John Huston and Truman Capote co-wrote the screenplay for Beat The Devil while working on location. It’s a biting parody of “The Maltese Falcon” and other ’40s detective movies in which Humphrey Bogart often starred (and Huston often directed).
The story follows a group of travelers on a steamboat who all hope to beat the others to the uranium fields of Northern Africa. While not a commercial success upon its release, the film has come to define the genre of spy movie spoofs.
Although based on a novel by James Helvick, Beat the Devil evolved into a spoof of director John Huston’s own 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon. Both films feature Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre and share a similar dark humor.
Received its premiere in the UK first on 24 Nov 1953 before making it’s US debut 12 March 1954.
Humphrey Bogart as Billy Dannreuther
Jennifer Jones as Mrs. Gwendolen Chelm
Gina Lollobrigida as Maria Dannreuther
Robert Morley as Peterson
Peter Lorre as Julius O’Hara
Edward Underdown as Harry Chelm
Ivor Barnard as Maj. Jack Ross
Marco Tulli as Ravello
Bernard Lee as Insp. Jack Clayton
Mario Perrone as Purser on SS Nyanga
Giulio Donnini as Administrator
Saro Urzì as Captain of SS Nyanga
Juan de Landa as Hispano-Suiza Driver
Aldo Silvani as Charles – Restaurant Manager
Director: John Huston
Screenplay: Truman Capote, John Huston
Director of Photography: Oswald Morris
Composer: Franco Mannino
Production Designer: Wilfred Shingleton
Country: UK, Italy, USA
Studio: United Artists
Year of Release: 1953
Duration: 89 minutes