Hello, everybody.  Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here today to engage in one of our favorite pastimes, addressing email from readers. 

Beat The Devil stars Humphrey Bogart opposite Gina Lollobrigida in full flower as Bogie’s wife.  Our Feb. 1 blog (Bogie, Jennifer, Gina and Peter Lorre At Sea On an Italian Cruise Ship? Oops!) comparing the picture’s plot to the Costa Concordia disaster drew several comments.

By way of backround, we should mention Jennifer Jones (who looks great in the picture) is also on hand, married to a proper Englishman but falling for Bogie anyway. The terrific supporting cast includes Robert Morley and Peter Lorre. The movie was directed by the John Huston, who, of course, cut his professional teeth along with Bogie and Lorre in the 1941 classic, The Maltese Falcon.

Joe regards Beat The Devil it more or less as an amusing trifle, once seen and that’s it.  Frank has enjoyed watching the film again, and again, and cannot get enough.

Writes Classic Becky:  I must admit that I am with Joe about the movie — I saw it once, and once was enough. It’s strange too, because I love the cast and am an ardent admirer of John Huston’s work. It’s been a very long time since I saw it, so perhaps I should give it another chance. You make it sound better than I remember! Nice post… 

By all means, Classic Becky, take another look. Thanks for the compliment.

Regular contributor Patrica Nolan-Hall (Caftan Woman) expresses another view:  I think “Beat the Devil” is a hoot that gets more hootier every time I see it!

Kim Wilson remains ambivalent: ‘Beat the Devil’ is a strange film. I don’t know whether I’m supposed to like it or not, but it is definitely different from most films of the 1950s. It’s hard to get over how different Jennifer Jones looks with blond hair!

Who’s looking at her hair, Kim?  In fabulous shape when she made this picture, Jennifer Jones’ figure is a knockout, projecting an athletic sexiness that even eclipses the full-figured appeal of then-sexpot Lollobrigida.

Mike weighs in with:  I loved the movie, not because it was a “classic” but because of the talent. Watching Jennifer Jones & Gina Lollobrigida was a real treat as their beauty was off the charts but it was really quirky and fun… you could tell the crew had a great time making it and I wanted to see more…    (Frank wholeheartedly agrees, Mike.)

Our kickoff Mug Shot Monday blog (Jan. 30) featuring Frank Sinatra  noted that although Sinatra’s hometown of Hoboken is located in New Jersey’s Hudson County, the young singer was arrested by police from New Jersey’s neighboring Bergen County.

Writes in Vincent:  Interesting. I’ve seen the Bergen County reference in the past and always assumed it was something related to Frank’s period as a singer at a club on U.S. 9 in Alpine (a few miles north of the George Washington Bridge), which is what he was doing in late 1938, some months before joining Harry James’ Orchestra and cutting his initial records. Instead, it turns out to be, to paraphrase John Fogerty, “stuck in Lodi again.”

Finally, Robin Jordan-Henry responds to our July 14 blog (Susan Hayward – Forgotten Star) with this ringing defense of the actress:

Thank You! I get frustrated when stars of the 40?s and 50?s are mentioned but Susan Hayward is omitted. She was one of the most talented actresses. I’ve read every book that has been written about her and that time period (I have a BA and a MA in theatre so I’m doing research for a project), and her life style (was) very quiet compared to her contemporaries. She wanted to hone her craft rather than just be a star.

Her fellow actors felt that she was rude. However, she was very shy and fearful of people plus she wanted to save her energies between takes and didn’t socialize, preferring to retire to her trailer.

If you watch her performances today you can see the European influence; early in her career she became acquainted with Gregory Ratoff, a (Russian-born) actor, director and producer (who directed Hayward in 1941’s ‘Adam Had Four Sons’), and his acting teacher wife both from Europe.

I am a fan!



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