Beat the Devil (1953)
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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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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.
It looks like it's going to be a riot, but turns out almost laugh free.
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.More
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.More
with more fast shuffling than any fred and ginger effort, and much like "the usual suspects" wherein all are guilty until...well, forget about 'em not being guilty is all, and with a wink and a smile tossed in for spice, this is a bankers holiday for all involved and it shows. jennifer jones nearly steals the show and would if there wasn't such stiff competition. not an honest scene in this stew of lovable rogues out for a con.More
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