"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, February 07, 2009

SNMR 6.5: "The Devil & Daniel Webster"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Devil & Daniel Webster" (1941, NR, 106 minutes, B&W), starring Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, James Craig, Anne Shirley, Simone Simon, Jane Darwell and Gene Lockhart. The film was directed by William Dieterle. This film won an Oscar in 1942 and was nominated for one other award.

PLOT SUMMARY: Jabez Stone is a New Hampshire farmer who has run into a string of bad luck. He'd be willing to sell his soul to the devil for a chance at a better life for himself and his family. Wouldn't you know it, the devil was listening! Stone meets 'Mr. Scratch,' who promises Jabez seven years of good luck and good fortune. Will Jabez realize what he's done in time? If he does, who can save him from the devil's clutches?

MY OPINION: This is a decent, if largely forgotten film. That's unfortunate because the performances are good, even by James Craig (Jabez) whose character becomes more annoying as the film progresses. Throughout the film I was trying to place where I've seen Edward Arnold (Daniel Webster) before and didn't figure it out until near the end (He was in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."). The script, based on the short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, aside from a few lulls, is well written. The only disappointing thing about this movie is the choppy picture and sound on the DVD, which really ought to be cleaned up.

There was to be a remake of this movie in 2001, called Shortcut to Happiness, but due to a dispute wasn't finished until 2007. Even then it was in limited release and disappeared quickly after that. This version has never been released to DVD, despite starring Alec Baldwin, Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

All in all, this is a good little movie.

*** out of *****

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