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The Devil at 4 O'clock (1961)

Spencer Tracy , Frank Sinatra , Mervyn LeRoy  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, Kerwin Mathews, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Grégoire Aslan
  • Directors: Mervyn LeRoy
  • Writers: Liam O'Brien, Max Catto
  • Producers: Mervyn LeRoy, Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese (Unknown), English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 14, 2003
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007ELD2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,381 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Devil at 4 O'clock" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

A seaplane lands on the island of Talua to unload three criminals - including Harry (Academy Award(r)Winner Frank Sinatra, 1954 Best Actor in a Supporting Role, From Here to Eternity) - plus a young priest, Father Perreau (Kerwin Mathews), who has come to succeed aging, irascible Father Doonan (Academy Award(r) Winner Spencer Tracy, 1938 Best Actor in a Leading Role, Captains Courageous and 1939 Best Actor in a Leading Role, Boys Town). When an earthquake and volcanic eruption strike Talua, FatherDoonan persuades Harry to parachute with him into the mountains on a daring rescue to an isolated hospital. The party - mostly children - is menaced by landslides, forest fires, flowing lava and the near-collapse of a footbridge as they make their perilous way to safety. Tracy and Sinatra are in peak form as the unlikely heroes of this suspense-filled adventure.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starring The Volcano - Tracy, Sinatra supporting cast January 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This movie was one of the orginal "disaster films," originating the genre. Actually, only part of the film was shot on Maui (mostly around Lahaina and the Maui Needle). The rest was done with some amazing soundstages. The volcano (built in the middle of a pond in Fallbrook, California) provided stock footage for many films that came after, and you'll be amazed how realistic the earthquake shots look. All this with low-tech special effects!
If you are bored or unaffected by the actual movie, you're way too jaded to be watching this human drama of an alcoholic priest whose life and vocation have lost their meaning. Go watch a blockbuster disaster flick and root for the special effects. Yeah, it's a little hokily sentimental at times, but I've shown this one to friends who marvelled at what a great story of human experience it told, got a lump in their throats at the end, etc. Then they recommended it to their friends. (Admittedly, Sinatra is NOT at his best. However, Spencer Tracy and the rest of the cast carry the movie.)
(Yes, my father was the art director, which is how I know so much about the special effects and technical aspects, but it's still one of my all-time favorite films, even discounting that.)
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ERUPTING DRAMA June 22, 2004
I first saw this movie when I was ten years old, and of all the things that have stuck with me, the beautiful theme song by George Duning has haunted me since. The story of a disillusioned priest played by Spencer Tracy is an old one, but it is acted with such fervor, it remains powerful in its concept of God, faith and hope. Tracy is as always impeccable, but Frank Sinatra seems a little disinterested in his role. Kerwin Mathews previously known for his roles in the Ray Harryhausen movies (7th Voyage of Sinbad, 3 Worlds of Gulliver) brings his solemn and gentlemanly nature to the role of Father Perreau, the young priest who is scheduled to replace Tracy. Bernie Hamilton and Gregoire Aslan turn in delightful performances as the other two prisoners; Alexander Scourby makes a good island governor; Barbara Luna is beautiful as the blind Charisse; Cathy Lewis is memorable as Marguerite; Martin Brandt makes an impression as the atheist doctor who still admires Tracy; and Jean Pierre Aumont is good as the pilot.
Though slow in spots, the volcanic eruption explodes onto the screen and the escape scene is heartwarming and suspenseful.
A very good movie!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Synopsis: A small plane headed for Tahiti carrying three convicts makes a layover on a small, volcanic South Pacific Island named Kalaua. The local Catholic priest Father Doonan (Spencer Tracy) convinces the local authorities to allow him to borrow the incarcerated trio to help with repairs at a secluded hospital for lepers during their stay. When the volcano begins to awaken the island residents are forced to evacuate Father Doonan and the convicts are the only ones brave enough to attempt a rescue of the lepers and hospital staff. Will they be able to escape the dangerous eruptions and lava and get to the docks before the schooner leaves at four o'clock? Only God knows.

Critique: The '61 film `Devil At 4 O'Clock' is one of the lesser classics of the early `60's. Spencer Tracy delivers one of his usual strong performances as the ill-tempered, disillusioned Catholic priest and Frank Sinatra rises to the occasion with one of his best on-screen performances as the hard-nosed convict Harry.

This is a surprisingly good film; the cast is superior, the dialogue intelligent and believable, the scenery breathtaking, the soundtrack memorable and the volcano magnificent. If that's not enough the film also co-stars the beautiful Barbara Luna in the role of Camille, unquestionably one of the most beautiful Hispanic actresses to ever grace the silver screen.

Footnote: Here's a little something that might be of interest to all you trivia collectors out there. Take note of the first couple of minutes of the film when the plane comes in for a landing. Did you catch the island boy running into Father Duggin's office shouting "the plane, the plane!" Now you know where little Tattoo from the popular late 70's television series `Fantasy Island' got that phrase.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Disaster films can be great fun--they can also live up to their title... Disaster films also have a tendency to be very formulated and very clichéd... To see a disaster film with actual originality, or at least a decent plot twist, would definitely be a welcome surprise...

'The Devil at 4 O'Clock' takes place before the actual eruption... There is enough tension in the air to keep the audience interested... The film opens with a small plane bound for Tahiti, stopping for the night at the small French island of Kalua, where the Governor is notifying the authorities of a disturbance at the mouth of the island volcano...

The passengers are three chained convicts--Harry, Mareel, and Charlie-- and Father Perreau (Kerwin Mathews), who has come to replace Father Doonan... The Governor releases the three convicts into Father Doonan's charge, and they are sent to repair the chapel at a children's leper hospital...

When Father Doonan prepares to leave Kalua, the volcano erupts and an earthquake rocks the island... So he enlists the convicts' aid, promising to speak up for commuting their sentences if they will help him evacuate the hospital and rescue the children...

Spencer Tracy is very well suited to the movie and gives the boost it needs to be a successful action film... He does a great job in the leading man role as the strong, determined priest trapped with the outgoing tide that following afternoon...

Frank Sinatra backs up the legendary actor as the brave Harry who brings the children safely to the waiting schooner, bids his new bride farewell, and returns to meet the devil at 4 o'clock...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's in the Blue Screen
Only one thing keeps this digitally remastered classic film dvd from getting 5 stars from me, and that is that the quality of the picture is so good, you can clearly see the... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Imjusta Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see. Spenser Tracy is superb, with ...
A must see. Spenser Tracy is superb, with a strong supporting cast. Saw this many years ago and have found that it's aged well.
Published 2 months ago by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good classic
Published 2 months ago by Alfredo Perez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An old favorite
Published 2 months ago by Hans Capino
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
New to me.
Published 2 months ago by Grizzly Bunyan
5.0 out of 5 stars ( All the good guys are killed ) a very good film if ...
The Devil at 4 O'clock When their island home is endangered by a volcanic eruption a priest (Spencer Tracy) seek the aid of a group of convicts headed by (Frank Sinatra) to rescue... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard A Weddle
4.0 out of 5 stars How the people like the priest, the prisoners and the isolated lepers...
This movie is about a priest with 3 prisoners. They are sent to the island Talua to raise up a church at the isolated village close to the volcano mountain and where these people... Read more
Published 3 months ago by They Wijnands
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story played by a cast of talented actors
A good story played by a cast of talented actors. This is a flick you will pull off the shelf and watch several times. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Fred Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching
Love these old movies and this is really a great movie. You want to know why old movies are really the best made movies what this movie.
Published 3 months ago by Dream_Catcher_male
4.0 out of 5 stars a marvelous story
I've been looking for a,copy of this movie for years.....I was so happy to finally find it....a great story of sin& redemption, set against a beautiful tropical... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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