Beat the Devil 1953
Undoubtedly one of the most peculiar films to appear from a major director and star in the 1950s is John Huston's Beat the Devil (1953). Produced by Humphrey Bogart's Santana Productions, the film was unlike anything being released by the major studios, and even today is a fascinating gem of cinematic chutzpah.

A motley crew of swindlers led by screen legend Humphrey Bogart try to strike it rich in this sophisticated noir comedy from 1953.

Bogart stars as Billy Dannreuther, frontman for a group of sinister "businessmen" stranded in an Italian port town, scheming for a way to take ownership of uranium-rich, government-owned land in Africa. Into this nest of vipers falls a naive British couple, Mr. and Mrs. Chelm (Edward Underdown and Jennifer Jones). As the lonely Mrs. Chelm flirts with Mr. Dannreuther, she weaves an outrageous tapestry of lies about her husband's financial and political interests, not realizing the ocean of deceit into which she is submerging them. Dannreuther's wife (Gina Lollobrigida), meanwhile, begins a flirtation of her own with Mr. Chelm, so that every allegiance is tested, every loyalty questioned in this romantic and criminal merry-go-round.

Director: John Huston
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida
Country: UK, Italy, USA
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance

BD50, DVD9 | 1080p AVC, PAL | 01:33:50 | 37.2 Gb + 6.52 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: English

• Audio commentary featuring films historians Lem Dobbs, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman (2018)
• Audio commentary featuring DoP Oswald Morris, script supervisor Angela Allen and director’s assistant Jeanie Simms (2007)
• By the Fireside (1945, 2 mins): an advert for Maypole Tea emphasising the quintessential Englishness of the afternoon tea ritual
• Alexander Cockburn Beat the Devil (2010, 22 mins): the writer talks about his father Claud Cockburn whose novel the film was adapted from
• Atomic Achievement (1956, 19 mins): a public information film celebrating the advances of nuclear power in the UK
• Stills gallery