The Devil & Daniel Webster (The Criterion Collection)
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To complement the cleverness of the film adaptation, this delightful DVD also includes a playfully expressive reading of Benet's original story by Alec Baldwin, and vintage radio performances of two of Benet's three "Daniel Webster" stories. The film and radio plays were scored by legendary composer Bernard Herrmann, whose Oscar®-winning film score is examined in an interactive essay by Herrmann expert Christopher Husted. Excerpts from an earlier preview version of the film (then titled Here Is a Man) reveal creepy, negative-image shock-shots of Mr. Scratch that were later removed, but they further demonstrate Dieterle's willingness to experiment. With additional essays and archival materials, Criterion's superb DVD shows how a great story can lend itself, with consistent success, to a variety of mediums. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
"The Devil & Daniel Webster" is simply put, a great film with an important moral. It is based on a short story of the same name by Stephen Vincent Benét.
It takes place near the state lines of Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the 1840's. Jabez Stone, a struggling and destitute farmer signs a contract with Satan, offering to give him his soul after 7 years of good fortune. He has money but is very unhappy with his predicament. When the devil comes to collect, Jabez calls on Daniel Webster to help him void the contract.
Daniel Webster was a real-life historical figure. He was secratary of State a few times and ran for president in 1836
I am reminded of Matthew 16:26
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" I could almost say that this could be a Christian film. It goes to show that one's soul is more important that their life.
The acting in the film is excellent and a great Oscar® winning musical score. The film also includes the classic folk tune "Devil's Dream" which is a longtime favorite of mine.
The film was remade in 2001 by Alec Baldwin but never released due to budget problems in post production. Quite a shame as a remake would be great for the times we are living in.
The DVD has an excellent assortment of special features also.
There is a recording of Alec Baldwin reading the original short story by Stephen Vincent Benét, production and publicity photos and ephemerma, A comparison between the two versions of the film, a presentation about the music in the film, audio commentary by Bruce Eder and Steven C.Read more ›
THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER is not a perfect film, but it is a fascinating one. I think the virtues win out over the vices, but the vices are apparent. First, it is an oddly paced film. Usually editors have to take much of the blame for the rhythm and pace of a film, and what is unusual in this film is that the editor was one of the most celebrated in film history, Robert Wise, later a prominent director and previously the editor of CITIZEN KANE.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie. Shows much truth in how people get tripped up and go down the wrong road.Published 15 days ago by Lyle Shaner
This is a classic and absolutely required viewing for cinematographers, novelists, or just anyone at a metaphysical crossroad.Published 1 month ago by Rick Bennett
This a fantastic movie. So many undertones. This movie will be picked relevant forever.Published 4 months ago by Martha Mellon
A classic, with fine performances by the leading characters and an excellent film score by Bernard Herrmann. I led me to reread the short story by S. V. Benet. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Freeman Gilbert
The Daniel & Daniel Webster movie has a lot of moral teachings.
I had seen it many years ago & was so happy to find it was offered on Amazon.com. Read more
I was in junior high when I first read Stephen Vincent Benet's THE DEVIL & DANIEL WEBSTER. It is one of a handful of stories that I have never forgotten. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Chip Kaufmann
The movie is based on the story of the same name by Steven Vincent Benet, and while I cannot claim that it depicts New Hampshire natives properly (I wouldn't know), it does... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Long Tom
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