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Beat the Devil [1953]
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Director:John Huston
Writer:John Huston
Truman Capote
Composer:Franco Mannino
Length:100 minutes
(1 hour 40 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Crime
IMDB Rating:6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:64%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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are subject to change
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Classifications:
  • Action
  • Comedy
  • Family
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Synopsis: On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen.


Reaction: Kinda odd. Not quite what I expected.


Personal Rating: 7/10

Select Cast and Crew
John Huston => Director / Writer
Truman Capote => Writer
Franco Mannino => Composer
Claud Cockburn => Novel (as James Helvick)
Aldo Silvani => Charles - Restaurant Manager
Alex Pochet => Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Bernard Lee => Insp. Jack Clayton
Edward Underdown => Harry Chelm
Gina Lollobrigida => Maria Dannreuther
Giulio Donnini => Administrator
Humphrey Bogart => Billy Dannreuther
Ivor Barnard => Maj. Jack Ross
Jennifer Jones => Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
Juan de Landa => Hispano-Suiza Driver
Manuel Serano => Ahmed - Arab Inquisitor (uncredited)
Marco Tulli => Ravello
Mario Perrone => Purser on SS Nyanga
Mimmo Poli => Barman (uncredited)
Peter Lorre => Julius O'Hara
Robert Morley => Peterson
Saro Urz => Captain of SS Nyanga (as Saro Urzi)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Either the writer or the director was playing an inside joke by naming two of the characters 'Chelm'. Chelm, in Yiddish folklore, refers to a village in eastern Europe that is ruled by the insane.
  • Stephen Sondheim got his start in films working as a clapper boy on this film.
  • This was the fifth and last movie that Humphrey Bogart would make with Peter Lorre. The other four were, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, All Through the Night, and Passage to Marseille.
  • At one point in the film, Ivor Barnard's character is referred as the "galloping major". This is the title of a film from 1951, also made by Romulus Productions, and starring Basil Radford. The Galloping Major in this other film is a racehorse.
  • [?] William Styron's second novel, Set This House on Fire, describes a film crew on location - obviously based on director John Huston and gang during the shooting of this film. The town in the novel is Ravello on Italy's Amalfi Drive, where most of the film was shot.
  • John Huston was star/producer Humphrey Bogart's first choice to direct. However, Huston had some scheduling conflicts - he was due to make a movie with [?] Katharine Hepburn (which was never made, as Hepburn graciously stepped aside to help out Huston), not to mention that he had to finish his then-current project Moulin Rouge. [?] Nicholas Ray, who Bogart had worked with twice before, was considered to direct in case Huston could not finish in time.
  • Claud Cockburn (aka [?] James Helvick) wrote the screenplay based on his novel. Truman Capote was purportedly brought to complete the script late in the piece when Cockburn left or was fired.
  • Humphrey Bogart was involved in a serious automobile accident during production of this film, which knocked out several of his teeth and hindered his ability to speak. John Huston hired a young British actor noted for his mimicry skills to rerecord some of Bogart's spoken lines during post-production looping. Although it is undetectable when viewing the film today, it is Peter Sellers who provides Bogart's voice during some of the scenes in this movie.
  • Jack Clayton, the Scotland Yard inspector played by Bernard Lee, is named after the film's cameraman, [?] Jack Clayton, who later became a well-known director.