Half-Full Glass: The Movie, “Beat the Devil”

That it boasts sophisticated dialogue and was filmed in Italy is nearly enough to render the American film, Beat the Devil (1953), by John Huston, an art-house adventure story—or, put another way, a minor work of art.  It stars Humphrey Bogart and, because of its second half, is in my view a failure.  The first half is sparkling and intriguing, the second half thin and trivial.  The only two reasons I watch Beat the Devil is to hear that dialogue (not without plenty of wit) and to see the sheer pulchritude of Jennifer Jones and Gina Lollobrigida.  But the genuinely good Huston movies of the 1950s, I say, are The Asphalt Jungle and The African Queen.

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