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The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1961)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Thriller  |  18 October 1961 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,381 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 13 critic

A crusty, eccentric priest recruits three reluctant convicts to help him rescue a children's leper colony from a Pacific island menaced by a smoldering volcano.

Director:

(as Mervyn Le Roy)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1961)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Harry
...
Father Joseph Perreau
...
Jacques (as Jean Pierre Aumont)
Grégoire Aslan ...
Marcel (as Gregoire Aslan)
Alexander Scourby ...
The Governor
...
Camille (as Barbara Luna)
Cathy Lewis ...
Matron
Bernie Hamilton ...
Charlie
Martin Brandt ...
Doctor Wexler
Louis Merrill ...
Aristide Giraud
...
Gaston
Tom Middleton ...
Paul, Co-pilot
Ann Duggan ...
Clarisse
Louis Mercier ...
Corporal
Edit

Storyline

Three convicts enroute to Tahiti are put to work at a children's leper hospital when their plane makes an unexpected stop on another island. There, Father Perreau is to get off and replace Father Doonan, who's been relieved of his duties by the cardinal. Once on the island, things get out of control when the volcano decides to erupt, and the Governor orders an evacuation. The convicts, priests and leper children are all on top of the island and have no sure way to get down and off to safety. All must work together if any are to survive. Written by AzRanger <Ranger273@azrangers.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the high adventure tradition of "The Guns of Navarone"! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 October 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Teufel kommt um vier  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The meaning and relevance of this film's title is that its literary origins are said to have derived from a proverb that says, "It is hard for a man to be brave when he knows he is going to meet the devil at four o'clock". Moreover, in the film's story, the team of rescuer adventurers goes out to save lepers on the mountain after the volcano has erupted and the island evacuated. They must return by 4:00 o'clock the next day, which is the deadline for when the last schooner will depart the island. See more »

Goofs

When one of the convicts has fallen in the mud pit,a bald headed man in dark clothing(crew member) can be seen behind the fauna to the right,pulling him with a rope further from rescue from Frank Sinatra's character. See more »

Quotes

Father Matthew Doonan: I'll bet you were a sweet little altar boy.
Harry: Weren't we all?
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Simpsons: Missionary: Impossible (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Affirmation of religion with a great script and photography
20 March 2003 | by (Trivandrum, Kerala, India) – See all my reviews

This film anticipates the "Dirty Dozen" film formula with a great story that affirms one's faith in God and the true missionary spirit of Catholic priests who went to various parts of the world to help the poor and the wretched of the earth at great personal sacrifice.

Yet the greatness of the film is not about the missionary zeal of Catholic priests but more about faith in God--the loss of faith and the process of regaining it. It is not an action film, it is a spiritual journey where convicts turn religious by observing selfless actions of others. It brings to mind Pearl S. Buck's "Satan never sleeps". The choice of the title "Devil at 4 O'clock" is unfortunate as the film is not about any devil--there is only a volcanic eruption at that time.

Even if you choose to discount the story, the film is admirable for its earthquake and volcano/lava flow sequences. I wonder how they were able to splice in realistic lava scenes as well as scenes of a small plane flying in close proximity to a volcano in full fury.

Along with "The Seventh Cross" and "Bad Day at Black Rock" this film ranks high as a Spencer Tracy film. He carries the film on his shoulders with good support from Frank Sinatra and Gregoire Aslan. Joseph Biroc's camerawork and Mervyl Leroy's decision to direct this film are commendable. If you have not seen the film see it, it will uplift your spirits and your faith in human values.


17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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