Beat the Devil (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  17 December 1953 (Italy)
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Reviews: 112 user | 32 critic

On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen...



(novel) (as James Helvick) , (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Edward Underdown ...
Ivor Barnard ...
Marco Tulli ...
Insp. Jack Clayton
Mario Perrone ...
Purser on SS Nyanga
Giulio Donnini ...
Captain of SS Nyanga (as Saro Urzi)
Juan de Landa ...
Hispano-Suiza Driver
Aldo Silvani ...
Charles - Restaurant Manager


A quartet of international crooks -- Peterson, O'Hara, Ross and Ravello -- is stranded in Italy while their steamer is being repaired. With them are the Dannreuthers. The six are headed for Africa, presumably to sell vacuum cleaners but actually to buy land supposedly loaded with uranium. They are joined by others who apparently have similar designs. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They're Out To Beat the Devil At His Own Game! See more »


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Release Date:

17 December 1953 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Schach dem Teufel  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


When Billy, Peterson and the driver push the car for the first time, there are four suitcases tied on its rear. When they do it for the second time, there are only three higher suitcases. And when the car falls in the cliff, the four suitcases from the beginning reappear. See more »


O'Hara: Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say time is a crook.
See more »


Featured in Biography: Humphrey Bogart (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Very good off beat comedy, beware of bad prints.
27 August 2004 | by (Blauvelt, NY) – See all my reviews

"Beat The Devil" is one of Bogart's more unusual films. Scripted by none other than Truman Capote and John Huston, it is a very entertaining, offbeat noir satire (quite a description). Upon first viewing a lot of the humor may get lost, but view it a second time, and you can not help but laugh out loud at many of the jokes.

The cast is absolutely top notch. Bogart is perfect as Billy Dannreuther, a man who has a friend that will line him and his associates up with some land in Africa that is rich with uranium. It's always nice to see Bogie prove that he had a great sense of humor, and didn't mind poking fun at himself. Jennifer Jones, who, for some reason, always reminded me of Vivien Leigh (in "Streetcar")in this picture is terrific as Mrs. Chelm. But it is Robert Morley who steals the picture for me. Sometimes menacing, sometimes charming, he is a delight to watch.

Huston and Capote have done a great job of blending the different genres without letting them get all caught up in each other. I do wish that the final scene was written a little better, but the movie is still a lot of fun.

Caution - because the film was allowed to enter the public domain, there are a lot of really lousy prints out on the market, even on DVD. If you want this film for your own collection, do yourself a favor and spend a couple of extra dollars and buy a good print.

7 out of 10

34 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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