Beat the Devil (1953)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Humphrey Bogart
as Billy Dannreuther
Bernard Lee
as Insp. Clayton
Gina Lollobrigida
as Maria Dannreuther
Robert Morley
as Peterson
Jennifer Jones
as Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
Peter Lorre
as O'Hara
Aldo Silvani
as Charles
Saro Urzì
as Captain of SS Nyanga
Edward Underdown
as Harry Chelm
Marco Tulli
as Ravello
Juan de Landa
as Hispano-Suiza Driver
Ivor Barnard
as Major Ross
Mimmo Poli
as Barman
Al Silvani
as Charles
Giulio Donnini
as Administrator
Alex Pochet
as Hotel Manager
Manuel Serano
as Ahmed - Arab Inquisitor (uncredited)
Mimo Peli
as Barman (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Beat the Devil

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (2)

If Beat the Devil puzzled audiences on its first release, it has charmed them since.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

he film ranges from the diffident to the grotesque, with Huston selecting his lenses to make the performers look as freakish as possible.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It looks like it's going to be a riot, but turns out almost laugh free.

Full Review… | August 23, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

An all-star home movie.

January 10, 2008
Film Threat

Perhaps the oddest film Humphrey Bogart ever made.

Full Review… | October 14, 2005
Combustible Celluloid

You have to wonder what Capote and John Huston were thinking in trying to make a satire that didn't have any actual jokes.

September 27, 2002
Filmcritic.com

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.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A great cast in a great movie about a bunch of thieves. I highly recommend this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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