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Devil's Disciple [VHS]
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Top Customer Reviews
Bourgoyne's plan, while elegant on paper did not reflect the logistical reality as far as 18th century armies were concerned. The events were to show that great miscalculations were made. The movie is based losely on the campaign. The towns and locales shown, as well as the characters of Lancaster and Douglas are purely fictional. But the clever plot and role reversal, plus the way these characters evolve in response to events illustrates how the Revolution must have seemed to many not directly involved in it.
The British were fighting a war for the hearts and minds of the Americans (sounds familar in Iraq now). The movie shows this quite well. While a little slow in the beginning, this short film quickly gains speed while its trio of lengendary actors unfold their magic on screen.Read more ›
As for the plot many people seem to make the mistake of thinking of this as a revolutionary war movie, that is a very simple conclusion. This movie isn't so much about the revolution as it is about people serving their own ends. The writing and dircecting makes its points with the help of all the characters. You'll use more gray matter than you expected on this picture, but it will be well used
The film deals with the American Revolutionary War, but, ironically, was shot in England and, with the exception of its two American stars (Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas) boasts a totally British cast.
Lancaster plays Reverend Anthony Anderson, the staid clergyman of a small New England village, who eventually finds his true calling as a leader in the militia to drive out the British, while Douglas is Richard Dudgeon, the dashing rogue who turns “hero” in an attempt to save Anderson from the hangman. Both Burt and Kirk acquit themselves well, delivering performances not unlike those found in their earlier pairing, GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL.
Stealing the acting honors, not surprisingly, is Laurence Olivier, cast in the play’s juiciest role of General Burgoyne. His subtlety and low-key delivery allows him to command every scene in which he appears, in particular the trial of Douglas’ Richard Dudgeon character.
Harry Andrews, Janette Scott, Eva Le Gallienne, Basil Sydney and Mervyn Johns are also in the excellent cast, which was directed by Guy Hamilton.
Bottom line: The movie may not satisfy Shaw purists, but if you are a fan of Lancaster, Douglas and, especially, Laurence Olivier, you will enjoy this romp.
The Blu-ray from Kino Lorber has a sharp black-and-white image with good sound.
© Michael B. Druxman
Shaw was an Irishman (many people mistakenly believe he was English) and a giant of the 19th and early 20th centuries. He received the Nobel Prize for literature (1925). "The Devil's Disciple" was his 10th play and the only play set in the US. Shaw was a socialist and a prominent member of the Fabian Society (named after Roman General Quintus Fabius Maximus whose nickname was "the Delayer" for his strategy in defeating Hannibal). Amongst his many philosophical positions, he was opposed to revolutionary changes, so his play about the American Revolution can be understood in this light. This was his opportunity to tweak the noses of both the Americans and the English.
In 1959, both Lancaster and Douglas were at the peak of their popularity. Lancaster was nominated for an Oscar in 1953 for "From Here to Eternity" (1953) and would be nominated 3 more times and win for "Elmer Gantry" (1960). He was nominated for a Golden Globe 5 times, starting in 1956 ("The Rainmaker") and including "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962) and "Atlantic City" (1980). Lancaster started in films at the age of 32 in "The Killers" (1946) and was an instant success.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the best movie Lancaster and Douglas made together. The next best is "Tough Guys". I love them both!Published 2 days ago by Rose
Wow, how sad American studios have lost the touch for making such truly satisfying, well executed movies. Great plot, acting production values and direction. Read morePublished 24 days ago by MattyMatt
Not worth watching. I was not able to return it before the time expired. A lot of you out there really like the actors involved in this movie so I won't insult your taste by... Read morePublished 2 months ago by cheryl cook
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