Home
NEW TODAY
SCRIPT CONTESTS
FREE EVENTS
WATCH MOVIES
NEW MOVIES
FESTIVAL VIDEOS
PICTURES
READ POETRY
MOVIE SCENES
SUBMIT your FILM
POETRY CONTEST
DAILY PODCASTS
WATCH FREE FILMS
THE LAST RITE
2010 MOVIES
ACTORS
ACTRESSES
DIRECTORS
MOVIES by YEAR
FILM FRANCHISES
MOVIE GENRES
NOTES and IDEAS
WATCH VIRAL
GET OUR E-ZINE!
CONTACT US
TOP 100 Sex
FAQ
2011 MOVIES

Subscribe To This Site
XML RSS
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines
 

THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, 1941
Movie Review

SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your SCREENPLAY
Voted #1 screenplay contest in the world!
NEW MOVIE REVIEWSNEW MOVIE REVIEWS
Read Today's POSTED REVIEWS
TOP 100TOP 100 LISTS WEBSITE
Best of photos, movies, sex and everything else!
movie trailersMOVIE TRAILERS
SEE the UPCOMING films. Plus reviews!
CLICK and WATCH MOVIES ONLINE!

WATCH today's TOP SHORT FILMS
EXPLORE and WATCH the TOP PAGES on THE NET!!
wildcardWATCH the best of WILDCARD PICTURES!
wildcardWATCH - BEAUTIFUL short film!
wildcardWATCH - NOSTALGIA short film!
wildcardWATCH - EMBEDDED short film!
wildcardWATCH - YARDSALE short film!
wildcardWATCH - THE AUDITION short film!
wildcardWATCH - THE ADDICT short film!
wildcardWATCH - 48 short film!
wildcardWATCH - DIM SUM OF ITS PARTS short film!
TOP 100 MOVIESTOP 100 MOVIE PAGES
WATCH and SEE the best of film!
TOP 100 SEXTOP 100 SEX PAGES
WATCH and SEE the best of sex pages online!
TOP 100 SEXTOP 100 FUNNY VIDEOS on the NET!
WATCH the best in HISTORY!
NAKED SCENESWATCH the TOP 100 SEX VIDEOS on the NET!
SEE the best of sex online!!
WATCH MOVIESWATCH TOP 100 MOVIES Today
Best of NEW films on the NET!
TOP 100 MOVIESTOP 100 MOVIES of ALL-TIME
See the best of film!
DIRECTORTOP 100 DIRECTORS of ALL-TIME
SEE THE LIST. Reviews, Photos and Scenes!
SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your SCRIPTS
Voted #1 screenplay contest in the world!

THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, MOVIE POSTERTHE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER, 1941
(also known as ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY)

Movie Reviews

Directed by William Dieterle
Starring: Walter Huston, Edward Arnold, Jane Darwell, James Craig, Simone Simon
Review by Virginia De Witt


SYNOPSIS:

In 1840s New Hampshire, farmer Jabez Stone falls on hard times and endures a series of misfortunes which impoverish him and his family. In a state of desperation, Jabez decides to sell his soul to a mysterious stranger who roams New England towns, Mr. Scratch. The deal agreed upon between the two is that Jabez will enjoy seven years of prosperity at the end of which he must render up his soul to his new benefactor. Good fortune quickly arrives and changes Jabez in important ways. He becomes cold, selfish, arrogant and betrays his wife with the beautiful Belle, sent by Mr. Scratch to keep an eye on Jabez. In addition, his friends abandon him due to his newfound mercenary ways. As the years go by, and the devil’s deadline approaches, Jabez slowly begins to realize the error he has made. Eventually he approaches the famous lawyer and local political hero, Daniel Webster to defend him in his upcoming dispute with Mr. Scratch over the ownership of his soul. Mr. Scratch agrees to a trial, but only if he gets to choose the judge and jury, made up exclusively of the damned. Finally, Daniel Webster agrees to forfeit his own soul if he loses the case against the devil.

CLICK HERE and watch 2009 MOVIES FOR FREE!

What is WILDsound?

REVIEW:

This re-working of the Faust legend is based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, and is set in rural 19th century New England. It is notable for the clarity of its story telling, a stand out performance from Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch, and beautiful, evocative black and white cinematography that brings to life a haunting landscape of villagers and farmers who live matter of factly with the demons in their midst.

Benet adapted his own short story for the screen, along with Dan Totheroh. In doing so, he updated the rationale given by earlier writers such as Christopher Marlowe and Goethe as to why a man would sell his soul. In the older, European version of this story, Faust is a scholar and is driven by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which he feels justifies his dealing with the devil. Benet is more interested in social, and even political, reasons for his protagonist descending into possible damnation.

Jabez Stone’s desires are purely material, as summed up in this exchange as his trial is about to begin and Jabez complains to Mr. Scratch:

“You promised me happiness, love.”

“Just a minute, I promised you prosperity, money and all that money could buy.”

Throughout the story, Jabez shows himself only too willing to betray any and all social bonds to satisfy his particular thirst. Benet, along with William Dieterle in his direction, consistently focuses on the fact that Jabez, through his pact with Mr. Scratch and its destructive consequences for his farming community, is breaking faith with the communitarian spirit of the farmers. This communal ethos is set in contrast to Jabez’s relentless pursuit of personal wealth and aggrandizement, until he realizes, just in time, the danger he has brought to his friends and family. Unlike Faust, Jabez’s predicament is never purely a personal one. Again, unlike Faust, there is an upbeat ending, where a good lawyer and citizen, simply by appealing to his fellow citizens, can upend any seemingly intractable problem.

The film did not do well on its release and its theme may have been too serious to appeal in a time of world war. However, the material is handled with a surprisingly light touch by director, William Dieterle. The story has a clear moral but is not moralizing. The pacing is energetic and Dieterle keeps the tone generally light. His handling of the demons, Mr. Scratch and Belle, is especially adroit in this regard. There is little fanfare, and no histrionics, to their appearance among the farmers in their village. Dieterle’s conception of these characters is refreshingly simple, never overwrought. Mr. Scratch is known to the denizens of this early American town. Some accept him and his offer, others reject him, but no one is surprised by his presence. The demons are simply presented as people, often very attractive and reasonable ones.

What drama there is surrounding the supernatural is highlighted by Joseph August’s black and white cinematography. He excels in evoking the eerie natural landscapes from which Mr. Scratch emerges. Equally his use of the play of shadow and light is brilliant, as in the frenzied barn dance scene where Jabez first meets and chases Belle. Couples whirl in and out of the darkness, illuminated only by occasional candle light. The final parade of the damned into the jury box is another visual triumph for August.

Walter Huston in the pivotal role of Mr. Scratch holds the film together. He beautifully captures both Benet’s and Dieterle’s concept of the devil as a trickster figure; one that is cunning, malevolent, smooth; never angry or seemingly diabolical. Mr. Scratch is just there to helpfully explain how he can assist Jabez. Huston relies on a quiet, soothing tone of voice coupled with the cocky confidence of a man who knows his offers are always ultimately accepted.

Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster is affecting as a man dealing with his own personal demon, alcohol, and yet is capable of resoluteness and courage in a moment of crisis. James Craig as Jabez Stone is convincing as an early American every man. Jane Darwell is stalwart as Jabez’s mother.

The film is further aided by Bernard Hermann’s score, the only one for which he won an Oscar in his long career. Overall, it is a compelling take on an ancient legend that is visually distinctive and effectively dramatized.

SCREENPLAY CONTESTSUBMIT your SCREENPLAY
Voted #1 screenplay contest in the world!
NEW MOVIE REVIEWSNEW MOVIE REVIEWS
Read Today's POSTED REVIEWS
MOVIE KILLSEE 1000s of PICTURES
Best of photos, images and pics
MOVIE YEARMOVIES YEAR BY YEAR
Pages from 1900 to present


THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER


footer for The Devil and Daniel Webster page