The Devil at 4 O'clock (1961)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Spencer Tracy plays an American priest tending to the natives of a South Sea island. A plane carrying three convicts -- Harry (Frank Sinatra), Marcel Gregoire Aslan and Charlie Bernie Hamilton) -- lands on the island; Father Doonan (Tracy) manages to enlist their (reluctant) aid in working at a children's hospital. When the island falls victim to a series of earthquakes, Father Doonan and the convicts work together to evacuate the hospital staff and the children. Harry, the least cooperative of the prisoners, becomes a hero during a volcanic eruption by going back to rescue the priest, who with convict Charlie has been holding a bridge in order to allow the others to escape. Father Doonan and the two convicts are killed, but all the children are rescued. Blighted by bad special effects and ponderous direction, Devil at Four O'Clock is less interesting than the behind-the-scenes rumors concerning the friction between Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra.
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures Corporation


Spencer Tracy
as Father Matthew Doonan
Kerwin Mathews
as Father Joseph Perreau
Alexander Scourby
as The Governor
Barbara Luna
as Camille
Cathy Lewis
as Matron
Martin Brandt
as Dr. Wexler
Lou Merrill
as Aristide
Marcel Dalio
as Gaston
Ann Duggan
as Clarisse
Louis Mercier
as Corporal
Tony Maxwell
as Antoine
Moki Hana
as Sonia
Warren Hsieh
as Napoleon
William Keaulani
as Constable
Lucky Luck
as Capt. Olsen
Robin Shimatsu
as Marianne
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Devil at 4 O'clock

All Critics (4)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

October 16, 2012

The plot of Mervyn LeRoy's adventure is routine but the special effects are good (for its time) and it's well acted by Frank Sinatra as a convict and Spencer Tracy, again playing a priest.

Full Review… | July 10, 2007

Colorful disaster movie with good teaming of Tracy and Sinatra.

December 23, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Audience Reviews for The Devil at 4 O'clock

I'd say you got two nice halves. I like the way they're put together. Three convicts are being transferred to Tahiti to be placed in prison when they get trapped on an island when a volcano erupts. The prisoners volunteer to work with a priest to save some trapped children. The task becomes daunting and more of an effort than any of them could have imagined. "Don't lock the door tonight, Cherie. I'm coming back with a big surprise." Mervyn LeRoy, director of The Bad Seed, Mister Roberts, Gypsy, Home Coming, Little Women (1948), The Heart of New York, and Three on a Match, delivers The Devil at 4 O'clock. The storyline for this picture is very interesting and contains fascinating characters. The script is clever and I enjoyed Frank Sinatra's character. The cast delivers very good performances and includes Kerwin Mathews, BarBara Luna, and Marcel Dalio. "God be with you." "Who is he?" "Search me. Never heard of the man." Netflix recently added a bunch of Frank Sinatra pictures to the online queue so I added them all to my wish list. This was very well done and entertaining. This isn't a classic or must own DVD, per se, but this does have well written and acted characters. I strongly recommend seeing this once if you're fan of classic films. "The mountain belched and is farting again." Grade: B

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Starts off well but bogs down in the middle and never really recovers.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Well produced but overlong and a bit melodramatic. Good cast. The special effects are fine but a little obvious. Nice location filming. Worth watching.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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