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The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1961)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,254 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)

The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1961) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Edit

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
BarBara Luna ...
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:

They jumped into hell to save part of heaven. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

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

Director Mervyn LeRoy, said of this film in his autobiography, "Mervyn LeRoy: Take One": " . . . what made it a problem was that the climactic scene involved a volcano, and that's the kind of thing you have to worry about and plan for with extreme care . . . It was done partly on a Hollywood sound stage, partly in the Hawaiian Islands. And we also used miniatures extensively. We built a mountain near La Jolla, on Gil Hodges' farm. Mostly, though, we shot in Lahaina, on the Hawaiian island of Maui. We built a lovely set there--an entire village, complete with a street, a church and even a jail. Even though we were shooting in one of the most beautiful places on earth, it was a tough picture." See more »

Goofs

In the scenes in the village during one eruption, the ground splits. The trench into which the loose soil falls to create this effect can be seen even before the dirt disappears. See more »

Quotes

Charlie: I was a pretty good thief in my time.
Father Matthew Doonan: I believe that.
Charlie: It's too late. Can't you get out now?
Father Matthew Doonan: It's never too late to change.
Charlie: My mother, that's what she used to say, "It's never too late."
Father Matthew Doonan: She was right.
Charlie: She kept after me - kept tellin' me - there was another thief once dyin' on the cross right next to Christ.
Father Matthew Doonan: The Good Thief.
Charlie: That's what she called him.
Father Matthew Doonan: He didn't chicken out. He just got smart and at the very last moment, he stole Heaven.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Sopranos: Another Toothpick (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"It is hard for a man to be brave when he knows he is going to meet the devil at 4 o'clock"...
21 January 2009 | by (Greensboro, NC) – See all my reviews

This film, starring Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra, is about a priest on an island that has essentially lost his faith. The island has a volcano that starts to erupt and the priest is concerned about evacuating the children's Hospital that he founded. The movie is titled for the fact that after the volcano starts erupting, Father Doonan only has until 4pm to rescue the children before the last boat leaves the island.

The film starts slow and never really recovers from the slow pace. The one high spot of the film is the location shooting in Hawaii which is gorgeous. But this hardly saves the movie. The biggest flaw I found was with the script. The dialogue and action were for the most part dull and uninteresting. I think they could have done a much better job creating and maintaining tension given the extent of the looming disaster.

I thought the special effects were very good for the era. It's amazing that they actually "constructed" the volcano on farmland in California. It looked very realistic. The earthquakes and destruction of the town's buildings were also fairly realistic. I thought some of the studio sets were pretty fake though - like most of the film as they are escaping down the mountain from the volcano. All the rocks, cliffs and vegetation were obviously fake. Especially the rocks, they looked "shiny".

So far as the acting performances, there's a reason no one won, or even got nominated, for awards. There are no intense performances like you would expect when people are in the midst of an apocalyptic disaster. But it mostly comes across as exaggerated acting. There is one tender moment of fine acting near the end from Tracy when he is saying his goodbyes to Charlie and praying to God. I suddenly felt like I was watching an entirely different film, it stood out so much from the rest of the performances. Tracy only appeared in 4 more movies after this one before dying in 1967. Barbara Luna plays the exotic beauty Camille, the blind nurse. You may remember her from Star Trek, or "One Life to live" (Maria Roberts - "the bitch everyone loves to hate). I have never seen eyes so dark.

I must say for a film made by Hollywood, where they usually laugh at spiritual matters - there is a pretty good message of redemption and forgiveness here. The theme of a disillusioned priest rediscovering his faith reminds of a similar message in "Signs". But unlike the latter, this film didn't enjoy the same box office success. Now, I see why. Too bad.


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