Day 2 TCM Film Festival Friday April 7 (Part 2)

Beat the Devil

If you have never seen this odd film from director John Huston and Star Humphrey Bogart, you are likely to be thrown for a loop when you do. It is not at all what you would expect. It started out as a serious project but some of the circumstances are odd and after Truman Capote signed on to work the script, it becomes an outright comedy.

Jennifer Jones is really interesting as a woman who is fickle in love and has a tenuous relationship with the truth. The oddball characters start stacking up and although there is murder in the air, the drama of the story never seems to be the focus. Instead we are anticipating the next outrageous turn of events or quip from Bogart.

The first half of the film takes place onshore as the cast of characters awaits repairs to the vessel they are supposed to sail on. We take in local ruins, and the cast mistakenly think that characters have died. When you have Gina Lollobrigda and Jennifer Jones as romantic interests, you are a lucky guy. At least in love, but the scheme seems to be going off the rails at times. Bogart’s partners include Robert Morely and Peter Lorre and Italian actor Marco Tulli. Everyone is double crossing everyone else and you will have a hard time following the plot and scheme, but that is mostly not relevant to enjoying the picture.

The program featured a discussion of the filming by script supervisor Angela Allen, who told several amusing stories about working with the cast. Apparently, one day when they were shooting at sea, the captain misunderstood the directions and had the ship sailing off to North Africa for a couple of hours before anyone realized it. The cast and crew did not get back into port until many hours into the night and they were lucky they did not wake up in Tunisia.

Day Two TCMFF Friday April 7

Beyond the Mouse: The 1930s Cartoons of Ub Iwerks


This/morning we have animated fare on the plate. The works of Ub Iwerks are going to be the subject of the program, Beyond the Mouse. There were ten cartoons from the 1930 period, starting with an Oswald Rabbit short that was pretty primitive but very amusing. The level/of violence was a bit high but it was entertaining. Steamboat Willie was next and it is probably a bit harsher than you remember.


Iwerks was very much responsible for the Look of Mickey Mouse early on. The reasons he went off on his own for this period did not seem to be about a problem with his friend Walt Disney, but rather exploring his creative impulses. There were a couple of early color cartoons and some of the background stuff stands out a bit more.


The Skeletons Dance was a great Black and White, I think that was still with the Disney group, but there were two follow ups with a character named Flip the Frog. They were both amusing but definitely a bit different. There was one sequence that the frog ends up with his pants around his ankles for a/big chunk of time. That seemed awkward. There were two Willie Whopper cartoons, a character I was not familiar with who tells tall tales. One was kinda dark about a trip to Hell and the Devil. So we got a little history lesson to start our day.