6.6/10
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119 user 45 critic

Beat the Devil (1953)

On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen...

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(based on the novel "Beat the Devil" by) (as James Helvick), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Billy Dannreuther
... Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
... Maria Dannreuther
... Peterson
... Julius O'Hara
Edward Underdown ... Harry Chelm
... Maj. Jack Ross
Marco Tulli ... Ravello
... Insp. Jack Clayton
Mario Perrone ... Purser on SS Nyanga
Giulio Donnini ... Administrator
... Captain of SS Nyanga (as Saro Urzi)
... Hispano-Suiza Driver (as Juan De Landa)
Aldo Silvani ... Charles - Restaurant Manager
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Storyline

A quartet of international crooks -- Peterson, O'Hara, Ross and Ravello -- is stranded in Italy while their steamer is being repaired. With them are the Dannreuthers. The six are headed for Africa, presumably to sell vacuum cleaners but actually to buy land supposedly loaded with uranium. They are joined by others who apparently have similar designs. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adventure at its boldest! Bogart at his best! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

17 December 1953 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Schach dem Teufel  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen Sondheim got his start in films working as a clapper boy on this film. See more »

Goofs

In Harry and Gwendolyn's first dialog scene on the street, the shadow of a boom microphone can be seen on the wall behind them. See more »

Quotes

Billy Dannreuther: I've got to have money. Doctor's orders are that I must have a lot of money, otherwise I become dull, listless and have trouble with my complexion.
Gwendolyn Chelm: But you're not like that now, and you haven't any money.
Billy Dannreuther: It's my expectations that hold me together.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in O Cinema Falado (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bogart himself called it a "mess."
23 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

The plot, if you can call it that, concerned a group of six stranded adventurers in an Italian port whose plan is to buy up some East African land that supposed1y contains uranium… Double-crossing quickly becomes the name of the game as Bogart and his fellow conspirators (including Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Gina Lollobrigida, and a seemingly endless parade of bizarre characters) outdo each other in inspired crazy way…

Bogart, trying desperately to maintain his composure, delivered such priceless lines as: 'I'm only in on this because the doctor told me I needed plenty of money. Without money I become dull, listless, and have trouble with my complexion." But his lines weren't the only offbeat ones… In a room where he's being questioned after being captured, while a firing squad goes about its routine work outside, he is asked straight-faced, "Now tell me, do you really know Rita Hayworth?"

The film is one of those rare items that viewers either seem to love or hate, no middle ground accepted… and declared that only the "phonies" thought it was really funny… Many reviewers thought the whole thing was a tasteless joke and decried the waste of time, talent, and money…

In any case, Bogart gave an immensely satisfying performance in his tongue-in-cheek role and the film itself has now become a regular attraction in Bogart film retrospectives… It is also an excellent example of how much Bogart had matured as an actor, since it is not easy to overcome apparently inept material and still give a performance with some meaning and substance…


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