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Satan Never Sleeps (1962)

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A priest (William Holden) arrives at a mission-post in China accompanied by a young native girl who has joined him along the way. His job is to relieve the existing priest (Clifton Webb), ... See full summary »


, (uncredited)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Father O'Banion
Father Bovard
Siu Lan
Athene Seyler ...
Sister Agness
Martin Benson ...
Edith Sharpe ...
Sister Theresa
Chung Ren
Marie Yang ...
Andy Ho ...
Ho San's Father
Ah Wang
Weaver Levy ...
Ho San (as Weaver Lee)


A priest (William Holden) arrives at a mission-post in China accompanied by a young native girl who has joined him along the way. His job is to relieve the existing priest (Clifton Webb), who is now too old and weak to continue with the upkeep of the church. However, Communist soldiers arrive at the mission and seize it as a command post. Their leader rapes the native girl and impregnates her, only later to realise that Communism is no good for him. In the end, the foursome flee to the border, but are pursued by Communist forces along the way. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How Violators of Human Decency Work Their Terror Countdown!


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

23 March 1962 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Flight from Terror  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In addition to using sets (and actors) from "The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness", this film also used several locations that had been seen in the earlier film, in the Snowdonia mountain region of Wales. See more »


In the baptism scene at the end, Holden pulls the white garment over his head just as the name of the child is revealed. His hair is very tousled as his head subsequently emerges. The scene cuts to the proud/happy parents, then right back to Holden and his hair is miraculously restored to its customary neatness with no apparent time elapsed. See more »


Featured in Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (2001) See more »


Satan Never Sleeps
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Harold Adamson and Leo McCarey
Sung by Timi Yuro
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Unsuccessful as either comedy or drama...
10 December 2006 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

William Holden (looking disinterested) and fey Clifton Webb are priests in the 1940s serving at a Chinese mission and being terrorized by the Red Chinese Army. Holden is actually being terrorized in another way as well--by twinkling servant Frances Nuyen, who's anxious to snuggle up to the heavy-sighing Man of the Cloth. Director Leo McCarey helmed this adaptation of Pearl Buck's novel as either a comedy-drama or as a drama with a comedic undermining (I'm not sure which, as the tone of the film strays all over the place). There are Communist takeover sequences such as the crucifix thrown on the fire which should be harrowing, but McCarey directs it thoughtlessly, cartoonishly. We never really fear for Holden or Webb's safety because the direction is so dispassionate (and Holden is so laconic) that fear seems nearly unwarranted. I actually found the Nuyen-seducing-Holden scenes more tasteless than the violence, and the pat conclusion is tacked on for silly relief--but by then the viewer has no idea where to stand emotionally with "Satan Never Sleeps". It's a curiosity, but not a particularly good example of one. ** from ****

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