6.6/10
7,175
120 user 44 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 -- 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:

Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa ... This Was Their Road to Adventure and a Fabulous Fortune ... A Dangerous Band of Desperate Men Goaded on By Two Beautiful Women ... All of Them Out to Beat the Devil at His Own Game! 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

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the 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

O'Hara: Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say time is a crook.
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

 
Brilliant Dry Humor
12 July 2005 | by jim_altmanSee all my reviews

Most of the reviews of 1953's "Beat the Devil" regard it as a Humphrey Bogart picture. Certainly his company produced it, but it is truly a John Huston film. Huston's legendary dry wit suffuses the whole enterprise from start to finish. Essentially, a comedy of errors, Huston's script, co-authored by Truman Capote, also serves up wry social commentary on a range of subjects from social position to the industrial world's exploitation of Africa, a place near and dear to Huston's heart. Jennifer Jones' prophecy that Africa will become an ugly place with "all those holes," has long since become a reality. A brilliant cast, with Bogie playing his typical world-weary existentialist, spiral avarice and misconception into hilarity; a comic exposition of the proverb, "What a tangled web we weave . . ." Often criticized for being unrealistic, Huston's and Capote's comic script has none-to-funny real parallels in the present day debacles of Enron and WorldCom. In "Beat the Devil," greed and deceit are brilliantly juxtaposed to reveal the ultimate folly of even the most devious criminal enterprise. This is a superior black comedy that plays even better today than it did 52 years ago.


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