6.4/10
1,751
35 user 13 critic

The Devil at 4 O'Clock (1960)

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:

Mervyn LeRoy (as Mervyn Le Roy)

Writers:

Liam O'Brien (screenplay), Max Catto (novel)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Tracy ... Father Matthew Doonan
Frank Sinatra ... Harry
Kerwin Mathews ... Father Joseph Perreau
Jean-Pierre Aumont ... 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 Louis Merrill ... Aristide Giraud
Marcel Dalio ... Gaston
Thomas H. Middleton Thomas H. Middleton ... Paul, Co-pilot
Ann Duggan Ann Duggan ... Clarisse
Louis Mercier Louis Mercier ... Corporal
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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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

18 October 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Teufel kommt um vier See more »

Filming Locations:

Fallbrook, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,721,786 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second natural diaster movie for Spencer's Tracy, the first being San Francisco (1936). See more »

Goofs

After the island explodes, the sea is perfectly calm. A huge eruption like that would have produced a huge tsunami. 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 Sinatra: All or Nothing at All: Part 2 (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Affirmation of religion with a great script and photography
20 March 2003 | by JuguAbrahamSee 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.


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