6.5/10
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126 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:

Bogart meets his match in 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

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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

This was the last film Humphrey Bogart made with John Huston. See more »

Goofs

Inside the car, Billy has a long lit cigarette in his right hand, but soon after, when he steps down, the cigarette has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Ahmed: [to Dannreuther] I believe you must have Arab blood. Westerners are not usually so subtle.
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

Referenced in Infamous (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Outlandish satire/comedy filmed on location in Italy and Africa with all star cast
4 August 2010 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Low-key and droll comedy by Truman Capote and John Huston dealing with a quartet of international swindlers named Peterson (Robert Morley), O'Hara (Peter Lorre), Ross and Ravello is stranded in Italy while their ship is being repaired. With them are the marriages Billy (Humphrey Bogart) and Maria (Gina Lollobrigida) Dannreuthers, further Gwendolen (Jennifer Jones ) and Harry Chelm (Edward Underdown). Meanwhile, Gwendolen is keen on Billy and the newspapers have just published this piece of news : 'Colonial officer murdered in Soho' . The eight are headed for Africa, presumably to sell sew-machines but actually to buy land apparently full of uranium . As the plot's McGuffin concerns uranium deposits in a far country from central Africa .They are joined by others who supposedly have identical motives . But their steamer is sinked and they are shipwrecked and imprisoned by Arabs who put them on a firing squad .

Delightful though irregular parody in which Humphrey Bogart steals the show using his wits , breaking all the rules and kicking virtually every cliché in the pants , as he relentlessly deceives , cheats ,laughs and lies . Amiable but sometimes lumbering satire goes on and on about the same premise . Seemingly endless list of character players includes a good support cast as Robert Morley as unlikely crook , Underwood as inept husband and of course the great Peter Lorre who adds surprising sparkles. John Huston's direction keeps things moving with laughs, he directed this sometimes hilarious, but mostly silly and baffling spoof of intrigue movies with ridiculous situations in the wake of ¨The Maltese Falcon¨and ¨Key Largo¨. The jokes come with machine-gun rapidly , though don't always work, there are so many of them that this comedy ends up with enoughs laughs for quite entertaining. It's a stupid movie but also funny and remains like a laugh-filled amusement. Filmed on location in Salerno , Campany ,Italy , Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK (studio); and in Amalfi Coast, Amalfi . The movie hasn't the thematic unity of 'African's Queen', ' Asphalt jungle' , or ' The treasure of Sierra Madre' the John Huston's best . The picture has become public domain in which circulate several lousy copies . Many people , audiences and critics , in its 1953 exhibition eluded this offbeat film but subsequently became a cult favorite that it remains nowadays.


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