Beat The Devil (1953) [Action] [Adventure] [Comedy]

Beat the Devil is a 1953 British film directed by John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones and Gina Lollobrigida, and featuring Robert Morley, Peter Lorre and Bernard Lee. Huston and Truman Capote wrote the screenplay, loosely based upon a novel of the same name by British journalist Claud Cockburn, writing under the pseudonym James Helvick. Houston made the film as a parody of a genre of film. Although often described as a parody of The Maltese Falcon, which Huston directed and in which Bogart and Lorre appeared, this is not the case.

The script, written on a day-to-day basis as the film was shot, concerns the adventures of a motley crew of swindlers and ne’er-do-wells trying to claim land rich in uranium deposits in Kenya as they wait in a small Italian port to travel aboard a tramp steamer en route to Mombasa.

Plot: Billy Dannreuther (Humphrey Bogart) is a formerly-wealthy American who has fallen on hard times. He is reluctantly working with four crooks: Peterson (Robert Morley), ex-Nazi Julius O’Hara (Peter Lorre), Major Jack Ross (Ivor Barnard) and Ravello, who are trying to acquire uranium-rich land in British East Africa. Billy suspects that Major Ross murdered a British Colonial officer, who threatened to expose their plan. While waiting in Italy for passage to Africa, Billy and his wife Maria (Gina Lollobrigida) meet a British couple: Harry (Edward Underdown) and Gwendolen Chelm (Jennifer Jones), who plan to travel on the same ship. Harry is a very proper and traditional Englishman, while Gwendolen is flighty and fanciful and a compulsive liar. Billy and Gwendolen have an affair, while Maria flirts with Harry. Peterson becomes suspicious that the Chelms may be attempting to acquire the uranium themselves. His suspicions are unfounded, but they seem to him to be confirmed by Gwendolen, who lies about her husband and exaggerates his importance.

Billy and Peterson are in a car accident and wrongly reported to have been killed. In order to replace Peterson’s lost capital, Ravello approaches Harry Chelm and explains their scheme. Just then, to everyone’s surprise, Billy and Peterson return to the hotel alive and unharmed. The purser announces that the ship is at last ready to sail. On board, Harry reveals that he knows about Peterson’s scheme and intends to inform the authorities. Peterson orders Major Ross to kill Harry, but Billy thwarts the murder attempt. Harry’s outraged accusations alienate the ship’s drunken captain, who locks Harry in the brig, where he is uncomfortable, but safe from Major Ross.

The ship’s engine malfunctions and the ship sinks. When Billy goes to free Harry he finds that Harry has escaped and left the ship, intending to swim ashore. The passengers abandon the sinking ship in a lifeboat and land on an African beach, where they are arrested by Arab soldiers. They are interrogated by Ahmed, an Arab official who suspects that they may be spies or revolutionaries. Billy befriends Ahmed by talking with him about Rita Hayworth, upon whom Ahmed has a crush. Billy persuades him to send the party back to Italy. When they land, they are met and questioned by a Scotland Yard detective (Bernard Lee), who is investigating the murder of the Colonial officer. Gwendolen reveals Peterson’s scheme, and his involvement in the murder, and his attempt to murder Harry, to the detective, who promptly arrests Peterson, O’Hara, Major Ross and Ravello. As the four crooks are led away in handcuffs, Gwendolen receives a telegram from British East Africa saying that Harry has acquired the land Peterson and the others meant to steal, and is now extremely rich and willing to forgive Gwendolen, Billy and Maria. Billy laughs happily, saying “This is the end, the end!”.

Directed and produced by John Huston, screenplay by John Huston and Truman Capote, based on the novel Beat the Devil (1951) by Claud Cockburn (as James Helvick), starring Humphrey Bogart as Billy Dannreuther, Jennifer Jones as Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm, Gina Lollobrigida as Maria Dannreuther, Robert Morley as Peterson, Peter Lorre as Julius O’Hara, Edward Underdown as Harry Chelm, Ivor Barnard as Maj. Jack Ross, Marco Tulli as Ravello, Bernard Lee as Insp. Jack Clayton, Mario Perrone as Purser on SS Nyanga, Giulio Donnini as Administrator, Saro Urzì as Captain of SS Nyanga, Aldo Silvani as Charles, restaurant owner and Juan de Landa as Hispano-Suiza Driver

Source: “Beat the Devil (film)” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 27 November 2016. Web. 29 December 2016.


Irish Luck (1939) [Action] [Adventure] [Comedy]

“Irish Luck” is anAmerican film directed by Howard Bretherton. The film is also known as “Amateur Detective” in the United Kingdom. Buzzy O’Brien is a bellhop in a hotel where a guest is murdered. The police blame Kitty Monahan and Buzzy succeeds in helping her escape and hides her at his home with his mother. Buzzy and his pal Jefferson manage to fumble their way to finding the real killer who was after the stolen bonds carried by the victim. Based on Charles Molyneaux Brown’s story “Death Hops the Bells.”

Directed by Howard Bretherton, Scott R. Dunlap (supervising producer) and Grant Withers (associate producer), written by Charles M. Brown (story) and Mary McCarthy (screenplay), starring Frankie Darro as Buzzy O’Brien, Dick Purcell as Steve Lanahan, Lillian Elliott as Mrs. O’Brien, Dennis Moore as Jim Monahan, James Flavin as Hotel Detective Fluger, Sheila Darcy as Kitty Monahan, Mantan Moreland as Jefferson, Ralph Peters as Detective Jenkins, Tristram Coffin as Mr. Mace – Hotel Desk Clerk, Pat Gleason as Banning – Bond Robber, Gene O’Donnell as Bond Robber, Donald Kerr as Reporter, Howard M. Mitchell as Hotel Manager and Aloha Wray as Dancer.

Source: “Irish Luck (1939 film)” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 11 May 2013. Web. 23 June 2013.


The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy (1958) [Adventure] [Horror] [Science Fiction]

“The Robot vs the Aztec Mummy” (originally “La momia azteca contra el robot humano”) is an Mexican film directed by Rafael Portillo, starring Ramón Gay and Rosa Arenas. It blends elements of science fiction and horror. The film is the sequel to The Aztec Mummy and The Curse of the Aztec Mummy, both released earlier that year, and a large portion of the film consists of an extended recap of the first two entries in the series. The film is also known as “The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot” or “Aztec Mummy vs. the Human Robot”.

The evil Dr. Krupp (Luis Aceves Castañeda), also known as “The Bat”, plots to steal a valuable Aztec treasure from the tomb of a centuries-old living mummy, Popoca (Angel di Stefani). Krupp builds a robot to defeat the mummy. Krupp’s former colleague Dr. Eduardo Almada (Ramón Gay) and associates work to stop the mad scientist from creating his robot.

The movie shows a notable lack of awareness of Mesoamerican civilizations, as it suggests the Aztecs practiced mummification and used hieroglyphics. In reality, they had no system of writing and practiced cremation and (more often) simple burial. It was the Inca civilization that practiced mummification, and the Maya who had a system of hieroglyphics. Also, the mummy is depicted in the Egyptian style (upright or lying on its back) rather than in the Inca style (hunched into a ball with its feet pulled to the body and its knees close to the face).

Directed by Rafael Portillo, produced Guillermo Calderón, written by Guillermo Calderón (original story) and Alfredo Salazar (original story and adaptation), starring Ramón Gay as Dr. Eduardo Almada, Rosa Arenas as Flor Almada / Xochitl, Crox Alvarado as Pinacate, Luis Aceves Castañeda Dr. Krupp, Jorge Mondragón as Dr. Sepúlveda, Arturo Martínez as Tierno, Emma Roldán as Maria, the housekeeper, Julián de Meriche as Comandante Salvador Lozano, Jaime González Quiñones as Pepe Almada, Ángel Di Stefani as Popoca (the Mummy), Adolfo Rojas, Jesús Murcielago Velázquez as El Murciélago, Enrique Yáñez as Esbirro del Murciélago, Guillermo Hernández as Esbirro del Murciélago, Alberto Yáñez as Esbirro del Murciélago, Firpo Segura as Esbirro del Murciélago and Sergio Yañez as Esbirro del Murciélago.

Source: “The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 5 April 2013. Web. 23 June 2013.


The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) [Western] [Adventure]

Cowboy Bob Blake receives a letter from his friend Joe Jackson, asking for help. Blake and his men travel to Jackson’s ranch, only to discover from Jackson’s sister Betty that Joe has been missing for three weeks. Meanwhile Jackson’s ranch hand (Slim Perkins) is learning to use ventriloquism to make the farm animals talk, and tries to convince the gullible Dusty to buy a talking mule.

Blake discovers that Jackson is being held by a local land grabbing rancher, Buck Thorne, who (with his partner Pete) has discovered gold on Jackson’s ranch. They killed Joe and Betty’s father, and are trying to force Joe to deed the land over to Thorne. Blake develops a plan to rescue Jackson from where he is being held above the saloon, but runs into trouble. Betty sends Blake’s men into the saloon as backup and is kidnapped by Thorne, who then threatens to kill Betty and Joe if they do not sign the deed. While Dusty rides for the sheriff, Blake and his men backtrack Betty’s horse (who arrived home riderless). A gun battle ensues, with the sheriff arriving in the nick of time. The villains are hauled off to jail, and Blake rides into the sunset with Betty.

Directed by Richard C. Kahn, produced by Richard C. Kahn and Jed Buell, written by Richard C. Kahn, starring Herb Jeffries as Bob Blake, Artie Young as Betty Jackson, Rollie, Hardin as Joe Jackson, Clarence Brooks as Buck Thorne, F.E. Miller as Slim Perkins, Lucius Brooks as Dusty, Spencer Williams as Pete, Lee Calmes as Lee, Earle Morris as Bartender and The Four Tones as Singing Quartet.

Source: “The Bronze Buckaroo” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 24 February 2013. Web. 31 March 2013.