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The Devil & Daniel Webster (All That Money Can Buy) Reviews

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Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2011
A New Hampshire sodbuster is up against the ropes and feeling it when he makes an errant oath: "I'd sell my soul for two cents if I could!" Enter His Most Despicable Oneness (charmingly sleezy as rendered by Walter Huston) and trouble comes with him. Who can save the day? Very nearly post expressionist German in style and substance this creative fantasy has stood the test of time gracefully.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

May 21, 2009
Edward Arnold comes through again, this time as the legendary Daniel Webster, a lawyer and statesman who seemed more myth than man. Unfortunately, the bulk of the movie is about Jabez Stone, a simple farmer with a deep voice who likes to say "consarnit!" alot (and I do mean alot). Early in the movie, he makes a deal with the devil to become wealthy and have good fortune, and from that point on, we're shown the evils that money brings. Anne Shirley is the really beautiful actress playing his wife Mary, and Jane Darwell (Ma Joad from "the Grapes of Wrath") plays his loudly concerned mother. There's very little in the way of character development going on, outside of the typical 1940s hayseed dialogue (at one point, one of the characters cringe-inducingly says to another "that's mighty white of you"). Perhaps the only element with any sort of shocking undertone was the character "Belle" (as played by Simone Simon). As the devil's seductress, she basically kicks the wife out of the house and steals her son away. Jabez even builds a mansion just for her. Surely risque business for the 40s. It's not until the last 20 minutes that Daniel Webster and the devil actually duke it out, and it's a little anti-climactic at that. On the plus side, there's some outstanding direction and use of lense-smudging to create an eerie effect on the "jury of the damned". In spite of some corny cheesiness, it's still a worthy classic.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2008
Well made film with powerful imagery that somehow sticks in your mind for days. Still holds up.
whitesparrow1958
January 17, 2012
well it;s good can;t help to watch a couple more times after watching can;t help think about it some more - good job
heartman71
July 4, 2007
Even though this movie was made in the 40's, it is still just as eeire over 60 years later. This thriller about a man who must go to trial after selling his soul to the Devil is a masterpiece, and one of the few classic movies that I think might make a good remake.
differenthazels
March 3, 2007
The Devil and Daniel Webster is a classic. Genius, in my opinion. The court room scene is how every movie should thrive to be.
filmlover1994
July 11, 2013
My Favorite Fantasy Film Is 1933's King Kong.
Sean Michael Smith
December 25, 2012
Simple, fantastic, and starring quite the rendition of the devil, "The Devil & Daniel Webster" is a delightfully off-putting classic.
November 3, 2012
Has what is quite possibly the best film score I've ever heard
CINEMA KING
August 2, 2011
Next time Daniel should sell his soul to make a movie that is more compelling, more chilling, and fantastical.
December 8, 2011
The classic version of selling soul to the devil with a great American oration winning it back.
FilmGrinder S.
September 28, 2011
Jabez Stone

Cross Corners
New Hampshire

Age 27

Married 2 yrs.

Children none

Credit none



Consarn it! This is a great film! There's good reason it's part of the Criterion Collection. Walter Huston was brilliant as Mr. Scratch or if you preffer, the devil. Watch it.
March 28, 2011
The typical "sign your soul to the devil contract" is the basis of this classic. A down on his luck farmer meets up with the devil (an extremely good take on Satan portrayed by Walter Huston) and trades his soul for 7 years good fortune. There are quite a few political undertones to this film, and it seems that in 1941, the American government still cared about the people. With some exceptional special effects for the day and very creative lighting, it succeeded. Not one of my favorite classics, and definately not a film noir (my personal preference...) but it held its intrigue over the years.
November 26, 2010
I first saw this movie when I was a little girl of 10 and it still moves me today!
Umelbumel
May 17, 2010
Der Film hat mir ziemlich gut gefallen, "The devil and Daniel Webster" besticht durch eine gute Atmosphäre, tolle Schauspieler und eine gute Geschichte. Ich persönlich finde zwar, dass der Film ruhig etwas düsterer hätte ausfallen können und ein anderes Ende habe ich mir auch gewünscht, doch der Film stammt aus dem Jahre 1941... Da waren die Zeiten schon Düster genug. Ansonsten kann ich den Film nur empfehlen, ein schönes Werk!
gute 3/5
Witchfinder General
February 9, 2010
This is a magnificent film from 1941. Maybe the finest year in the history of cinema. This gem is somewhat forgotten and was overshadowed by "Citizen Kane", "Sergeant York" and "The Maltese Falcon". However, I personally enjoy this film more than those others. Edward Arnold, who plays Daniel Webster is stellar. And Scratch, played by Walter Huston, is just terrific. Based on the story by Stephen Vincent Benet of the same name, this film follow Jabez Stone's story about a man who sells his soul to the devil for riches and an easy road, and Daniel Webster takes up his cause when collection time arrives. The screenplay, adapted by Stephen Vincent Benet, is sharp and witty, just as the original story. The acting is superb. The direction is right on. I think this is a near flawless film that has aged very well. And the closing shot is very apropos and somewhat frightening when given some consideration and thought.
Cory D.
December 14, 2009
Edward Arnold is fantastic, but the devil tends to steal the scene. Love the classic cinematography.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

May 21, 2009
Edward Arnold comes through again, this time as the legendary Daniel Webster, a lawyer and statesman who seemed more myth than man. Unfortunately, the bulk of the movie is about Jabez Stone, a simple farmer with a deep voice who likes to say "consarnit!" alot (and I do mean alot). Early in the movie, he makes a deal with the devil to become wealthy and have good fortune, and from that point on, we're shown the evils that money brings. Anne Shirley is the really beautiful actress playing his wife Mary, and Jane Darwell (Ma Joad from "the Grapes of Wrath") plays his loudly concerned mother. There's very little in the way of character development going on, outside of the typical 1940s hayseed dialogue (at one point, one of the characters cringe-inducingly says to another "that's mighty white of you"). Perhaps the only element with any sort of shocking undertone was the character "Belle" (as played by Simone Simon). As the devil's seductress, she basically kicks the wife out of the house and steals her son away. Jabez even builds a mansion just for her. Surely risque business for the 40s. It's not until the last 20 minutes that Daniel Webster and the devil actually duke it out, and it's a little anti-climactic at that. On the plus side, there's some outstanding direction and use of lense-smudging to create an eerie effect on the "jury of the damned". In spite of some corny cheesiness, it's still a worthy classic.
jazza923
January 26, 2009
8.5/10. A film way ahead of it's time. The score is brilliant, the cinematography is imaginative and excellent. Great acting by all, especially Walter Huston. Well edited, good art direction. Very creative. A great classic.
gillianren
May 29, 2008
Apparently, the title was changed in many places ([i]Here Is a Man[/i] vs. [i]The Devil and Daniel Webster[/i]) because there were places in the US wherein a movie with the word "devil" in the title wouldn't go over terribly well. I should think it still ends badly in some places--how well, after all, did [i]Before the Devil Knows You're Dead[/i] do? At any rate, we've gone with the better title here. It's a clearer title, and it's a more striking title. It's also easier to remember, largely because it's more descriptive of the story. "[i]Here is a Man[/i]" could describe a hundred or more of the movies we've done, the ones that aren't about women or children or animals or fairies. But we know the Devil, and we should know who Daniel Webster was.

Jabez Stone was an unlucky man. When we first meet him, he is trying to go to church, but his dog chases his pig, which falls and breaks its leg. So he must miss church to doctor the pig. He must trade a calf for farm expenses. As they load it into the cart, his wife falls and injures herself. And Jabez drops the seed into the mud, the bag splitting and spilling. So Jabez sells his soul to the Devil for seven years of good luck. Only good luck isn't all it's cracked up to be, in the long run, and Jabez grows to be an unpleasant man. His wife and mother are pushed away. His son grows to be spoiled and obnoxious. And, of course, the bill from the Devil will fall due.

Daniel Webster is one of those Americans who we remember almost as much because they hadn't become President as anything else. Oh, there's a lot about him--the movie itself mentions the Missouri Compromise. But he and Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun are the great Nineteenth Century Not-Presidents. Among them, they held off the war, though I cannot in good conscience say whether that was, in the end, a good thing. No one can; there are too many points to be made on either side. However, if you don't know who Daniel Webster was, and you're an American, you should go find your US history teacher and have harsh words. If you don't recognize Henry Clay or John C. Calhoun, either, greater shame yet. But we were speaking of Webster--Secretary of State for the short-administering William Henry Harrison and his successor, John Tyler. He argued many cases before the US Supreme Court. He worked hard to keep the peace, whatever compromise he had to suggest.

The court that tried Jabez Stone was an unfair one, of course; it's intended to be. But surely, it would have been in the Devil's better interests to have a fair one, as it would render no means for appeal. (If the Devil is standing as an American citizen--which I will quibble more anon--he must follow the Constitution, and there must therefore be a chance for appeal.) Oh, I'll not argue the jury. I don't think they're all American citizens, largely because there was no US extant when most of them lived and died. But pass that--it's nitpicky of me, and I know that. But to take away the chance for crossexamination? That's grounds for a [i]mistrial[/i], much less an appeal.

And, finally, can the Devil claim American citizenship? Flatly, no. Oh, he's been an interested party, I promise you. However, someone holding a foreign monarchy cannot be citizen of any other country. If the Devil is Prince of Hell, as he has been styled for a [i]very[/i] long time, he cannot be Nick Devil of Schenectady. Really, he gets to pick. Oh, I'll call him an ambassador, if he likes. However, a US citizen he is not. Surely, the Prince of Hell is the very definition of a foreign prince!
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