The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
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as Daniel Webster
as Mr. Scratch
as Mary Stone
as Ma Stone
as Squire Slossum
as Miser Stevens
as Daniel Stone
as Cy Bibber
as Justice Hawthorne
as Tom Sharp
as Martin Van Aldrich
as Eli Higgins
as Van Brooks
as Lucy Slossum
as Another Farmer
as Old Farmhand
as Clerk of Court
as Studio Gateman
Critic Reviews for The Devil and Daniel Webster
This devil is fun, seductive, even, and he knows it-he's always immensely pleased with himself, and he doesn't need to pressure anyone to do business with him...
Juxtapose the name of a true-life nineteenth-century orator, attorney and senator with the Biblical personification of evil, and you capture something of the strange mix here of social realism and moralising mythology
It's the heavy Teutonic Faust, but made American lite in this supernatural tale.
William Dieterle's entertaining version of the noted Stephen Vincent Benet's story, about the Devil and Daniel Webster features a strong, Oscar nominated performance by Walter Huston.
Audience Reviews for The Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
Well made film with powerful imagery that somehow sticks in your mind for days. Still holds up.
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.
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