)

Overall, this is a different story than anything you've seen. It's interesting, nicely directed by William Dieterle and photographed by Joseph August. Sadly, the latter died later in this decade with a heart attack. His last picture was another visual wonder: "Portrait Of Jennie."

31 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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