6.6/10
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125 user 51 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...

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

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

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Billy Dannreuther
Jennifer Jones ... Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
Gina Lollobrigida ... Maria Dannreuther
Robert Morley ... Peterson
Peter Lorre ... Julius O'Hara
Edward Underdown Edward Underdown ... Harry Chelm
Ivor Barnard ... Maj. Jack Ross
Marco Tulli Marco Tulli ... Ravello
Bernard Lee ... Insp. Jack Clayton
Mario Perrone Mario Perrone ... Purser on SS Nyanga
Giulio Donnini Giulio Donnini ... Administrator
Saro Urzì ... Captain of SS Nyanga (as Saro Urzi)
Juan de Landa ... Hispano-Suiza Driver (as Juan De Landa)
Aldo Silvani Aldo Silvani ... Charles - Restaurant Manager
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Storyline

A quartet of international crooks (Peterson, O'Hara, Ross and Ravello) are stranded in Italy whilst their steamer is being repaired. With them are the an English couple, the Dannreuthers. The 6 are headed for Africa, presumably to sell vacuum cleaners but all is not as it seems. They are joined by others who apparently have similar designs. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Bold Adventure That Beats Them All! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | Italy | USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

17 December 1953 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Schach dem Teufel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David O. Selznick, who was not involved with the production but who was married to Jennifer Jones, recommended that John Huston call in Truman Capote, who had worked on the script of Selznick and Jones's Indiscretion of an American Wife (1953). 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

O'Hara: Billy, I - I think it is high time you take stock of yourself. Can you truthfully say about yourself, I - I, Billy Dannreuther, have acted fairly and squarely to my associates, huh?
Maria Dannreuther: But of course he can, Mr. O'Hara. Everybody knows Billy is the soul of honor.
Billy Dannreuther: Shut up, sugar.
O'Hara: Perhaps he is the soul of honor and perhaps appearances are deceiving.
Billy Dannreuther: Do you mind telling me what it is I'm supposed to have done?
O'Hara: Nothing. It's your conduct. Your - your - your conduct doesn't - your conduct does not ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original American release version was truncated and had scenes moved around, making a mess of the story line. The uncut version--released overseas by Romulus--was finally restored in the U.S. by Sony in 2016. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Missing Person (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bogart himself called it a "mess."
23 April 2005 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee 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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