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.


Three Husbands (1951) [Comedy]

Three Husbands is a 1951 American film directed by Irving Reis. The movie is about a recently deceased playboy, who gets to heaven and is granted one wish like all newcomers will get there. He requests that he be able to see the reactions of three husbands, with whom he regularly played poker. What they didn´t know before is, that he had affairs with their wifes.

Directed by Irving Reis, produced by Isadore Goldsmith (producer) and Anthony Z. Landi (associate producer), written by Vera Caspary (story & screenplay), Edward Eliscu and Gertrude Purcell, starring Eve Arden as Lucille McCabe, Ruth Warrick as Jane Evans, Vanessa Brown as Mary Whittaker, Howard Da Silva as Dan McCabe, Shepperd Strudwick as Arthur Evans, Robert Karnes as Kenneth Whittaker, Emlyn Williams as Maxwell Bard, Billie Burke as Mrs. Jenny Bard Whittaker, Louise Erickson as Matilda Clegg, Jonathan Hale as Edward Wurdeman (Attorney at Law) and Jane Darwell as Mrs. Wurdeman.

Source: “Three Husbands” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 7 April 2013. Web. 8 April 2013.


Outlaws of Boulder Pass (1942) [Western] [Comedy] [Action]

“Outlaws of Boulder Pass” is a 1942 American film directed by Sam Newfield. The movie is about Harkness, who controls the Boulder Pass and his men are overcharging the ranches for its usage. When Tom Cameron steps in to rob the tollgate keepers and return the money to the ranchers, he gets caught.

Directed by Sam Newfield, produced by Sigmund Neufeld, written by Sam Robins, starring George Houston as Tom Cameron / The Lone Rider, Al St. John as Fuzzy Jones, Dennis Moore as Smoky Hammer, Marjorie Manners as Tess Hammer, alias Tess Clayton, I. Stanford Jolley as Gil Harkness, Karl Hackett as Sid Clayton, Charles King as Henchman Jake, Ted Adams as Sheriff, Kenne Duncan as Henchman Mulie and Frank Ellis as Henchman Ringo.

Source: “Outlaws of Boulder Pass” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 21 June 2012. Web. 31 March 2013.


My Favorite Brunette (1947) [Comedy] [Romance] [Mystery]

The story is told in flashback from Death Row as Ronnie Jackson (Hope) relates the events to a group of reporters the events that lead to his predicament. Jackson is a baby photographer who dreams about being a real private detective like his friend Sam McCloud (Ladd). One day he is mistaken for a detective by a mysterious lady in distress (Lamour) and soon finds himself involved in a murder mystery.

Directed by Elliott Nugent, produced by Daniel Dare, written by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose, starring Bob Hope as Ronnie Jackson, Alan Ladd as Sam McCloud (cameo appearance), Dorothy Lamour as Baroness Carlotta Montay, Frank Puglia as Baron Montay, Peter Lorre as Kismet, Lon Chaney, Jr. as Willie, John Hoyt as Dr. Lundau, Charles Dingle as Major Simon Montague, Reginald Denny as James Collins and Ann Doran as Miss Rogers.

Source: “My Favorite Brunette” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 20 March 2013. Web. 31 March 2013.


I’m from Arkansas (1944) [Comedy] [Romance]

“I’m from Arkansas” is a 1944 American film directed by Lew Landers. The movie is not quite a classic, but it has a delightful surprise for the viewers.

Directed by Lew Landers, produced by E.H. Kleinert and Irving Vershel, written by Marcy Klauber (screenplay) and Joseph Carole (screenplay), starring Slim Summerville as Juniper Jenkins aka Pa, El Brendel as Oly, Iris Adrian as Doris, Bruce Bennett as Bob Hamline, Maude Eburne as Matilda Alden Jenkins aka Ma, Cliff Nazarro as Willie Childs, Al St. John as Farmer, Carolina Cotton as Abigail ‘Abby’ Alden, Danny Jackson as Efus Jenkins, Paul Newlan as Farmer, Harry Harvey as Stowe Packing Company Representative, Arthur Q. Bryan as Commissioner of Agriculture, John Hamilton as Harry Cashin, Vice President of, Slowe Packing Company, Douglas Wood as Governor of Arkansas, Walter Baldwin as, Packing Company Attorney, Flo Bert as Showgirl, The Pied Pipers as Quartet, The Sunshine Girls (including Mary Ford) as Girl Trio and Jimmy Wakely as Jimmy Wakely.

Source: “I’m from Arkansas” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 20 March 2013. Web. 22 March 2013.


So’s Your Aunt Emma! (1942) [Comedy] [Crime]

“So’s Your Aunt Emma!” is a 1942 American film directed by Jean Yarbrough. The film is also known as “Meet the Mob”.

Directed by Jean Yarbrough, Produced by Lindsley Parsons (producer) and Barney A. Sarecky (associate producer), written by George Bricker (writer), Edmond Kelso (writer) and Harry Hervey (story “Aunt Emma Paints the Town”), starring Zasu Pitts as Aunt Emma Bates, Roger Pryor as Terry Connors (Globe-Register Reporter), Warren Hymer as Joe Gormley (Hammond Goon), Douglas Fowley as Gus Hammond, Gwen Kenyon as Maris (Terry’s Girl), Elizabeth Russell as Zelda Lafontaine, Tristram Coffin as Flower Henderson (Club Savoy Owner), Malcolm Bud McTaggart as Mickey O’Banion, Stanley Blystone as Det. Lt. Miller, Dick Elliott as Evans (Globe- Register Editor), Eleanor Counts as Gracie and Jack Mulhall as Reporter Burns.

Source: “So’s Your Aunt Emma” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 21 June 2012. Web. 5 August 2012.


Meet John Doe (1941) [Comedy]

“Meet John Doe” is a 1941 American comedy drama film directed and produced by Frank Capra, and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. The film is about a “grassroots” political campaign created unwittingly by a newspaper columnist and pursued by a wealthy businessman. It became a box office hit and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Story. Though the film is less well known than other Frank Capra classics, it remains highly regarded today. It was ranked #49 in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Cheers.

Infuriated at being told to write one final column after being laid off from her newspaper job, Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) prints a letter from a fictional unemployed “John Doe” threatening suicide on Christmas Eve in protest of society’s ills. When the note causes a sensation and the paper’s competition suspects a fraud and starts to investigate, the newspaper editor rehires Mitchell who comes up with a scheme of hiding the fictional nature of “John Doe” while exploiting the sensation caused by the fake letter to boost the newspaper’s sales, for which she demands a bonus equal to 8 months’ pay. After reviewing a number of derelicts who have shown up at the paper claiming to have penned the original suicide letter, Mitchell and editor Henry Connell (James Gleason) hire John Willoughby (Gary Cooper), a former baseball player and tramp who is in need of money to repair his injured arm, to play John Doe. Mitchell now starts to pen an article series in Doe’s name, elaborating on the letter’s ideas of society’s disregard of people in need.

Willoughby gets $50, a new suit of clothes, and a plush hotel suite with his tramp friend (Walter Brennan), who launches into an extended diatribe against “the heelots”, lots of heels who incessantly focus on getting money from others. Willoughby is hired to give radio speeches, guided by Mitchell who is promised $100 a week to write his speeches, paid by the newspaper’s publisher, D.B. Norton (Edward Arnold). Willoughby turns down a $5,000 bribe to admit the whole thing was a publicity stunt, gives Mitchell’s speech, and dashes off to the countryside with “The Colonel”. They ride the rails, playing the harmonica and ocarina until they show up in Millsville, where John Doe is recognized at a diner. He’s brought to City Hall, where he’s met by Hanson, who gives a five-minute monologue about how he was inspired to start a local John Doe club.

The John Doe philosophy spreads across the country, developing into a broad grassroots movement whose simple slogan is, “Be a better neighbor”. Far from being an altruistic philanthropist, however, Norton plans to channel the support for Doe into support for his own national political ambitions. As a culmination of this plan, Norton has instructed Mitchell to write a speech for Willoughby in which he announces the foundation of a new political party and endorses Norton as its presidential candidate.

When Willoughby, who has come to believe in the John Doe philosophy himself, realizes that he is being used, he tries to expose the plot, but is first stymied in his attempts to talk his own mind to a nationwide radio audience at the rally instead of reading the prepared speech, and then exposed as a fake by Norton, who claims to have been deceived, like everyone else, by the staff of the newspaper. Frustrated by his failure, Willoughby intends to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of the City Hall on Christmas Eve, as indicated in the original John Doe letter. Only the intervention of Mitchell and followers of the John Doe clubs persuades him to renege on his threat to kill himself. At this point in the movie, a reference to Jesus Christ is made, that a historical “John Doe” has already died for the sake of humanity. The film ends with Connell turning to Norton and saying, “There you are, Norton! The people! Try and lick that!”

Produced and directed by Frank Capra, written by Richard Connell and Robert Presnell, Sr., starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

Source: “Meet John Doe” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 18 July 2012. Web. 29 July 2012.


Bubbling Over (1934) [Comedy]

“Bubbling Over” is a 1934 American musical comedy short film directed by Leigh Jason.

Samson Peabody is the janitor in an apartment building where he and his wife Ethel live with a large crowd of Samson’s freeloading relatives. When more relatives come to stay, Ethel throws them out. A scheming occupant of the building reads Samson’s mail and poses as a clairvoyant prediciting the events of the letter; the arrival of Samson’s rich Uncle for dinner. However, the Uncle is a penniless lunatic (imagining himself to be The Emperor Jones) and a pickpocket. He steals the chicken of the dinner, several watches of the guests, the clairvoyant’s crystal ball and in the final scene, all the clothes of the people in the room.

Directed by Leigh Jason, produced by Meyer Davis (associate producer) and Monroe Shaff (producer), written by Burnet Hershey, starring Ethel Waters as Ethel Peabody, Southernaires Quartet as Some Relatives, Hamtree Harrington as Presbee Peabody and Frank L. Wilson as Swami River.

Source: “Bubbling Over (film)” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 21 June 2012. Web. 20 July 2012.