BEAT THE DEVIL
1953, Sony Repertory, 89 min, UK/Italy/USA, Dir: John Huston

If screwball comedies were about criminal entanglements instead of romantic ones - and if they featured dialogue by Truman Capote - they would resemble this delightful adventure spoof. Jennifer Jones plays a compulsive liar traveling to Africa with her husband when she meets Humphrey Bogart, who’s been enlisted by a group of criminals (including Robert Morley and Peter Lorre) eager to acquire a uranium mine. Bogart lost a bundle of money and several teeth making the film, but it remains among the most distinctive and entertaining of his career. Costarring Gina Lollobrigida.


THE ASPHALT JUNGLE
1950, Warner Brothers, 112 min, Dir: John Huston

The kingpin of caper films, featuring one of the best ensemble casts ever. Director John Huston's neo-realist adaptation of W. R. Burnett’s novel examines the ambitions of small-time hoods and brought a new level of empathy and authenticity to crime - that "left-handed form of human endeavor." Famous as the film that introduced Marilyn Monroe, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE deserves renewed recognition as a crucial work of noir Americana. With Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, James Whitmore and Jean Hagen.


Syndicate content