'Beat The Devil: Restored Classics'
(Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Gina Lollobrigida, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1953) 2015 / Film Detective)
Overview: On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen ... because several travelers include three unlikely criminals and The Committee!
Blu ray Verdict: OK, let's get this straight from the start: As much as this is claimed to be a "restored" classic, I honestly do not see much difference (if any at all) to versions that I have seen of this wonderful film in the past few years. That said, if you're a classic film fan, you're going to come across this film sooner or later. And chances are, being a fan of how movies were made back in the day, you'll understand what these creative folks were going for. Regardless of whether or not this is a truly "restored" version or not.
The plot, if you can call it that, concerns a group of six stranded adventurers in an Italian port whose plan is to buy up some East African land that supposed1y contains uranium. Double-crossing quickly becomes the name of the game as Bogart and his fellow conspirators (including Robert Morley, Peter Lorre, Gina Lollobrigida, and a seemingly endless parade of bizarre characters) outdo each other in inspired crazy way.
Bogart, trying desperately to maintain his composure, delivered such priceless lines as: "I'm only in on this because the doctor told me I needed plenty of money. Without money I become dull, listless, and have trouble with my complexion." But his lines weren't the only offbeat ones. In a room where he's being questioned after being captured, while a firing squad goes about its routine work outside, he is asked straight-faced, "Now tell me, do you really know Rita Hayworth?"
The film is one of those rare items that viewers either seem to love or hate, no middle ground accepted. But that's just dandy, as 'Beat The Devil' is one of the best movies of its ilk, and fully deserves your attention - even today. This is a Full Screen, Black & White Presentation (1:33.1) restored and enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
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