Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Beat the Devil (1953) film directed by John Huston Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley and Peter Lorre. . It was co-authored by Huston and Truman Capote, loosely based on a novel of the same name by British journalist Claud Cockburn. This movie was supposed to be a spoof of The Maltese Falcon.

In a Italian port, four crooks, Petersen, Julius O'Hara, Maj. Jack Ross and Ravello, who Billy Dannreuther had been helping them to purchase uranium-rich land in British East Africa, are arrested by police.

Six months earlier, Billy, an American, his Italian wife Maria and his partners are traveling a steamer to Africa. The ship, develops engine trouble and their trip is delayed. Billy meets a wealthy English couple, Harry and Gwendolen Chelm, who are traveling on the same ship to take over a coffee plantation they have inherited.

Billy meets with Petersen, they start to wonder that Billy's friend may make another deal if they do not arrive on time. After accusing Ross of the murder of a British Colonial officer, Billy promises his friend will not turn on them.

After hearing Gwendolen tell Billy that the plantation Harry is inheriting is rich in uranium, O'Hara tells the others. O'Hara, is concerned that Billy will double cross them. Petersen thinks it is best that they both fly to Africa. Trying to change Peterson's mind about going, Billy says that their early arrival will be suspicious, Petersen does not agree and he and Billy leave for the nearest airport. On their way to the airport, the taxi breaks down, and they accidentally push it over a cliff into the sea. Thinking Billy and Petersen died in the accident, Harry breaks the news to Maria and Gwendolen. To every ones surprise, Billy and Petersen are alive. When the ship is ready to sail, Petersen receives a cable from London that claims that the Chelm's are not rich, as they claimed to be. While on the ship the engine breaks down and Harry, an ex-Royal Marines officer, tries to fix it but, after the engine explodes, the captain takes Harry prisoner. Billy, worries that the other men will kill Harry to keep him quiet.

Will this interesting group of character's escape with their lives?

What I enjoyed about this movie besides the wonderful cast of characters, is the several surprising twists and turns with a little comic suspense mixed in.

Fun Fact:

This was the fifth and last movie that Humphrey Bogart made with Peter Lorre. The other four were, The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), All through the Night (1942) and Passage to Marseille (1944).

In 1950 Howard Hughes invited Lollobrigida to make Hollywood films, but she refused, preferring to work in Europe. Despite this, her performance in Italian films: Bread, Love and Dreams and Woman of Rome, and in French films: Fanfan la Tulipe and Beauties of the Night, brought her to the attention of Hollywood. She made her first American film, Beat the Devil, in 1953 with Humphrey Bogart and Jennifer Jones.

Lollobrigida, performed in The World's Most Beautiful Woman(1955). She also performed in the circus drama, Trapeze(1956) with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Anthony Quinn. In 1959 she co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Never So Few and with Yul Brynner in Solomon and Sheba.

She performed in the romantic comedy Come September(1961), with Rock Hudson, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. The same year she performed with Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Franciosa in the drama, Go Naked in the World. In 1964 she co-starred with Sean Connery in the thriller, Woman of Straw. She co-starred with Rock Hudson again in 1965's Strange Bedfellows and appeared alongside Alec Guinness in 1966's Hotel Paradiso. In 1968 she starred in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell with Shelley Winters, Phil Silvers, and Telly Savalas. Lollobrigida co-starred with Bob Hope in the comedy The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell.


  1. This is an unusal film. Hated JJ in it but loved Gina Lollobrigida.

  2. Kim, I agree this is an unusal movie. What did you think of a blonde Jennifer Jones?
    I have really enjoyed Dec. Star of the month. I have liked all the Humphrey Bogart movies that they have featured.:)
    Happy New Year!!

  3. Blonde JJ was a bit startling. She doesn't really have the complexion to pull it off.


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