The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Noted for its devilish wit and wicked satire, The Devil and Daniel Webster is a faithful adaptation of Stephen Benet's distinguished short story of a struggling New England farmer who naively sells his soul for money and lives to regret it when he loses everything that ever really mattered to him. When he finally figures out that his greed has guaranteed him a truly horrible fate, he goes to the great lawyer Daniel Webster for assistance. Together they attend a trial held in the farmer's barn where Webster does his best to save his repentant client's soul. The film is also known as All That Money Can Buy and Daniel and the Devil.

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Cast

Edward Arnold
as Daniel Webster
Walter Huston
as Mr. Scratch
Anne Shirley
as Mary Stone
Jane Darwell
as Ma Stone
Gene Lockhart
as Squire Slossum
John Qualen
as Miser Stevens
Frank Conlan
as Sheriff
Lindy Wade
as Daniel Stone
H.B. Warner
as Justice Hawthorne
Jeff Corey
as Tom Sharp
Sonny Bupp
as Martin Van Aldrich
Eddie Dew
as Farmer
Alec Craig
as Eli Higgins
Carl Stockdale
as Van Brooks
Sarah Edwards
as Lucy Slossum
Patsy Doyle
as Servant
Anita Lee
as Infant
Harry Hood
as Tailor
Ferris Taylor
as President
Frank Austin
as Spectator
Jim Toney
as Another Farmer
Charles Herzinger
as Old Farmhand
Robert Strange
as Clerk of Court
Jim Farley
as Studio Gateman
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Critic Reviews for The Devil and Daniel Webster

All Critics (17)

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...

June 23, 2012 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
PopMatters

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

February 27, 2009
Little White Lies

It's the heavy Teutonic Faust, but made American lite in this supernatural tale.

July 10, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Excellent, high-class genre film.

June 30, 2007 | Full Review…
Combustible Celluloid

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.

July 6, 2005 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
EmanuelLevy.Com

A wonderful masterpiece. Walter Huston has a devilishly good time!

November 16, 2004 | Rating: 5/5
Reeling Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Devil and Daniel Webster

½

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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Well made film with powerful imagery that somehow sticks in your mind for days. Still holds up.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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