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The Devil's Disciple (1959)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, History, Romance  |  20 August 1959 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,219 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 5 critic

The black sheep of a family (Dick Dudgeon) and the local minister (Anthony Anderson) discover their true vocations during the Revolutionary War.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Devil's Disciple (1959)

The Devil's Disciple (1959) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Janette Scott ...
Eva Le Gallienne ...
...
Basil Sydney ...
George Rose ...
Neil McCallum ...
Christie Dudgeon (as Neil Mc Callum)
Mervyn Johns ...
Rev. Maindeck Parshotter
David Horne ...
Erik Chitty ...
Allan Cuthbertson ...
British Captain
...
British Lieutenant
Phyllis Morris ...
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Storyline

In a small New England town during the American War of Independence, Dick Dudgeon, a revolutionary American Puritan, is mistaken for local minister Rev. Anthony Anderson and arrested by the British. Dick discovers himself incapable of accusing another human to suffer and continues to masquerade as the reverend. The minister's wife, Judith, is moved by Dick's actions and mistakenly interprets them as an expression of love for her. In spite of his protestations she finds herself romantically attracted to him. Brought before British commander General Burgoyne, Dudgeon displays his willingness to die for his principles. At the last minute Dick is saved from ministerial pursuits to become a revolutionary leader. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Teufelsschüler  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play was first performed as a 'Copyright Performance' on 17 April 1897 in London, with Shaw reading the part of Rev. Anderson. He was unhappy with the play and wouldn't permit a public performance at that time. It was first shown in the United States on Broadway's Fifth Avenue Theater in New York City on 4 October 1897, and in London the following year. There were 4 Broadway revivals in the United States, the last in 1988. See more »

Goofs

Several times while going through the forest, the British refer to "snipers." However, the term sniper didn't come into being until about 40 years after the American Revolutionary War. The term came into usage in 1824, while the war ended in 1783. See more »

Quotes

General John Burgoyne: Martyrdom, it is where one achieves fame without ability.
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Devil's Disciple (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Yankee Doodle
(uncredited)
traditional 18th Century Anglo-American folk song
Heard under main title
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE (Guy Hamilton and, uncredited, Alexander Mackendrick, 1959) ***1/2
2 April 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Despite its imposing credentials (featuring the star combo of Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier and being adapted from a George Bernard Shaw play), this film is – criminally, if you ask me – scarcely ever revived. Until now, in fact, I had to make do with a tiny reproduction of the poster from the time of its original release locally (kept by my father in a large worn-out scrapbook); for the record, the copy under review was culled from a TCM screening. Anyway, this is a comedy-adventure of the kind 'they don't make 'em like anymore' but one that, being rich in dialogue (as is to be expected of a Shaw work), comes across as atypically intelligent. The setting is the American Revolution (incidentally, the film was begun by Alexander Mackendrick – an American whose career actually took off in England!) with Lancaster a small-town preacher, Douglas a self-proclaimed "ne'er-do-well" and Olivier the General of the invading British army. Douglas, at his roguish best, and a wittily sardonic Olivier are very funny – while Lancaster's initial (albeit necessary) glumness is redeemed by a characteristic bout of acrobatics at the finale. Interestingly, he and Douglas (by the way, THE DEVIL'S DISCIPLE was a co-production between their respective companies) gradually exchange identities throughout the film – with the latter passing himself off as a man of the cloth yet keeping his fervent anti-British sentiments unchecked and the minister forced by circumstances into rebellion, action and eventually negotiations with the enemy. The supporting cast, then, is headed by lovely Janette Scott (who manages to hold her own in the company of the two American stars, playing a character named Judith Anderson!) and Harry Andrews (in the role of Olivier's eager yet dim-witted aide) but also including the likes of Basil Sydney, Mervyn Johns and Allan Cuthbertson. Notable, too, are a rousing score by Richard Rodney Bennett and the novel bits of exposition (detailing the progress of General Burgoyne's ill-fated campaign) amusingly done by shifting military figurines about on a map of the area; incidentally, in the style of Lancaster's THE CRIMSON PIRATE (1952; also co-written by Roland Kibbee), we are urged to believe the events as fictionalized here rather than the way documented history presents them!


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