Samstag, 7. Januar 2012

Let's watch.. ..BEAT THE DEVIL

When it comes to writers Truman Capote for sure is a well-known name – though his writing in my humble opinion sometimes lacks a bit of charm.. – and combined with John Huston’s skills as a director and writer one ought to expect a great piece of film when Humphrey Bogart also takes part and appears as producer and in the leading role.. So how about


In Italy a group of people on their way to Africa are stranded -  the apparently proper English couple Mr. and Mrs. Chelm (Edward Underdown and Jennifer Jones) and an international group of crooks up to smuggle some uranium from Africa. The group lead by Peterson (Robert Morley): Ravello (Marco Tulli), Major Ross (Ivor Banard) and O’Hara (Peter Lorre) - also members: Mr. and Mrs Dannheuser (Humphrey Bogart and Gina Lollobrigida). Bad luck for the group that Mr. Dannheuser starts an affair with very, very imaginative (and also talkative) Mrs. Chelm – while his wife is exploring her love for anything  (or any male one..) English..

O'Hara: "Time. Time. What is time? Swiss manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say: Time is a crook.

~ here they are.. all lined up for you..~

The story is actually quite unimportant – it’s just fun to watch – with some really hilarious scenes – especially Robert Morley and Humphrey Bogart driving down a bumpy road in an old-fashioned automobile – and the running gag: Mr. Chelm frequently asking for his hot-water bottle.. Actually I found myself at some points laughing out loud – after I was a bit perplex at first and not sure what to think to be honest.. It’s none of my favourite Humphrey Bogart films – though it seem to have kind of a cult status.

This film was meant by writer and director John Huston as a parody for his gangster- and film noir flicks especially THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) – it failed completely at box office – maybe that’s why Bogart later said of the film which caused him to lose some of his money: “Only phonies like it.”

~ Lollo and Lorre ~

It was the last of five films Peter Lorre and Humphrey Bogart did together – one of those was said MALTESE FALCON. Meant for Robert Morley’s part was Sidney Greenstreet (also a member of the MALTESE FALCON cast..)  – but he had already retired from acting at that point. Frankly: I for one like Mr. Morley far better than Mr. Greenstreet – and I won’t say much about Peter Lorre besides: He is one of my number one actors (yes, I have two of those.. Sue me..) - in my opinion he could act a cookery book. He is just wonderful. End of praise.

The Inspector is called Jack Clayton – remember that name from somewhere? Yes, of course: Jack Clayton (the “real one”) became later a famous director – here for this film he was working as a cameraman..  The actor who personated the Inspector was Bernard Lee – a well-known name for JAMES BOND-buffs: He would later play “M”..

Gina Lollobrigida – of whom I am very fond – looks gorgeous with her short hair cut – and she quite funny here, too. Jennifer Jones does a good job as Mrs. Chelm – I sometimes have problems with her way of acting (which does not mean at all that I loathe her): To me she so often appears to overact – but that’s what Mrs. Chelm’s part is asking for apparently.. Anyway: to see her doing exercises and chatting with “Lollo” – both in bathing suits – is for sure worth one look..

~ Jennifer Jones is excersising - Gina Lollobrigida is not. ~

Humphrey Bogart had a quite serious car accident during filming this movie – leaving him unable to speak because he lost some of his teeth. They had to hire a young actor who was able to do a that good impersonation of Bogie’s voice that no one would notice the difference – they picked an aspiring young British actor to do that for some of the scenes after the actual filming..  Anyone ever heard of Peter Sellers??? ...

So – if you’re looking for an unusual and almost strange Bogart movie to watch: BEAT THE DEVIL should make it to your list.. 

You can watch the whole movie here:

Hope you're enjoying the show!




  1. Yep, another one I havent seen. Excellent post Irene. I will add that to my must see list.

  2. And Peter Sellers...cool. I did not know that!

  3. Monty, glad that you enjoyed the post. I hope you also enjoy the movie - actually I still do not know whether I think it's great - or just strange..

    Yep, Peter Sellers.. Love him.. ;")