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The Devil and Daniel Webster [Masters of Cinema] [1941]


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Product Description

A morality tale for the ages, émigré Hollywood director William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (aka All That Money Can Buy) combines European expressionism with quintessential Americana. Based on a short story by celebrated author Stephen Vincent Benét, it offers a study in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in which patriotism is cast in dramatic conflict with servitude to greed and materialism. Echoing the German legend of Faust, down-on-his-luck farmer Jabez Stone (James Craig) makes an existential pact with the devil seven years of prosperity in return for his soul. When the devil incarnate Mr. Scratch (Walter Huston) comes a-calling, Stone begins to have second thoughts, enlisting famed orator and folk hero Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) to fight what becomes, for each of them, a case of life and death. The Devil and Daniel Webster was widely lauded on its release Bernard Hermann's score won an Oscar for Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture, while Huston was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and is still regarded as an American classic. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Dieterle's film for the very first time on home video in the UK. The DVD is released on 23 February 2009. -----SPECIAL EDITION including----- ---The director's cut (the film was severely shorn after its original release) ---Optimal digital transfer with restored image and sound ---Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing ---A lavish 60-page booklet with archival publicity stills; an essay by professor Tony Williams; an article by director William Dieterle; and a celebration of the film by author Stephen Vincent Benét, whose "The Devil and Daniel Webster" short story is reprinted in its entirety

William Dieterle adapts Stephen Vincent Benet's transformation of the Faust legend from the tale of an aging genius to that of struggling New Hampshire farmer Jabez Stone, played by James Craig. When Stone absently exclaims that he would sell his soul for a little money and a decent crop, up pops the Mephistophelean Mr. Scratch (Walter Huston). Thinking the whole thing a joke, Stone takes Scratch up on his offer of seven years of prosperity in return for his soul. As Stone's fortunes change and his coffers swell, so does his character. Ignoring his kind and patient wife, Mary (Anne Shirley), he takes a mistress, Belle (Simone Simon), builds her a mansion, and even allows her to raise his son. When Scratch comes to collect his debt, the terrified Stone realises his error and begs legendary New Hampshire lawyer and politician Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold) for help. THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER is a nearly perfect film, very well acted and directed, with an exceptional performance by Huston. Even better are the Oscar-winning score by Bernard Herrmann and the gorgeous black-and-white photography of Joseph August.

Rok vydania: 2009 Rozmer: neuvedený