By Claud Cockburn
This can be the vintage '50s noir novel that introduced John Huston and Humphrey Bogart jointly for the final time in movie. released lower than the pseudonym James Helvick, this refined comedy-thriller used to be in truth the paintings of Claud Cockburn, whose early profession as a Communist agitator triggered his writer to call for a pseudonym within the McCarthy years. Beat the satan indicates how without difficulty Cockburn moved from agitprop to stylish and witty fiction. Alexander Cockburn's creation delves into the long-simmering debate over the genuine resource of the movie's most famed strains. was once it Truman Capote, Anthony Veiller and Peter Viertel, Robert Morley, or Claud Cockburn himself?
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Additional info for Beat the Devil (Counterpunch)
Dannreuther, looking magnificent. He said, "But who was she talking to? " "He's there too, somewhere. Her husband. " Chelm held out his closed hands to her, with a white pawn in one and a black pawn in the other. " "Good. I bet she'd exhaust you. She'd seize you and knock you about. " "They can't hear. There. " "Sorry. " His attention came back from a further squint in the direction of Mrs. Dannreuther and he looked at the board complacently. "She," said Gwendolen, "will be in her element in Africa.
I'm tired," she said. "I'm going over to the hotel. Don't drink too much coffee, Billy. Jack, watch Billy doesn't drink too much coffee. " Major Jack Ross achieved a tiny movement of his malarial face, giving the effect of this being the maximum that could be expected of a man sunk to the ears in a quagmire of tedium and indifference. Mrs. Dannreuther stretched slightly, looked down the room towards the Chelms' table, and went out. Dannreuther made a perfunctory gesture of farewell with one powerful hand, which he then dropped again upon the table and left lying there, as motionless as the Major, the two of them sitting in fossilized silence amid the noise of Brahms' Hungarian dances which the orchestra of the Universe and Madagascar had now got around to.
Though not an immediate success, the film of Beat the Devil has developed a cult following over the years, and in the US quite often bobs up on late night TV. One aspect of this cult caused some irritation to my father and indeed to the rest of the family. The film's credits announced the screenplay was by Truman Capote, from a novel by James Helvick. Admirers of the film professed to find evidence of Capote's mastery in every interstice of the dialogue and over the years Capote did nothing to dissuade them from this enthusiasm.