Beat the Devil (1953)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
An exquisitely dry comedy with a witty script by Truman Capote, this film finds subtle, absurdist laughs in the misadventures of Humphrey Bogart's tough customer, who becomes involved in a complex scheme to gain control of a patch of uranium-rich land in Africa.
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as Billy Dannreuther
as Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
as Maria Dannreuther
as Harry Chelm
as Major Ross
as Insp. Clayton
as Hotel Manager
as Captain of SS Nyanga
as Hispano-Suiza Driver
as Ahmed - Arab Inquisi...
as Barman (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Beat the Devil
If Beat the Devil puzzled audiences on its first release, it has charmed them since.
he film ranges from the diffident to the grotesque, with Huston selecting his lenses to make the performers look as freakish as possible.
Audience Reviews for Beat the Devil
Beat the Devil is too comedy to be an adventure movie and too much of an adventure movie to be a comedy. You'd think getting John Huston & Humphrey Bogart (and Peter Lorre, too!) together again would be a great thing but the more I see of Bogart's filmography from the 50s, the more I realize that it just wasn't his decade. Beat the Devil is just a collection of unrealized possibilities. A great con picture that never happened, a great heist picture that could've been and what in the hell could possibly possess a man to choose Jennifer Jones over Gina Lollobrigida? Beyond that you're just in for some nice scenery (Lollobrigida included) and a mess hiding behind the guise of amusement at the end.
An oddball collection of individuals from varying backgrounds and parts of the globe board a ship bound for Africa to seek their fortunes. Obviously an homage to Huston's classic debut The Maltese Falcon, Beat The Devil is a curious mix of comedy and intrigue that doesn't really work as either. The collection of racial stereotypes on display farcically bumping into each other, engaging in affairs and hushed conversations made it feel like an Agatha Christie murder mystery; but with out the murder. Or the mystery. Bogie coasts through the film with a look of mild amusement exercising his usual dry wit and Robert Morley seems to be doing a kind of stuffy Sidney Greenstreet impersonation, but all the characters are really rather annoying and it's kind of difficult to care what happens to any of them. The ladies were easy on the eye and Bogart is always worth watching but during the whole thing I just wished I was watching Across the Pacific instead.
A great cast in a great movie about a bunch of thieves. I highly recommend this movie.
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