It's the early days of the F.B.I. - federal agents working for the Department of Justice. Though they've got limited powers - they don't carry weapons and have to get local police approval ... See full summary »
A down-on-his-luck farmer makes a deal with the devil for seven years of prosperity. When Mr. Scratch comes to collect, orator and hero of the common man Daniel Webster comes to the rescue.Written by
Little Pine Weasel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For some prints released under the title "The Devil and Daniel Webster", the opening credits start with the phrase "in front of the camera..." followed by a list of names only of the primary cast (no character names) and then the phrase "in back of the camera..." followed by a list of names only of the primary production crew, without their job roles, ending with the phase "all collaborated on the picture...." Then the title card is shown, with a story credit to Stephen Vincent Benet, and the note "this picture was originally shown with the title 'all that money can buy'." The title card is all in lower case. Finally, the opening prologue is shown as noted in another crazy credit item. See more »
Over the years, this film was re-released more than once, partly because of its poor box office, and gradually cut down to 85 minutes. It remained in this form for many years, until it was recently restored to its full length. When this was done in the 1990s, it was unfortunately all too easy to tell which sections are restored... all the footage from the 85 minute version was in absolutely pristine, mint condition, while the long-lost, formerly missing footage has less than perfect sound and picture quality. However, the quality has been considerably improved on the DVD and on recent TV showings. See more »
Why would someone who has thoroughly enjoyed movies such as "Judge Dredd" and "Wild at Heart" consider this to be "my favorite movie"?
One word - "fantasy". It's my favorite movie category, and this is the best one that I've ever seen. The 1940s was the decade in which horror melodramas and fantasies really began to ramp up, and this movie helped to set the standard. Stephen Vincent Benet's story is a bit changed, but not enough to diminish this American Gothic tale.
Aside from being superior entertainment, the movie simply has no weaknesses. Where to start? The casting and acting are extraordinary. Though both are most often remembered for other movies, Edward Arnold and Walter Huston turn in their best performances here. Simone Simon (known today for the "Cat People" movies) is exceptional as Belle. Anne Shirley, James Craig, and the stellar supporting cast are also great.
This is Bernard Herrmann's best film score. William Dieterle's direction is quirky and involving, propelling the film along at a fast clip. Admittably, the characters are caricatures, but Dieterle helps us to feel their trials and tribulations. The movie also features brilliant cinematography, exceptional production values, and truly superior editing (this was an early job for director Robert Wise). The scenes are quite stagey, but never disjointed - the logic of the story is unmistakable and riveting.
Huston is the ultimate "Mr. Scratch". I've seen this show many times, and it's a 10/10.
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