Beat the Devil (1953)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  17 December 1953 (Italy)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,912 users  
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


The Bold Adventure That Beats Them All! 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?


Claud Cockburn (aka Claud Cockburn) wrote the screenplay based on his novel. Truman Capote was purportedly brought to complete the script late in the piece when Cockburn left or was fired. See more »


When the boat arrives at shore and the group come out of the sea, Billy walks after Peterson and stops just behind him. In the next shot, shown from the front, Billy appears on the left side of Peterson. 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 »


References Casablanca (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

Bogart himself called it a "mess."

The plot, if you can call it that, concerned a group of six stranded adventurers in an Italian port whose plan is to buy up some East African land that supposed1y contains uranium… Double-crossing quickly becomes the name of the game as Bogart and his fellow conspirators (including Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Gina Lollobrigida, and a seemingly endless parade of bizarre characters) outdo each other in inspired crazy way…

Bogart, trying desperately to maintain his composure, delivered such priceless lines as: 'I'm only in on this because the doctor told me I needed plenty of money. Without money I become dull, listless, and have trouble with my complexion." But his lines weren't the only offbeat ones… In a room where he's being questioned after being captured, while a firing squad goes about its routine work outside, he is asked straight-faced, "Now tell me, do you really know Rita Hayworth?"

The film is one of those rare items that viewers either seem to love or hate, no middle ground accepted… and declared that only the "phonies" thought it was really funny… Many reviewers thought the whole thing was a tasteless joke and decried the waste of time, talent, and money…

In any case, Bogart gave an immensely satisfying performance in his tongue-in-cheek role and the film itself has now become a regular attraction in Bogart film retrospectives… It is also an excellent example of how much Bogart had matured as an actor, since it is not easy to overcome apparently inept material and still give a performance with some meaning and substance…

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