Beat the Devil

Released 1953






  • Trivia

    • Beat The Devil is based (closely) on the satirical novel by "James Helvick", a pseudonym for the famous radical journalist Claud Cockburn. Cockburn has related that, finding himself in dire need of money whilst living in Ireland, he wrote the novel quickly and then deliberately left a copy of it on a table in the drawing-room of the house of a friend, who had invited him for the weekend. Knowing that John Huston was another weekend guest, he brought other copies and left them in strategic places around the house, too, with the result that Huston began to read it. By the end of the weekend, Huston had arranged the purchase of the film rights.

    • Peter Ustinov dubbed the Italian actor playing the purser of the S.S.Nyanga. Peter Sellers is also believed to have done some dubbing work on the film.

    • The young Stephen Sondheim worked anonymously on the film for a few weeks as an assistant.

    • The name of the British police inspector who appears at the end of the film (played by Bernard Lee) is the same as that of the film's associate producer, Jack Clayton (who later became an eminent director).

  • Quotes

    • Billy Dannreuther: That's the trouble with England, it's all pomp and no circumstance.

    • Billy Dannreuther: [repeated line]: Anything's possible!

    • Ahmed: I believe you must have Arab blood. Westerners are not usually so subtle.

    • Harry Chelm: What a filthy superstition!

    • The Purser: Ah, Mr. Dannreuther - it may interest you to know that your companions are all in the hoosegow. Oh, I'm not surprised. I put them down as bad characters right off the bat. But then, there are so many bad characters nowadays - my own, for example.

    • Peterson: [taking his gang for a walk]: Breathe deep, my boys! Every breath you take is a guinea in the bank of health!

  • Notes

  • Allusions

More Info About This Movie


Crime, Dark Comedy, Classics