6.5/10
7,622
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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1 win. See more awards »

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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 film that was ten years ahead of its time is ten years old...(it's time!) (1962 reissue ad). 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

Either the writer or the director was playing an inside joke by naming two of the characters 'Chelm'. Chelm, in Yiddish folklore, refers to a village in eastern Europe that is ruled by the "wise fools". 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

O'Hara: I give you my word, I feel to you like an older brother. Oh, it's not so much a difference of age. It's probably, yes, the reason is, because I come from a culture which is so much older than yours. In my country, a child of 6 years old is older in his heart than you'll be at, at 60.
Billy Dannreuther: It smokes, it drinks, it philosophizes... at this rate I'll be 60 before you get to the point.
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 The Trip to Italy (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very good off beat comedy, beware of bad prints.
27 August 2004 | by alfiefamilySee all my reviews

"Beat The Devil" is one of Bogart's more unusual films. Scripted by none other than Truman Capote and John Huston, it is a very entertaining, offbeat noir satire (quite a description). Upon first viewing a lot of the humor may get lost, but view it a second time, and you can not help but laugh out loud at many of the jokes.

The cast is absolutely top notch. Bogart is perfect as Billy Dannreuther, a man who has a friend that will line him and his associates up with some land in Africa that is rich with uranium. It's always nice to see Bogie prove that he had a great sense of humor, and didn't mind poking fun at himself. Jennifer Jones, who, for some reason, always reminded me of Vivien Leigh (in "Streetcar")in this picture is terrific as Mrs. Chelm. But it is Robert Morley who steals the picture for me. Sometimes menacing, sometimes charming, he is a delight to watch.

Huston and Capote have done a great job of blending the different genres without letting them get all caught up in each other. I do wish that the final scene was written a little better, but the movie is still a lot of fun.

Caution - because the film was allowed to enter the public domain, there are a lot of really lousy prints out on the market, even on DVD. If you want this film for your own collection, do yourself a favor and spend a couple of extra dollars and buy a good print.

7 out of 10


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