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Beat the Devil (1953)

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, more...
Director: John Huston, John Huston
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Studio: Alpha Video
Genre: Comedies, Foreign, British Comedy, Parodies, UK
Running Time: 88 min.
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Humphrey Bogart stars as one of five disreputable adventurers who are trying to get uranium out of East Africa. Bogart's associates include pompous fraud Robert Morley, and Peter Lorre as the German-accented "O'Hara", whose wartime record is forever a source of speculation and suspicion. Becoming involved in Bogart's machinations are a prim British married couple (Edward Underdown and blonde-wigged Jennifer Jones). As a climax to their many misadventures and double-crosses, the uranium seekers end up facing extermination by an Arab firing squad. The satirical nature of Beat the Devil eluded many moviegoers in 1953, and the film was a failure. The fact that the picture attained cult status in lesser years failed to impress its star Humphrey Bogart, who could only remember that he lost a considerable chunk of his own money when he became involved in the project. Peter Viernick worked on the script on an uncredited basis. Beat the Devil eventually fell into public domain, leading to numerous inferior editions by second and third-tiered labels. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Can't Be Beat by talltale April 23, 2005 - 8:49 AM PDT
It was interesting to watch the fifty-year-old BEAT THE DEVIL so soon after viewing "Ocean's 12." Both are supposed "larks": a group of well-known actors (the first from the 1950s, the latter circa 2004) who appear to be making a movie while on vacation. Both films attempt the tone of light and frothy, with a little sarcasm and satire tossed in for good measure. Why then does "Beat the Devil" hold up so much better than the Soderbergh fiasco? Perhaps direction by John Huston (who co-scripted with Truman Capote) and a cast that includes Humphrey Bogart, Gina Lollobrigida, Jennifer Jones (who knew she could be so much fun?), Peter Lorre and Robert Morley may give you a hint.

I won't be around for the answer, but here's the question: Fifty years hence, will "Ocean's 12" hold up anywhere near this well? (Note: I wish I had researched a bit better before renting this version of BTD because the transfer is pretty bad (it may even be a pan-and-scan). But the movie itself is so good that, being ignorant of a second version, we thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. Next time, however, we'll watch via "Humphrey Bogart on Film".

what a crazy story by capote. by psychodrama311 June 2, 2003 - 3:04 PM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
with all the intrigue of casablanca but without any of the serious nature. a great film to watch and must of been a great film to have been on. bogey of course plays bogey..but more to the edge then ever before.. you never know quite what he is planning here. in past films there were always tell points of where you knew bogey would give up the girl for the good of humanity..or that he would come through and avenge his partner.. but you never know in this film. huston of course directed him to this place in tyme. and i tell ya.. it's not a bad place to have been.. although the transfer to digital is not without it's fault.. i'm sure in the following years.. they'll find way's to fix that.. still looks great..

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.59)
56 Votes
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