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12:30   2:30   4:40   7:00   9:10

Must End Thursday, February 23

Directed by John Huston  

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones and Gina Lollobrigida

Screenplay by Truman Capote



(1953) “They’re desperate characters. Not one of them looked at my legs.” Suave Humphrey Bogart (“Fat Gut’s my best friend, and I will not betray him cheaply”) and tea-and-crumpet-loving wife Gina Lollobrigida (“Emotionally, I am English”), en route to a “uranium deal” in East Africa – with “business associates” including Robert Morley and Peter Lorre – meet up with a congenital liar, blonde Jennifer Jones (her hair dying irked on-set hubby David O. Selznick) – and then after there’s this shipwreck, an Arab official demands details about his beloved... Rita Hayworth. Supposedly scripted by Truman Capote as they went along, Devil so baffled its preview audiences that it was instantly cut (by four minutes, including some censorship excisions) and re-edited, with an added Bogart narration turning the whole thing into a flashback – which made it all the more baffling. Seen for decades only in that mangled version – and in dismal bootleg copies yet – this new restoration went back to the original 35mm camera negative and other sources to re-create the unseen longer version. Based on the novel by James Helvick (pen name of Claud Cockburn). DCP restoration. Approx. 89 mins.

A comparison of the new restoration with the cut and censored version will follow each screening.

Restored by Sony Pictures Entertainment in collaboration with The Film Foundation, with the support of RT Features and the Franco-American Cultural Fund. Audio restoration by Deluxe Media Audio Services. Image restoration by L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory



“[HUSTON] AT HIS BEST. A movie that always knows exactly what the joke is. And it’s often a funny joke that lands with a sting… Capote wrote witty dialogue for all of the film’s characters […] but he outdoes himself writing for [Bogart’s] Billy, which makes me wonder if he saw something of himself in Bogart’s cynical raconteur personality.”
– Matt Zoller Seitz,

“Careers from scene to scene with barely contained, wholly invigorating chaos. The disorder is made even more delectable by a game cast, each performer, without exception and regardless of celebrity status, embracing and in synch with the movie’s shambolic energy.”
– Melissa Anderson, The Village Voice

“An absurdist spoof of ‘The Maltese Falcon’… Has the daffy charm of a movie that feels as if it was made up as it was being shot.” 
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“THE NEW 4K RESTORATION IS A REVELATION. Feels like it’s being made up as they go along — in the best possible way. The plot is convoluted, occasionally conveyed in a flurry of names and information that neither the speaker nor listener seems to pay much attention to. But the plot’s not what Beat the Devil is about anyway — it’s about the mood, and the characters. It operates under the assumption that everyone in it is drunk, lusty, a little crooked, and a little crazy, and once you tune in to their wavelength, it’s fun to just hang out with them for an hour and a half.”
– Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

“[Capote] makes cravenness simply sparkle, dropping wicked pearl after pearl.”
– March Asch, Brooklyn Magazine

– The Guardian

“A camp version of some lovely, foolish memory of the golden age.”
– David Thomson

– Dave Kehr

“It may be the funniest mess of all time.”
– Pauline Kael

“Shows how much Hollywood has lost by devaluing its character actors. In an age when a $20 million star must be on the screen every second, this picture could not be made. Huston has stars, too, but his movie is so funny because he throws them into the pot with a seedy gang of charlatans… If Beat the Devil puzzled audiences on its first release, it has charmed them since… The movie has above all effortless charm.”
– Roger Ebert

Beat the Devil was tremendous fun.  The cast were completely bewildered - sometimes even Huston didn’t seem to know what was going on.  Naturally the scenes had to be written out of sequence, and there were peculiar moments when I was carrying around in my head the only real outline of the so-called plot. It’s a marvelous joke. Whenever there’s a revival, I go to see it and have a fine time.”
– Truman Capote

“The formula is that everyone is slightly absurd.”
– John Huston

Film Forum