Sign in to follow this  
RMeingast

"Beat the Devil" on TCM??

30 posts in this topic

Anybody ever see "Beat the Devil" on TCM??

 

Watched it Sunday on a local TV station that runs old films that are in the public domain (they don't have to pay rights to anybody)...

 

Spoof of film noirs starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lorre, Robert Morley, among others.

Directed by John Huston with script by Huston and Truman Capote...

 

Quality wasn't good on TV but film certainly was interesting, lots of humorous scenes...

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68277/Beat-the-Devil/

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_the_Devil_%281953_movie%29

 

TCM article here:

 

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68277/Beat-the-Devil/articles.html

 

Just wondering if it's ever been aired on TCM??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}Yes, it's been shown before..........

 

 

Thanks, Hibi... I see it was aired on Jennifer Jones Day back in January 2010 and then in August 2011 on Bogie Day...

 

Thanks...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

repetitively.

 

but i just gotta say: gina lolloBRICKHOUSE.

 

Yes, it's been shown before..........

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

repetitively.

 

but i just gotta say: gina lolloBRICKHOUSE.

 

Yes,  Gina looked great in this movie and she was funny in a very understated way (well mostly).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes,  Gina looked great in this movie and she was funny in a very understated way (well mostly).

 

I hate to admit this..... but..........

 

I don't understand any of this movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to admit this..... but..........

 

I don't understand any of this movie.

 

Well one needs to view the plot device of getting land in east Africa as a 'macguffin'.   As you know one doesn't really have to understand the details and associated 'whys' with a macguffin  (and one can't since the film makes no attempt to provide background or details).    Just accept it,  and focus on how each of the characters trip over each other as it relates to the macguffin.     OR,  just focus on the gals in the film! 

 

I hope that helps!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to admit this..... but..........

 

I don't understand any of this movie.

I'm with you, Fred.  Somehow I always seem to miss the beginning, though maybe that wouldn't have helped.  But it is fun to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with you, Fred.  Somehow I always seem to miss the beginning, though maybe that wouldn't have helped.  But it is fun to watch.

 

Spoiler Alert for Beat the Devil

 

Watching the beginning might not have helped you understand what is going on (depending how how much you missed).    The plot is fairly simple;  The 4 crooks hire Bogie as their middleman because he has contacts in east Africa that will allow them to purchase land cheaply that contains uranium.   The crooks murder a man in the British service that they had contacted (now WHY they murder him isn't explained but I assume it is because he is on to their plans).

 

They all set out to Africa.   While in port in Italy they meet a couple.  NOW,  this couple has NOTHING to do with anything.  NOTHING.  But the women (Jones),  makes up stories (she is a space cadet) and this leads the crooks to think her husband or her could be working for the government OR are crooks themselves.       

 

The crooks believe one of their own, as well as Bogie, has died so one of the crooks tells this NO NOTHING husband about their plans.   He plans on telling the police when he lands in Africa so the crooks have to try to kill him.  

 

But again,  the key to the story is the the couple know NOTHING,  until they are told something.   If the crooks had ignored them they might have gotten away with their plans. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beat the Devil's a bit of a mess as far as a coherent plot line is concerned. Perhaps that's why some claim that John Huston and Truman Capote were really pulling the audience's collective leg.

 

But the performances are fun to watch, and the film has, at times, some delightfully droll throwaway humour. A blonde Jennifer Jones is an unexpectedly engaging air head.

 

I just look at the film for its little oddball moments of humour and charm primarily, content to settle for the occasional small pleasure that the film provides. I know I'm not looking at any kind of masterpiece.

 

dee9430a-5542-4d67-8da2-09ebef450017_zps

 

Bogart and Lorre on the Italian location set, April, 1953.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's been shown before..........

It's in the Public Domain, so it's free for them to air it (also helps explain why the sound/prints are bad sometimes.)

 

It's a kooky movie. I don't get it either.

 

But I do think Jennifer Jones is fantastic in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It's a kooky movie. I don't get it either.

 

 

Yeah, I see your point here, Lorna. But HEY, isn't that Lou Costello cameo playin' Peter Lorre's psychiatrist in it pretty cool???

 

LOL

 

(...sorry, I JUST couldn't resist...please forgive me) ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's been shown before..........

 

CHCH 11 in Hamilton airs many old flicks, mostly stuff now in the public domain.

 

This week they're airing, for example, "Outpost in Morocco," "The Fabulous Dorseys," "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing," "Charade," and "Life With Father." And it's probably the 1963 version of "Charade" that's in the public domain (on Saturday afternoon on CHCH). Think all the other flicks airing this week (above) are in the public domain.

 

Since I wrote the original post a few years ago, I've seen "Beat the Devil" on CHCH a few times...

 

Just another source of old movies in this part of the Great White North, I guess...

 

And public domain status probably means it doesn't matter if TCM is airing the films too, as far as film rights goes...

 

Just FYI for fellow Canuckleheads...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in the Public Domain, so it's free for them to air it (also helps explain why the sound/prints are bad sometimes.)

 

It's a kooky movie. I don't get it either.

 

But I do think Jennifer Jones is fantastic in it.

 

The Internet Archive has it to view in full online (and about as in good shape as I've seen it on CHCH):

https://archive.org/details/BeatTheDevil1953

 

The TCM article by Bret Wood is a good summary of the flick:

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/68277/Beat-the-Devil/articles.html

 

Some of Wood's review is below:

 

"At times the film seems more like a literary parlor game than an espionage thriller, with dialogue scripted so intricately that one dare not laugh for fear of missing the next turn of phrase to tumble from the actors' lips.

 

The effectiveness of the film lies in the actors' deadpan demeanor. Rather than play the film as a conventional comedy, every line is delivered with utter seriousness, which only adds to the film's eclectic tone. Bogart was even more tight-lipped than usual, possibly due to an automobile accident he and Huston were involved in while being driven to a location in Ravello, Italy - an accident that badly cut Bogart's tongue and knocked out his bridge of front teeth. The devilish Huston couldn't stifle his laughter at the sight of the bloody-mouthed (but not seriously injured) Bogart, whom he remembered muttering in response, "John...you dirty, no-good thun-of-a-bith!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in the Public Domain, so it's free for them to air it (also helps explain why the sound/prints are bad sometimes.)

 

 

Generally, that's true about the print quality. But not always. TCM has shown a beautiful crisp sharp print of the film on at least one occasion, if not more. I know because I happened to record it that day (a few years ago), and it was vastly superior in quality to anything I had ever seen of the film before (or since).

 

For those who want a good copy of Beat the Devil, I think it might be a good idea to record it whenever TCM shows the film because, depending upon circumstances, they might show the good print again. For all I know they do these days, as well, because I haven't watched the film on the channel ever since I got that great recording of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to admit this..... but..........

 

I don't understand any of this movie.

You're not the only one. Bogart didn't like it -- he said it was only the phonies who thought it was a great movie. That made me feel better about wondering what all the fuss was about.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I see your point here, Lorna. But HEY, isn't that Lou Costello cameo playin' Peter Lorre's psychiatrist in it pretty cool???

LOL(...sorry, I JUST couldn't resist...please forgive me) ;)

 

I like you Dah-go.

I keel you lahst.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in the Public Domain, so it's free for them to air it (also helps explain why the sound/prints are bad sometimes.)

 

Something I'm curious about; if a film is in Public Domain, which I assume is due to the copyright lapsing or what not; is it possible for the studio to renew the copyright and then do a proper DVD release?

 

The reason I ask, is that there are a couple films I own (Santa Fe Trail and Topper) which are not the best quality; but it seems these films are in public domain so they have not been properly restored and released by their respective studios.  I'd love to get a decent copy of both of these films.

 

I also have Charade which I think is in public domain; but the quality of my copy wasn't that bad.  It looks like that Universal has given this film a proper DVD release, so I'm sure this copy is much better than mine.

 

...Perhaps I just answered my own question.  Haha....

 

BTW: I didn't understand Beat the Devil either; but would be interested in watching it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I'm curious about; if a film is in Public Domain, which I assume is due to the copyright lapsing or what not; is it possible for the studio to renew the copyright and then do a proper DVD release?

 

The reason I ask, is that there are a couple films I own (Santa Fe Trail and Topper) which are not the best quality; but it seems these films are in public domain so they have not been properly restored and released by their respective studios.  I'd love to get a decent copy of both of these films.

 

I also have Charade which I think is in public domain; but the quality of my copy wasn't that bad.  It looks like that Universal has given this film a proper DVD release, so I'm sure this copy is much better than mine.

 

...Perhaps I just answered my own question.  Haha....

 

BTW: I didn't understand Beat the Devil either; but would be interested in watching it again.

 

My understanding is that someone can get a copyright for a restored or enhanced version e.g.  a colorized version. 

 

This copyright does NOT prevent anyone from showing or marketing the public domain version but only this 'new' version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's in the Public Domain, so it's free for them to air it (also helps explain why the sound/prints are bad sometimes.)

 

It's a kooky movie. I don't get it either.

 

But I do think Jennifer Jones is fantastic in it.

 

 

Yes, agree. It's too bad she didnt do more comedy.............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I'm curious about; if a film is in Public Domain, which I assume is due to the copyright lapsing or what not; is it possible for the studio to renew the copyright and then do a proper DVD release?

 

The reason I ask, is that there are a couple films I own (Santa Fe Trail and Topper) which are not the best quality; but it seems these films are in public domain so they have not been properly restored and released by their respective studios.  I'd love to get a decent copy of both of these films.

 

I also have Charade which I think is in public domain; but the quality of my copy wasn't that bad.  It looks like that Universal has given this film a proper DVD release, so I'm sure this copy is much better than mine.

 

...Perhaps I just answered my own question.  Haha....

 

BTW: I didn't understand Beat the Devil either; but would be interested in watching it again.

 

 

WHY would Universal let Charade go into Public Domain??? Doesnt make sense!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WHY would Universal let Charade go into Public Domain??? Doesnt make sense!!

 

And if its in P.D. WHY isnt TCM showing it then??? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And if its in P.D. WHY isnt TCM showing Charade then??? 

really good question, seeing as how they usually have to really stretch to fill the time slots whenever they do an Audrey tribute, and Cary Grant days- while good- usually play a lot of the same titles. it's a terrific film and a great example of both their work.

 

it is a possibility that while the film is in the PD, the Oscar-nominated theme song by Henry Mancini is not and that could cause a legal issue (and removing it from the soundtrack would be too difficult and not fitting with TCM's policy.)

 

Just blue-skying here though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

really good question, seeing as how they usually have to really stretch to fill the time slots whenever they do an Audrey tribute, and Cary Grant days- while good- usually play a lot of the same titles. it's a terrific film and a great example of both their work.

 

it is a possibility that while the film is in the PD, the Oscar-nominated theme song by Henry Mancini is not and that could cause a legal issue (and removing it from the soundtrack would be too difficult and not fitting with TCM's policy.)

 

Just blue-skying here though.

 

 

The whole thing is strange. Its not like it's some obscure title. And it has 2 universally known stars at the top of their game..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us