“Are you a typical American?”

Last weekend, I searched British TV in vain for a Humphrey Bogart film. I was simply in the mood, and was depressed when I couldn’t find one. Naturally, I informed (as one does nowadays) everyone on the planet who happened to be reading Twitter.

And a Twitter friend came to the rescue. He pointed out this is on YouTube. Here’s 1953’s Beat The Devil in its entirety:

It is in the public domain, so you may watch it guilt free. Bogart’s production company held the copyright, but allowed it to lapse. It’s his only film that’s outside copyright.

It may well be that the company did not care much about it. He himself was not fond of the film. It is nowhere near one of his best.

For some reason, its technical quality wasn’t great either. Looking past all that, it has its moments. Shot on location in Italy, it stars Bogart as “Billy Dannreuther” and Jennifer Jones as “Gwendolyn Chelm”:

“You know, I’ve seen Americans on the street, and in the cinema, of course, but I’ve never talked to one before. Are you a typical American? I think it’s important that I should know.”

Given Truman Capote wrote much of the screenplay, it’s no surprise it’s often witty.

Screen capture of Beat the Devil, with Bogart and Jennifer Jones.
Screen capture of Beat the Devil, with Bogart and Jennifer Jones.

The cast also includes Gina Lollobrigida in her first “widely seen” English language film. It has Peter Lorre – of Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon fame – as well.

Even an “indifferent” Bogart film is still a Bogart film. As you may know, I’m a fan. 🙂

Hope you’re having a good Sunday.


  1. Yes, great actor and sensitivity, but I was drawn to Jennifer Jones. Loved her in A Farewell to Arms and Love is a Many Splendored Thing.. Same birthdate as my ex-wife, which is why I love her, I suppose 😉

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