Search - The Devil & Daniel Webster - Criterion Collection on DVD

The Devil & Daniel Webster - Criterion Collection
The Devil Daniel Webster - Criterion Collection
Actors: Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell, Simone Simon, Gene Lockhart
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2003     1hr 47min

Stephen Vincent Benet's timeless 1937 short story gets the red-carpet treatment on Criterion's feature-packed DVD of The Devil & Daniel Webster. William Dieterle's inspired film remains the classic it always was, proving t...  more »


Larger Image

Movie Details

Actors: Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell, Simone Simon, Gene Lockhart
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Classics, Horror, Fantasy, Classics, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2003
Original Release Date: 10/29/1941
Theatrical Release Date: 10/29/1941
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 35
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

Similar Movies

The Talk of the Town
Director: George Stevens
   UR   2003   1hr 58min
The Browning Version
Criterion Collection
Director: Anthony Asquith
   UR   2005   1hr 30min
Inherit the Wind
Cliffs Notes Version with Book
Director: Stanley Kramer
   PG   2007   2hr 8min
Portrait of Jennie
Director: William Dieterle
   NR   2004   1hr 26min

Similarly Requested DVDs

Four Minutes
Director: Charles Beeson
   NR   2005   1hr 30min

Movie Reviews

Jon | NY | 12/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've just completed viewing this film on TCM for the third time. I'm sorry to say how long it took me to get interested - I had assumed it would be another cute Golden Age Hollywood exercise.

Wow - was I wrong. I have viewed very few films of such magnificient eerieness, this film has such an unwholesome quality about it until Ma Stone or Webster speaks. It permeates almost every frame of the picture, much more so than "Rosemary's Baby" or "The Exorcist" attempted to later.

It is difficult to pinpoint the source of this unwholesome impression - I am pretty hard-boiled where horror films are concerned. To a large degree it is the deep background which, although never particularly realistic in films from this time period due to non-location filming, not only seems especially unreal but also cavernous - as though Jabez is in hell already. Lighting certainly plays a major factor here.

It's unwholesome feel is also directly linked to it's surrealist qualities, qualities that are later mimicked by filmmakers like David Lynch (the crying infant Daniel/the "baby" in "Eraserhead"), even the ghostly faces in the window before Jabez's party seem to be the inspriation for the faces in the ship's screen in the Star Trek episode "The Mark of Gideon". The use of soft focus at differing points of each frame helps here.

Especially noteworthy is the party scene wherein mobs of demonic ghosts grab at party victuals and squeeze them into a grotesque mess, and where Belle dances with the corpse of Miser Stevens.

The least eerie scene in the film is the finale in contrast with the slow corruption Jabez undergoes throughout the rest, a process the viewer finds themselves initimately enduring.

I hardly have to strain to credit the wonderful score by Bernard Herrmann nor then over the top, yet so satanically sincere, portrayal of Mr. Scratch by Walter Huston - these are common knowledge!

I also wonder if Orson Welles had Simone Simon in mind when he cast Romy Schneider in the role of the Advocate's seductive nurse in his version of Franz Kafka's "The Trial". The looks, manners and 'succubi' roles of both are quite similar.

Overall one of the most chilling films I've had the pleasure of viewing and I'm sorry it took as long to get around to it as it did.