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Beat the Devil Reviews

Page 1 of 7
Michael G

Super Reviewer

April 10, 2007
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.

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2008
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.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
A great cast in a great movie about a bunch of thieves. I highly recommend this movie.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

June 17, 2009
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.

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2007
How Could a Bogart Film Get any less then 4 stars, So many good actors in this one, 2 of the 50'ies most beautful women, film in Italy (Where I hope to rest my bones one day.) A Must see and buy.

Super Reviewer

July 25, 2009
One of those on-the-fence movies that doesn't make any egregious mistakes, yet doesn't offer enough for a recommendation either. Bogart is only OK in this mild Maltese Falconesque spoof, added inside jokery comes with the inclusion of Peter Lorre but he sadly has little to do. Robert Morley comes off best in the Sydney Greenstreet role as the shady financier. I didn't care at all for Jennifer Jones who runs about her emotions like a headless chicken, but one word will suffice for Gina Lollobrigida - wow. A promising idea, made moreso with a script by director John Huston and Truman Capote(!), failing to deliver satisfactorily.
November 22, 2013
Time is a crook.

A group of refugees on their way to Africa run into a strange couple traveling in the same direction. The couple plan to invest in minerals and get rich. That doesn't sound bad to the refugees. Maybe they will tag along with ambitions to initially help, but what true intentions do they have for the couple's fortunes?

"I have a feeling about you and your friends."
"Correction. Associates."

John Huston, director of The African Queen, The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Would be King, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Captain Blood, Prizzi's Honor, Key Largo, and The Asphalt Jungle, delivers Beat the Devil. The storyline for this picture is just okay and a bit disappointing (and stale). I was hoping for more from this Bogart/Huston picture. The acting is fairly good and the cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lorre, Bernard Lee, Robert Morley, and Gina Lollobrigida.

"You are the hired hand."

Beat the Devil was playing on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this Halloween season and I was excited to see this Bogart/Huston collaboration. Unfortunately, this may be one of the worst movies I have seen from either of these gentlemen. I never felt connected with the storyline or particularly connected to the plot. Overall, I'd say this is average and I would skip it.

"I think I hate you."

Grade: C+
September 7, 2013
It appears audiences are still misunderstanding the film. That's a bit ironic since it's a comedy of errors where all the characters are either misunderstood or lying about who they are. The insane plot twists are based as much on the insanity of the characters and dialogue. There is lot of dialogue and not one misplaced word. The fact that film sails by even with all the verbiage is tribute first to Capote and Huston, but the actors, especially Bogart and Jones are dazzling. There may have been too many layers of irony and sarcasm coming to thick for most of the early audiences. But this is a masterful work.
April 28, 2013
A stellar cast and crew gather to make a great independent Hollywood movie.

A non-consequential story involving uranium and land rights in central Africa is quickly forgotten and the plot itself ends up being a plot device.

What is great about this film is the cutting, witty script penned by Truman Capote and John Huston (who also directed.) Often tongue in cheek, you can see the cast are having a blast with it. This is a fun frolic and never takes itself too seriously.
Robyn M.
April 19, 2013
Humphrey Bogart heads a superior cast in this tale of a gang of swindlers who seek to covertly purchase African lands rich in uranium--but not without a few Hiccups. The rustic Italy background played into the out of comfort touch from what were are accustomed to by Bogart.

If you're a classic film fan, you're going to come across this film sooner or later. And chances are, being a fan of how movies were made back in the day, you'll understand what these creative folks were going for. And appreciate its subtle slapstick humor.
January 11, 2013
The choice of Huston and Bogart to practically make fun of their past collaborations may see a little self-deprecating and hazardous, but this may be one of the first spoof films to date.
July 27, 2012
Beat the Devil is like a noir spoof that didn't work out very well. It mixes genres with no particular sense. Although filled with great actors and their remarkably humorous and performances as various oddballs, it disappoints with its bleak, and simple adventure story. As harsh as it may seem at first, it's one of those Humphrey Bogart movies that aren't necessarily meant to be remembered.
Luc L.
July 7, 2012
Uninteresting film from a weak storyline.
May 4, 2012
John Huston having a lark at Bogie's expense (since he funded this flop) with Truman Capote writing the script each day before it was shot. So, it's half-assed but has a loose shot-on-location feel that is enjoyable once you get into its rhythm. I'm not sure why all the reviews suggest it is a spoof on spy adventures -- more like a bunch of incompetent plotters trying to make it to Africa to steal her uranium resources. Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida (and other unusual types) round out the cast of oddballs.
April 22, 2012
"only phonies like it.", bogart said about this movie. i'm one of them.
July 22, 2011
Dark humor at its best with stellar performances by Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre. Script by Truman Capote is at times too serious for this farce but, for the most part, keeps things lively.
Moore on Movies
February 26, 2011
Under Huston's direction and Capote's weak script, Bogart succeeds in delivering a charming little parody of '40s spy pictures. The witty dialogue and lightheartedness of the movie as a whole established Beat the Devil as one of the first cult classics of cinema. While not an extraordinary film, its casual approach and light mix of humor make it an enjoyable venture. It is definitely not Huston and Bogart's finest collaboration, but it nonetheless entertains.
October 24, 2010
This looks like a movie made purely to provide a vacation in Italy. Technically, there are so many out-of-focus shots and so many looped lines of dialogue, it appears that nobody let making a movie get in the way of drinking. Not even interesting as the train wreck it is. Smug, coy, and relentlessly unfunny. Not fit to line the cage of the Maltese Falcon.
September 2, 2010
An amusing effort that perhaps doesn't hit all the marks that it wants to. Ahead of its time in terms of spoofing a popular genre (except this is actually funny - something we're robbed of with modern parodies). The cast is great, with Robert Morley and Jennifer Jones being the standouts. I also thought it looked quite nice. Typically eclectic work from Huston, but certainly worthwhile.
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