IMDb > The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
All That Money Can Buy
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The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) More at IMDbPro »All That Money Can Buy (original title)

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The Devil and Daniel Webster -- US Home Video Trailer from Warner Home Video

Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   3,126 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Stephen Vincent Benet (story)
Dan Totheroh (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Devil and Daniel Webster on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 October 1941 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
A GREAT MOTION PICTURE DARES TO BE DIFFERENT! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »
Plot:
A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer who makes a compact with Satan for economic success enlists Daniel Webster to extract him from his contract. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
NewsDesk:
(108 articles)
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User Reviews:
A Marvelous Film that Stands the Test of Time See more (49 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Edward Arnold ... Daniel Webster

Walter Huston ... Mr. Scratch

Jane Darwell ... Ma Stone

Simone Simon ... Belle

Gene Lockhart ... Squire Slossum

John Qualen ... Miser Stevens

H.B. Warner ... Justice John Hathorne
Frank Conlan ... Sheriff
Lindy Wade ... Daniel Stone
George Cleveland ... Cy Bibber

Anne Shirley ... Mary Stone
James Craig ... Jabez Stone
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Austin ... Spectator (uncredited)
Walter Baldwin ... Hank (uncredited)
Eddie Borden ... Poker Player (uncredited)
Hazel Boyne ... Woman (uncredited)
Sonny Bupp ... Martin Van Buren Aldrich (uncredited)
Bob Burns ... Townsman (uncredited)
Horace B. Carpenter ... Jabez Stone's Guest at Party (uncredited)
Tex Cooper ... Townsman (uncredited)

Jeff Corey ... Tom Sharp (uncredited)
Alec Craig ... Eli Higgins (uncredited)
Joan Delmer ... Young Girl (uncredited)
Eddie Dew ... Farmer (uncredited)
Patricia Doyle ... Servant (uncredited)
Robert Dudley ... Lem (uncredited)
Charles Herzinger ... Old Farmhand (uncredited)
Harry Hood ... Tailor (uncredited)
Harry Humphrey ... Reverend (uncredited)
Payne B. Johnson ... Boy (uncredited)
Anita Lee ... Infant (uncredited)

Thomas Mitchell ... Daniel Webster in some long shots (uncredited)

Robert Pittard ... Clerk (uncredited)
June Preston ... Little Blonde Girl (uncredited)
Stewart Richards ... Doctor (uncredited)
Sherman Sanders ... Caller (uncredited)
Carl Stockdale ... Van Brooks (uncredited)
Robert Strange ... Court Clerk (uncredited)
Jim Toney ... Farmer (uncredited)
Virginia Williams ... Baby (uncredited)

Directed by
William Dieterle 
 
Writing credits
Stephen Vincent Benet  story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" &
Dan Totheroh  screenplay and
Stephen Vincent Benet  screenplay

Produced by
William Dieterle .... producer
Charles L. Glett .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Bernard Herrmann 
 
Cinematography by
Joseph H. August (director of photography) (as Joseph August)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Wise 
 
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
 
Set Decoration by
Darrell Silvera 
 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Argyle Nelson .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Alfred Herman .... associate art director (as Al Herman)
 
Sound Department
Hugh McDowell Jr. .... sound recordist
James G. Stewart .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Vernon L. Walker .... special effects
 
Music Department
Bernard Herrmann .... conductor
Bernard Herrmann .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Peter Berneis .... dialogue director
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"All That Money Can Buy" - USA (original title)
"A Certain Mr. Scratch" - USA (alternative title)
"Daniel and the Devil" - USA (reissue title)
"Mr. Scratch" - USA (alternative title)
See more »
Runtime:
107 min | USA:85 min (cut version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The stage version opened at the Martin Beck Theater on May 18, 1939 and ran for six performances.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Ma is mending and talking about Mary in labor, Ma's hand jumps to being held by Jabez.See more »
Quotes:
Daniel Webster:What are you looking for, Colonel? What's your name?
Martin Van Buren Aldrich:Martin Van Buren Aldrich. My pa is the only Democrat in Cross Corners. He said you had horns and a tail, Mr. Webster, but I ain't seen them yet.
Daniel Webster:[laughs] You see, Martin, I only wear them when I'm in Washington. That's the trouble. But if you ever get down there, I'll be glad to show them to you.
Martin Van Buren Aldrich:Gee, would you, Mr. Webster? Honest?
Daniel Webster:Of course! And you tell your father for me, that we may be on opposite sides of the fence, but I'm always glad to hear of a man who holds to his own opinion. As long as the people do that, this country is all right.
See more »

FAQ

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66 out of 66 people found the following review useful.
A Marvelous Film that Stands the Test of Time, 8 October 2004
Author: swayland7

William Dieterle's adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's The Devil and Daniel Webster is the product of a great, albeit brief, era of quality Hollywood film-making that has never been repeated. Released within a three-year period that yielded such classics as The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Gunga Din, The Maltese Falcon, and Citizen Kane (just to name a few), The Devil and Daniel Webster is only now earning the accolades it deserves. The film is late to join the aforementioned classics because a definitive version of it has been elusive for nearly sixty years. For their 2003 DVD release of the title, The Criterion Collection finally discovered a complete print that had been in the director's possession. Now restored to its full length, and painstakingly restored, The Devil and Daniel Webster has never looked and sounded better.

A cautionary tale of greed and power, the narrative centers around the character of Jabez Stone (played by James Craig), a down-on-his-luck farmer who is barely able to support his family in 1840s New Hampshire. When the nefarious Mr. Scratch (Walter Houston) appears during a moment of weakness, Jabez agrees to sell his soul in exchange for seven years of good luck. Much to the dismay of his wife (Ann Shirley), mother (Jane Darwell), and beloved politician Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold), Jabez slips into a downward spiral as a result of his newfound wealth and power. When his seven years are up, Jabez learns the error of his ways and wants to make amends. To escape his contract with the devil, Jabez puts his fate in the hands of the almost mythic Daniel Webster, who represents him in a climactic barn room trial against Mr. Scratch and a jury of the damned.

The execution of this story is remarkable, from the elegant direction and incredible performances to the innovative camera work and stylish mise-en-scene. Dieterle infuses the film with stark contrast lighting and masterful compositions rich in detail and multiple layers of action. When Mr. Scratch appears in Jabez's barn, he is heavily backlit and accompanied by ethereal sounds. His accomplice, the creepy Belle, is similarly introduced beside a fireplace. To portray the film's more ghostly effects, including Belle's dance to the death with Miser Stevens and the barn room trial, Dieterle relies on multiple exposure and diffused lighting. These visual effects and others, such as items bursting into flame, were ahead of their time - as were the lighting schemes. Influenced as Citizen Kane was by German expressionist films, The Devil and Daniel Webster features bold, suggestive lighting where shadows alone often represent a character. Dieterle succeeds in creating a visual distinction between the real world and the netherworld by frequently bathing Scratch and Belle in soft light or diffusion and removing all natural sounds from the soundtrack when they appear. Belle's dance of death and Scratch's fiddle playing at Jabez's party are accompanied by severe under lighting, insinuating the hellish forces at work in both scenes. Every shot in the film, even in the mundane world, seems painstakingly planned and executed, with decisive lighting and many intricate camera movements, rare for this era of film-making.

The most remarkable performance in the film is Walter Houston's Mr. Scratch.

Houston, an Oscar-winner for his role in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, exudes unbridled glee with every devilish grin. His devil is a gentleman-like puppet master, a smooth talker, and very persuasive. He never flaunts his evil powers. He doesn't have to. His appeal is understandable because he can offer what everyone in the movie wants - wealth and power. It's easy for the Devil to sell his wares to struggling farmers, so he's confident and playful in his duties. Houston throws away one-liner after one-liner, owning the screen and stealing the show. At one point, he offers to help Daniel Webster win the presidential election. Webster replies, "I'd rather see you on the side of the opposition." As Webster walks away, Houston replies, "Oh, I'll be there, too," and sticks a cigar in his mouth.

To combat the devil, Dieterle cast Edward Arnold (who was actually recast when the original actor was injured during filming). Arnold had a tough job in the film, making believable not only Daniel Webster's mythic stature, but also his flowery rhetoric about patriotism and the goodness in all men. He admirably succeeds in not only persuading the jury of the damned, but in holding his own against Walter Houston in their many scenes together.

Everyone else in the cast is also excellent. James Craig pulls off Jabez Stone's fall from grace, and Ann Shirley is a believable virtuous wife. Jane Darwell, fresh off her Oscar-winning stint as Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, seems to be playing the same character in The Devil and Daniel Webster, but it serves the movie well. The most notable supporting player is Simone Simon, whose mesmerizing Belle haunts every frame in which she appears. It's easy to see why Jabez would fall under her spell, because we, as an audience, do as well.

The icing on the Devil's cake is Bernard Herrmann's Oscar-winning score, a dynamic one that works on many levels. Herrmann incorporates several traditional folk songs into his original music, including "Devil's Dream", "Springfield Mountain", and "Miss McLeod's Reel". For Mr. Scratch and Belle, Herrmann manipulated the sound of telephone wires "singing" in the wind to create an eerie, atonal sound for the netherworld. The film also provided Herrmann a wealth of other opportunities, including a square dance and two lullabies.

A good story makes a movie worth watching once. Exquisite aesthetics makes it worth watching many times. The Devil and Daniel Webster stands the test of time as an endearing narrative with lessons we have still to learn. It's masterful direction and style, fluid editing, and charming performances make it an accessible and entertaining film for any audience. Now restored and widely available, it is sure to join the ranks of those other great classics from the late '30s and early '40s - a scintillating example of good storytelling and fine craftsmanship.

- Scott Schirmer

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Edward Arnold as a good guy? WingHaz
Belle? Hottest Woman Ever BORN paul_is_taul
Editing of different versions. Dornford
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Name change? DeanBitterman
Where does the story take place in New Hampshire exactly pelletier-mike
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