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The devil and daniel webster text


the devil and daniel webster text

The Devil and Daniel Webster: Folk Opera in One Act. [ New York): Phoenix Final Quartet Genre: Excerpt from an opera Text: Stephen Vincent Benét. Free Essay: “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster” are both brilliant however, there are numerous differences within the text. A nineteenth-century New Hampshire farmer makes a pact with Satan for economic success, then enlists famed orator Daniel Webster to extract him from his.
the devil and daniel webster text

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Description

Having promised his soul to the Devil in exchange for good fortune, Jabez Stone asks the talented lawyer Daniel Webster to get him out of the bargain.
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    The Devil And Daniel Webster Analysis

    794 Words4 Pages

    “The Devil and Tom Walker” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster”-- these Faust legends tell stories of ordinary men with thirsts for wealth and luck only in exchange for their very souls. Both were written in different time periods, where certain events and happenings influenced each of the stories and their conflicts. Washington Irving wrote “The Devil and Tom Walker” during a time of economic boom (1824). Stephen Vincent Benet wrote “The Devil and Daniel Webster” during a time of economic depression (1937). Despite the stories’ titles, both have different resolutions, depictions of the devil, and saving graces in the end. At first glance, one may think the resolutions of the stories would be exactly the same, but they actually are not. In “The Devil and Tom Walker”, the main character, Tom Walker, makes a deal with the devil in order to become wealthy. The devil comes to Tom Walker when their deal comes to a close, and Tom runs away from all of his wealthy gains and problems, losing everything. In “The Devil and Daniel Webster”, the main character, Jabez Stone, also makes a deal with the devil in order to become prosperous and lucky, but his luck eventually runs out and the devil comes for him. Jabez Stone, however, does not get taken by the devil and is saved by his neighbor, Daniel Webster, who makes sure the devil…show more content…
    Each story is unique with their own resolutions and the different portrayal of the devil depictions. The religious influences as well as the “opening of eyes or saving graces” were equally influential to the plot lines. Both pieces of literature describe the struggles of the human need for wealth and what one will do to get it. Although both stories were written in complete different centuries and economic times, both lead to the problems of what the desire for greed and wealth can

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    Источник: https://www.ipl.org/essay/The-Devil-And-Daniel-Webster-Analysis-FKUN4LNPJ4DR
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The Devil and Daniel Websteris an excellent upgrading of the original Fausttext and one which certainly in the short story brings some relevant themes to the front stage. The fact that these issues were portrayed to some degree, albeit somewhat toned down, in a film from 1941 is a rarity indeed.

There's decent production values in the sets used and some of the special effects implemented and for viewers from that time it must have been enjoyable to see axes in mid air burst into flame at the behest of the devil himself. The actors are good if somewhat over exaggerated by today's standards but that simply makes it a product of its time and nothing to really complain about.



The video and audio have seen better days but they have been cleaned as well as can be expected. As a set I feel it is a must have purchase; not only for the highly enjoyable film itself but also because of that informative booklet which Eureka have pulled together and inserted. As such I yet again suggest you make a purchase from Eureka's catalogue and am more than happy to make that recommendation.

find number location wealth. On Jabez’s wedding day, the devil comes to collect his due, but Webster, a guest at the wedding, insists on a trial to try to nullify the deal.

One of the script’s greatest suntrust personal banker salary is in only telling us, not showing us, what a brilliant orator and, indeed, a great man Webster was. Within Orange Curtain’s tight yet pleasant confines, director Bob May’s staging compounds the text’s weaknesses. While even stellar acting could only take the script so far, the thespian skills of May’s cast are uneven at best, leading to equally uneven pacing.

Ruth Kurisu and Sheila Freudenberger’s costume designs are attractive, creating the proper mid-19th-century New England look for the production. Though Steph N. Davis’ sound scheme is effective, musical underscoring could have created added tension, while his lighting design fails to cover crucial corners of the stage.

Tall, distinguished-looking Michael balances Webster’s regal bearing and quiet confidence with a wry and dry sense of humor. The only glitch is his dialect, suggesting Dixie more than Down East.

With his oily voice and smooth manner, David Araujo’s Scratch (the devil) is merely a dandy clad in black (with blazing red vest, natch), scarcely the imposing (or frightening) figure he’s intended as. Corcoran’s Jabez is more whiny than sympathetic. As his new bride, Mary, Shannon Flynn is more low key than Corcoran and thus more credible.

Like Scratch, there’s little terrifying about the dozen “dead sinners” resurrected from colonial America’s past to serve as jury in the devil’s case against Jabez. The outcome of Jabez’s trial can hardly be termed suspenseful or dramatic. Like the play as a whole, it would take audacious and brilliant acting and direction to juice things up to the point where viewers over age 10 could find it of interest.

Contact the writer: Freelance writer Eric Marchese has covered entertainment for the Register since 1984. [email protected]

Источник: https://www.ocregister.com/2006/10/11/theater-the-devil-and-daniel-webster/

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

One of the great oddities of Hollywood finally returns in definitive form. The Devil and Daniel Webster is a great picture with a primitive Americana feel, some unforgettable performances and one of The devil and daniel webster text Herrmann's best music scores. When Criterion released a laser disc in the early 90s, it added scenes chopped when the movie lost two reels' worth of footage for reissues. But only now is the entire show, original titled All That Money Can Buy, completely reconstructed.

It's a supernatural Faust tale from Stephen Vincent Benet that sets solid New England values nhl san jose sharks the forces of darkness as represented by perhaps the most entertaining Devil ever in a movie. The script is literate, but in this long version dawdles a bit in some scenes and takes too long to get the story rolling . we can see why RKO wanted it cut.

1941 was the year of Art at RKO, and like Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster opens with odd 'collaborative' titles. To some the film may look crude; it has the kind christopher and banks petites rustic directness we associate with Griffith-like Americana direction in films like Night of the Hunter. Wide masters collide with giant closeups and frequent odd angles. Many scenes are shot against artificial backdrops. There's a graphic clarity which seems to come from painting tradition.

There are also plenty of new-fangled cinematic devices. In this long version, the pace pauses for a slow series of dissolves in the sequence where Jabez' wheat grows and matures. Jabez already embraced his wife, talking about 'growing things', and the final shot of a vast field of wheat slowly dissolves to Mary Stone lying on her bed, now pregnant. It's a great evocation of sex, Old Americana-style. The Earth is the highest value in this agrarian society, and by associating Mary with the fecund fields, it's as if she underwent some kind of immaculate conception.

Other semi-experimental scenes abound. The introduction of Mr. Scratch and his minion Belle are heralded by gloriously overdone backlit angles, with creepy celestial chime music. The first cut of the film included several inserts, giant closeups of Scratch laughing at Jabez's misfortunes - the devil and daniel webster text negative. It's easy to see where these didn't work and and came off as a mistake. Somebody was thinking too much in the direction of French avant-garde work of the 20s!

James Craig is not a great actor, and either his enthusiastic cluelessness or the script itself keep us from sympathizing with him. He's a jerk after his deal with the devil, but also a bitter whiner before, the kind of fool that purposely gets reckless with his most desperately needed possession (the wheat seed) just so he can throw his hands up in guiltless defeat after he spills it.

The devil and daniel webster text weakest (and perhaps most politically controversial) thing in The Devil and Daniel Webster is the constant touting of the formation of Granges as the solution to the agrarian economic mess. A Grange is essentially an agricultural commune where the related farmers of a region share the risk and the reward of their labors so as not to be victimized by outside economic interests. I can't see conservatives of 1941 going for this kind of sentiment, not one bit. Unfortunately, The Devil and Daniel Webster implies that only by joining the Grange can Jabez have friends . if he'd become prosperous without the Devil's help, we'd think Ma's disapproval, Mary's fear, and his neighbors' envy might have been exactly the same.

Fortunately, Jabez' wife Mary is very strong in her role. Anne Shirley comes off as a less bright but equally virtuous Olivia De Havilland. She's backed up by Jane Darwell, who after her great role in The Grapes of Wrath is a bit too-easily cast as The Salt of Wisdom.

The powerhouse roles belong to Edward Arnold and Walter Huston. After twice assaying a straw-dog villain for Frank Capra, Arnold gets back to a more balanced role worthy of his talent, and reminiscent of his great work in Come and Get It. Daniel Webster is a man of the people, a noble politician who champions agrarian reform and the rights of working farmers. He knows most of his constituents by name and takes a personal interest in Jabez Stone's plight. The original story may have been concocted to explain why this American never became President . Lucifer's personal vengeance. In his liner notes, Tom Piazza offers that the real Webster didn't fulfill earlier hopes of greatness, once he became embroiled in Washington politics. For instance, he came down firmly on the wrong side of most slavery issues during the years that formed the Civil War.

Walter Huston's Mr. Scratch is of course the popular favorite, and he takes the cake (or the pie) with this movie. Never was an actor more felicitously appropriate to the role, as they say. If son John was a mischievous joker, old Walter was mischief incarnate, a cox login pay bill, grinning instigator of everything evil. The dialogue isn't as thick as Damn Yankees (hey, where's a special edition of that?), but Mr. Scratch gets in plenty of verbal licks on the subject of his influence - he says he's on both sides of elections, for instance. He already possesses the sickly Miser Stevens (John Qualen) and finds it easy to snare the doltish Jabez. The RKO special effects department backs him up with clever optical tricks with fire. He carves an indelible date into a tree with his cigar, a very nice touch. And a great effect occurs when Jabez tries to murder Mr. Scratch with a thrown axe - it freezes and is incinerated in mid-air.

Huston's Scratch is no dark brooder or threatening arm-twister, but the life of the party. The perfect devil for the stix, he finds his influence in barrooms and by instigating discord at group meetings. He also beats the drum in the band; surely this Mr. Scratch would be a patriotic War booster. His huge grin and laughing eyes mock all around him, even as he feigns concern.

And then there's the triumphant final shot where he checks the audience for possible new 'clients'. Anybody who ever went to Sunday School can feel uneasy when he finally finds 'us' and points his finger. He looks like Uncle Sam's evil brother. The lame ad campaigns for the film tried to hide its period setting and played up the beauty of Simone Simon, when they should have been one-sheets with just Huston's grinning face, pointing at us: "I want YOU for the fires of Hades!"

Simone Simon had previously been a star in France, making several Jean Renoir movies as a temptress ruining good men. Here she does more of the same on an ethereal level, effortlessly captivating Jabez Stone, belittling his faithful wife and encouraging him to spoil his brat of a son. She's foreign, even though she says she 'doesn't come from anywhere', a lamia from 'over the mountain'. To people tied to the land and their little communities, 'over the mountain' makes sense as a place where damned souls dwell. RKO lost interest in her, but she captivated new producer Val Lewton so thoroughly he brought her back to do three films including her great The Cat People. Compared to the prim Anne Shirley Simone looks downright perverse, with a twinkle in her eye and a slightly curled lip. Anyone who has been chilled by the bizarre smirk on the face of Sybille Schmitz in Dreyer's Vampyr will know the slight hint of the uncanny in Simon's face. Even when she plays virtuous innocents (I've only seen one such show, Lewton's Mademoiselle Fifi) there's something in her face that would have no problem tearing a man's heart up before his very eyes.

The Devil and Daniel Webster concludes with a trial by a jury of the Damned, and Arnold gets his big patriotic speech to defend the rather guilty Jabez Stone. It's basically a politician making a speech about Good and Evil, and is ironic because we usually think of elected officials as the first to go selling their souls to Mr. Scratch. Thanks partly to the wisdom of this film, whenever public speakers insult us by employing absolute concepts like Good and Evil, Freedom and Democracy, I tend to associate them with deals with the devil.

(spoiler)

When Mr. Scratch loses and tries to be magnanimous, he gets a firm kick in the pants for an exit. But The Devil and Daniel Webster doesn't let us off the hook, as he's still around. Old Ma fools Scratch by baking a decoy pie to keep him from ruining a feast, but there's no getting rid of Evil. Mr. Scratch solana dataplus service log the battle, but he's still in fine form.


Criterion's DVD of The Devil and Daniel Webster does a service to aesthetic history by restoring the long cut of this Americana Favorite for the first time. Visually, the print is variable but good all the way through. I'd have to say that the soundtrack is far from optimal however, obviously due to the disparate sources used to patch back together the story of Mr. Scratch. Some of the dialogue gets pretty weak, only to be followed by very loud stretches of music. The score also suffers some, losing a lot of detail. The rerecordings of this music are recommended on CD; it's a score as bombastic and subtle as Citizen Kane.

The extras are exemplary, once again. Bruce Eder's commentary straightens out the info about versions and how the film came to be mangled. There's a Tom Piazza essay that rightly nails the horror visions of this film to the mini-masterpiece by Herk Harvey, Carnival of Mibank hibiscus card. The insert also has an article with Stephen Vincent Benet's first reactions to the film of his story, which is recited in another extra by Alec Baldwin. A comparison section shows the jarring negative-image closeups of Mr. Scratch used in the preview version called Here is a Man. Radio shows from the 30s dramatize two follow-up Daniel Webster tales, both of which have music by Bernard Herrmann. Christopher Husted examines the Herrmann music score in a separate extra. Plus galleries of behind-the-scenes photos and ad materials.


On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,rates:
Movie: Excellent
Video: Excellent
Sound: Excellent
Supplements: Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder and author Steven C. Smith, video comparison between The Devil and Daniel Webster and William Deterle's preview Version of the film, radio dramatizations of Stephen Vincent Benet's stories with music by Bernard Herrmann, gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional materials, essay by author Tom Piazza.
Packaging: Keep case
Reviewed: September 27, 2003

Источник: https://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s987devil.html

The Devil and Daniel Webster

1936 short story by Stephen Vincent Benét

This article is about the short story. For other uses, see The Devil and Daniel Webster (disambiguation).

"The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1936) is a short story by American writer Stephen The devil and daniel webster text Benét. He tells of a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil and is later defended by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the noted 19th-century American statesman, lawyer and orator. Gamestop comenity card login narrative refers to factual events in the lives of Webster and his family.

The story appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (October 24, 1936) and was published in book form by Farrar & Rinehart the following year. The story won the O. Henry Award. The author also adapted it in 1938 as a folk opera, with music by Douglas Stuart Moore, a fellow Yale University alumnus.

Plot summary[edit]

Webster argues while the devilwhispers in the judge's ear.

Farmer Jabez Stone, from the small town of Cross Corners, Keep america great again Hampshire, is plagued with unending bad luck. He finally says, "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!" The next day he is visited by a stranger, identified as "Mr. Scratch", who offers to give him seven years of prosperity for his soul. Stone agrees.

Mr. Scratch comes for Stone's soul at the appointed time, and Stone bargains for more years. After that Scratch refuses an extension. Stone hires noted lawyer and orator Daniel Webster to get him out of the deal.

At midnight of the appointed date, Mr. Scratch and Webster begin their legal argument. It goes poorly for Webster, since Stone's signature and the contract are clear, and Mr. Scratch will not compromise.

Webster says, "Mr. Stone is an American citizen, and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince. We fought England for that in '12 and we'll fight all hell for it again!" To this Mr. Scratch insists on his own citizenship, citing his presence at the worst events in the history of the U.S., concluding, "though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours."

Webster demands a trial as the right of every American. Mr. Scratch agrees after Webster says that he can select the judge and jury, "so long as it is an American judge and an American jury." A jury of the damned enters, "with the fires of hell still upon them." They had all done evil, and had all played a part in the formation of the United States:

After five other unnamed jurors enter bankofamerica customer service hours Arnold being out "on other business"), the judge enters last. It is John Hathorne, who presided at the Salem witch trials.

The trial is rigged against Webster. He is outraged but calms himself, thinking "for it was him they'd come for, not only Jabez Stone."

Webster starts to orate on simple and good things – "the freshness of a fine morning.the taste of food when you're hungry.the new the devil and daniel webster text that's every day when you're a child" – and how "without freedom, they sickened." He speaks passionately of how first convenience bank hours on saturday it is to be human and to be an American. He admits the wrongs done in the course of American history but points out that something new and good had grown from them and that "everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors." Humankind "got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it was a great journey," something "no demon that was the devil and daniel webster text foaled" could ever understand.

The jury announces its verdict: "We find for the defendant, Jabez Stone." They admit, "Perhaps 'tis not strictly in accordance with the evidence,[2] but even the damned may salute the eloquence of Mr. Webster." The judge and jury disappear with the break of dawn. Mr. Scratch congratulates Webster, and the contract is torn up. The devil has overreached himself, agreeing to a jury trial out of pride in his unbreakable contract. But by doing so, he has put his contract within the reach of the Common Law used in America, under which a jury can enter whatever verdict it likes, regardless of the law. Webster's eloquence in swaying this supposedly unswayable jury is remarkable, but would have gone to no effect without the devil's pride-induced mistake in giving Webster a chance.

Webster then grabs the stranger and twists his arm behind his back, "for he knew that harrisbank com you bested anybody like Mr. Scratch in fair fight, his power on you was gone." Webster makes him agree "never to bother Jabez Stone nor his heirs or assigns nor any other New Hampshire man till doomsday!"

Mr. Scratch offers to tell Webster's fortune in his palm. He foretells (actual) events in Webster's future, including his failure to become President (an actual ambition of his), the death of Webster's sons (which happened in the American Civil War) and the backlash of his last speech, warning "Some will call you Ichabod" (as in John Greenleaf Whittier's poem in reaction to Webster's controversial Seventh of March speech supporting the Compromise of 1850 that incorporated the Fugitive Slave Act, with many in the North calling Webster a traitor).

Webster asks only if the Union will prevail. Scratch admits that the United States will remain united after the war. Webster then laughs, ". and with that he drew back his foot for a kick that would have stunned a horse. It was only the tip of his shoe that caught the stranger, but he went flying out of the door with his collecting box under his arm . And he hasn't been seen in the state of New Hampshire from that day to this. I'm not talking about Massachusetts or Vermont."

Major themes[edit]

Patriotism[edit]

Patriotism is a main theme in the story: Webster claims that the Devil cannot take the soul because he cannot claim American citizenship. "And who with better right?" the devil replies, going on to list several wrongs done in the U.S., thereby demonstrating his presence in the U.S. The devil says "I am merely an honest American like yourself — and of the best descent — for, to tell the truth, Mr. Webster, though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours."

Webster insists on a jury trial as an American right, with Americans for the jury and an American judge. The devil then provides the worst from Webster's perspective (and certainly, they are in Hell) examples of Americans for the judge and jury. In Daniel's speech "He was talking about the things that make a country a country, and a man a man" rather than legal points of the case. For Webster, freedom and independence defines manhood: "Yes, even in hell, if a man was a man, you'd know it."

This theme of American patriotism, freedom and independence is the explanation for Webster's victory: the jury is damned to hell, but they are American and therefore so independent that they can resist the devil.[citation needed] However, in reality many of the jury would not have classed themselves as Americans, as Governor Dale, Morton, Hathorne, and Blackbeard were English, and King Phillip was a Wampanoag. Butler and Girty would have called themselves Americans – and indeed were Americans – but they were Loyalists, and Webster might not have intended any but U.S. citizens. Classifying the jurors as "Americans" involves a wider definition, including all who had a part in its history – even those who lived and died as English subjects before 1775, the Loyalists who actively opposed the creation of the U.S., and those Indians (like King Philip) who interacted with the new civilization. Scratch underlines this definition by saying of the jury "Americans all".

Slavery[edit]

In his speech, Webster denounces slavery. Earlier, he states flatly "A man is not a piece of property." Later, there is this description "And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell." Benét acknowledges the evil by having the devil say: "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on her deck." As for Webster, "He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors."

The real Daniel Webster was willing to compromise on slavery in favor of keeping the Union together, disappointing some radical abolitionists, but he held that only the preservation of the Union could keep anti-slavery forces active in the slave areas. This desire to end the institution was a mainspring of his support for the Union.

Treatment of aboriginal Americans[edit]

The story may be seen as ambivalent on the treatment of the aboriginal Americans. Webster states "If two New Hampshiremen aren't a match for the devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians." However, the stranger/Satan remarks that "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there", which implies the author's acknowledgement that aboriginal Americans were sometimes wronged. "King Philip, wild and proud as he had been in life, with the great gash in his head that gave him his death wound" is noted as a notorious villain of American history (the historical King Philip (Metacomet), died from a gunshot to the heart, not the devil and daniel webster text gash to the head).

Yet later on, Daniel Webster's appeal to the jury on "what it means to be American" specifically includes King Philip among "the Americans". This is an anachronism, as the historical Daniel Webster would have been unlikely to express such an opinion. The narrator also expresses sympathy for King Philip when he tells us that one juror "heard the cry of his lost nation" in Webster's eloquent appeal.

These ambiguities probably reflect ambivalent perceptions of this aspect of American history in the 20th century at the time of writing, gpa requirements for south carolina state university than at the time when the story is supposed to take place.[citation needed]

The devil[edit]

The devil is portrayed as polite and refined. When the devil arrives he is described as "a soft-spoken, dark-dressed stranger," who "drove up in a handsome buggy." The names Benét gives the devil—Mr. Scratch or the stranger—were both used around New England and other parts of the pre-Civil War United States: "Perhaps Scratch will do for the evening. I'm often called that in these regions." These terms are taken primarily from "The Devil and Tom Walker" (1824) by Washington Irving, who usually calls the devil Old Scratch.

Adaptations[edit]

Screen[edit]

Two film adaptations have been made:

An Academy Award-winning 1941 film first released under the title All That Money Can Buy, starring Edward Arnold as Daniel, Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch, James Craig as Jabez Stone, and Simone Simon as Belle.

Shortcut to Happiness, is a modernized version set in the publishing world, starring Anthony Hopkins as a publisher named Daniel Webster, Alec Baldwin as a best-selling but terrible author named Jabez Stone, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a female version of the devil. This most recent version was made in 2001, but never had a wide theatrical release.

An animated television film loosely based on the story, The Devil and Daniel Mouse, was released in 1978.

Phil Reisman, The devil and daniel webster text. adapted the story for a live television performance of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" on Breck Sunday Showcase (NBC, Feb 14, 1960, 60 min), starring Edward G. Robinson (Daniel Webster), David Wayne (Mr. Scratch), and Tim O'Connor (Jabez Stone). A color videorecording of the production aired two years later on Breck Golden Showcase (CBS, Apr 30, 1962).[3]

Radio[edit]

Each of these adaptations used the original story title, unless otherwise indicated:

Charles R. Jackson's adaptation aired on Columbia Workshop (CBS, Aug. 6, 1938, 30 min), with music by Bernard Herrmann.

Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, and James Craig reprised their 1941 film roles in the "All That Money Can Buy" episode of Cavalcade of America (NBC Red Network, Oct. 20, 1941, 30 min). Howard Teichmann and Robert L. Richards abridged and adapted the screenplay.

Jean Holloway's adaptation aired on Hallmark Playhouse (CBS, June 10, 1948, 30 min); cast: John McIntire (Daniel Webster), Alan Reed (Mr. Scratch), Frank Goss (Jabez Stone).

Edward Mrs america fx trailer again played Daniel Webster for The Prudential Family Hour of Stars (CBS, Sept. 18, 1949, what is the routing number for renasant bank min).

Walter Huston again reprised his 1941 film role in the "All That Money Can Buy" episode of Theatre Guild on the Air (NBC, April 30, 1950, 60 min); Cornel Wilde and Martha Scott co-starred.

Stage[edit]

Benét adapted his story as a play, The Devil and Daniel Webster: A Play in One Act (New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1938), and also as a folk opera, The Devil and Daniel Webster: An Opera in One Act (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939), music by Douglas Moore (Moore and Benét had earlier collaborated on an operetta, The Headless Horseman [1937], based on Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" [1820]).

Archibald MacLeish, a friend and associate of Benét's in the 1930s and until his death in 1943, also adapted the story as a play: Scratch (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971). On Broadway very briefly, Scratch starred Will Geer in the title role and Patrick Magee as Webster. Originally conceived as a musical collaboration with Bob Dylan, the collaboration fell apart due to creative differences between Dylan and MacLeish. The show opened at Broadway's St. James Theater on May 6, 1971, and closed two days later.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In Treehouse of Horror IV of The Simpsons in "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Homer Simpson announces he would sell his soul for a doughnut, and the devil, who resembles Ned Flanders, appears to make a deal with Homer. Homer tries to outsmart the devil by not finishing the doughnut, but eventually eats it and is sent to Hell; there he is "tormented" by being forced to eat thousands of doughnuts, an ironic punishment that backfires when he gleefully eats them without any sign of pain. A trial is held between Homer and the devil to determine the rightful owner of Homer's soul. Marge Simpson saves Homer's soul in a dramatic twist, when she reveals that Homer gave her ownership of his soul, meaning that it was not in his possession when the deal was made.[5][6]
  • In an episode of the television show The Monkees, this story was also presented in "The Devil and Peter Tork", wherein Peter finds a beautiful harp in a pawn shop run by Mr. Zero and says that he would give anything for it. Mr. Zero then has Peter sign a contract which condemns him by promising his soul to Mr. Zero. The boys become an overnight success after adding the harp to their act. They learn what has happened when Mr. Zero comes to collect Peter's soul and Mike argues that they will take it to court to fight the contract. The jury consists of 12 condemned men from Devil's Island and Judge Roy Bean, the hanging judge, presides over the trial. After Atilla the Hun, Billy the Kid, and Blackbeard all testify to what Mr. Zero has done for their careers, Mike calls Mr. Zero to the stand and tells him that he did not give Peter the ability to play the harp and that it was within Peter the whole time due to his love for the harp. He then convinces Peter to prove it to Mr. Zero and everyone in the courtroom by playing the harp after Mr. Zero takes away the power. Peter then plays a beautiful rendition of the Monkees' song "I Wanna Be Free", he is found not guilty and the case is dismissed. Peter is set free and Mr. Zero snaps his fingers and returns to Hell.
  • Nelvana created an animated television special called The Devil and Daniel Mouse based on the story. In the program, Daniel Mouse is a musician whose partner, Jan, sells her soul to the devil in exchange for fame.
  • Two Chick Publications tracts, The Contract![7] and It's A Deal,[8] borrow heavily from the story. The Contract! follows the original plot more closely (telling of a bankrupt farmer facing eviction), while It's a Deal is a Chick tract rewritten for the African-American community and features a young basketball player.
  • In his court order rejecting plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the lawsuit United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971), Judge Gerald J. Weber cited this story as the sole, though "unofficial", precedent touching on the jurisdiction of United States courts over Satan.
  • In the 1995 Tiny Toon Adventures TV special, Night Ghoulery, this story is parodied in the segment "The Devil and Daniel Webfoot".
  • In the Supernatural episode "Captives", it is revealed that Crowley, the de facto king of Hell, rented several storage units under the alias "D. Webster" as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the short story.[9]
  • In Tripping the Rift, Season 1 Episode 5, the story is parodied under the title of "The Devil and a Guy Named Webster". When the lead character accidentally sells his soul to the devil, the crew then travel back in time to find Webster, but dial the wrong time zone and get a child actor who played a character called Webster.[10]
  • In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Season 1 Episode 3, a lawyer named Daniel Webster represents Sabrina in a trial plot loosely resembling the short story.[11]

[edit]

  1. ^Anderson, Charles R. Puzzles and Essays from"The Exchange" - Trick Reference Questions, p. 122: "In 'The Devil and Daniel Webster' by Stephen Vincent Benét, there is a character named the Reverend John Smeet. Was this a real person? Note: In a 1960 letter to the New York Times Book Review, Mrs. Stephen Vincent Benét said that Smeet was entirely imaginary.
  2. ^A point sometimes not known or appreciated by the reader is that, by agreeing to a jury trial under common law, Mr. Scratch has also agreed to be bound by the rule that a jury is the exclusive judge of both the facts and the law; as such, even in the face of overwhelming evidence favoring the plaintiff (such as the contract Mr. Scratch had with Stone) the jury could find for the defendant, acting as a sort of local law-making body with the power to suspend the law in this case (this can only be done for acquittals; convictions must phone number santander customer service done strictly according to the law and the evidence). Webster, as an experienced lawyer, would know that; presumably Mr. Scratch would have known that as well, but was confident that his hand-picked jury would do his bidding.
  3. ^"CTVA US Anthology - "Sunday Showcase" (NBC)(1959-60)". CTVA - The Classic TV Archive. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  4. ^Langer, Adam (2 November 2020). "Bob Dylan's First Musical Had a Devil of a Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  5. ^"Simpsons scripts: Treehouse of Horror IV (1F04) — Simpsons Crazy". Simpsoncrazy.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  6. ^"Watch The Simpsons Season 5 Episode 5 - Treehouse of Horror IV full episodes cartoon online". Watchcartoonsonline.eu. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  7. ^Chick, J.T. (2004). The Contract!, Chick.com
  8. ^Chick, J.T. (2009). It's a Deal, Chick.com
  9. ^"9.14 Captives - Super-wiki". Supernaturalwiki.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  10. ^"Tripping the Rift - 01x05 - Devil and a Guy Named Webster - Video Dailymotion". Dailymotion.com. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

    The devil and daniel webster text -

    The Devil and Daniel Webster DVD Review

    Here is a Man Comparison. - 0:04:37

    A few scene comparisons between the final released version and a preview, entitled Here is a Man, originally shown on 12th July 1941. The opening titles are a little different, some opening scenes have changed ever so slightly but what I did enjoy, and what was ultimately cut, was overlayed negative images of the devil when things went wrong for poor Jabez Stone and his family. It's as if the devil had some hand in his misfortune and I wish these scenes had been kept in.

    What sets this package apart from most others out there though is the inclusion of one small 31 page booklet containing a wealth of information on this feature. It contains 3 short essays on the themes within the film and as a bonus the full original text of the 1937 The Devil and Daniel Webster short story by Stephen Benet. This is a glorious and informative addition and credits Eureka's production values. This is a must read and raises the overall score for this section somewhat.

    The Devil and Daniel Webster" (1936) is a short story by American writer Stephen Vincent Benét. He tells of a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the devil and is later defended by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the noted 19th-century American statesman, lawyer and orator. The narrative refers to factual events in the lives of Webster and his family.

    The story appeared in The Saturday Evening Post (October 24, 1936) and was published in book form by Farrar & Rinehart the following year. The story won the O. Henry Award. The author also adapted it in 1938 as a folk opera, with music by Douglas Stuart Moore, a fellow Yale University alumnus.

    Plot summary[edit]

    Webster argues while the devilwhispers in the judge's ear.

    Farmer Jabez Stone, from the small town of Cross Corners, New Hampshire, is plagued with unending bad luck. He finally says, "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!" The next day he is visited by a stranger, identified as "Mr. Scratch", who offers to give him seven years of prosperity for his soul. Stone agrees.

    Mr. Scratch comes for Stone's soul at the appointed time, and Stone bargains for more years. After that Scratch refuses an extension. Stone hires noted lawyer and orator Daniel Webster to get him out of the deal.

    At midnight of the appointed date, Mr. Scratch and Webster begin their legal argument. It goes poorly for Webster, since Stone's signature and the contract are clear, and Mr. Scratch will not compromise.

    Webster says, "Mr. Stone is an American citizen, and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince. We fought England for that in '12 and we'll fight all hell for it again!" To this Mr. Scratch insists on his own citizenship, citing his presence at the worst events in the history of the U.S., concluding, "though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours."

    Webster demands a trial as the right of every American. Mr. Scratch agrees after Webster says that he can select the judge and jury, "so long as it is an American judge and an American jury." A jury of the damned enters, "with the fires of hell still upon them." They had all done evil, and had all played a part in the formation of the United States:

    After five other unnamed jurors enter (Benedict Arnold being out "on other business"), the judge enters last. It is John Hathorne, who presided at the Salem witch trials.

    The trial is rigged against Webster. He is outraged but calms himself, thinking "for it was him they'd come for, not only Jabez Stone."

    Webster starts to orate on simple and good things – "the freshness of a fine morning...the taste of food when you're hungry...the new day that's every day when you're a child" – and how "without freedom, they sickened." He speaks passionately of how wonderful it is to be human and to be an American. He admits the wrongs done in the course of American history but points out that something new and good had grown from them and that "everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors." Humankind "got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it was a great journey," something "no demon that was ever foaled" could ever understand.

    The jury announces its verdict: "We find for the defendant, Jabez Stone." They admit, "Perhaps 'tis not strictly in accordance with the evidence,[2] but even the damned may salute the eloquence of Mr. Webster." The judge and jury disappear with the break of dawn. Mr. Scratch congratulates Webster, and the contract is torn up. The devil has overreached himself, agreeing to a jury trial out of pride in his unbreakable contract. But by doing so, he has put his contract within the reach of the Common Law used in America, under which a jury can enter whatever verdict it likes, regardless of the law. Webster's eloquence in swaying this supposedly unswayable jury is remarkable, but would have gone to no effect without the devil's pride-induced mistake in giving Webster a chance.

    Webster then grabs the stranger and twists his arm behind his back, "for he knew that once you bested anybody like Mr. Scratch in fair fight, his power on you was gone." Webster makes him agree "never to bother Jabez Stone nor his heirs or assigns nor any other New Hampshire man till doomsday!"

    Mr. Scratch offers to tell Webster's fortune in his palm. He foretells (actual) events in Webster's future, including his failure to become President (an actual ambition of his), the death of Webster's sons (which happened in the American Civil War) and the backlash of his last speech, warning "Some will call you Ichabod" (as in John Greenleaf Whittier's poem in reaction to Webster's controversial Seventh of March speech supporting the Compromise of 1850 that incorporated the Fugitive Slave Act, with many in the North calling Webster a traitor).

    Webster asks only if the Union will prevail. Scratch admits that the United States will remain united after the war. Webster then laughs, "... and with that he drew back his foot for a kick that would have stunned a horse. It was only the tip of his shoe that caught the stranger, but he went flying out of the door with his collecting box under his arm ... And he hasn't been seen in the state of New Hampshire from that day to this. I'm not talking about Massachusetts or Vermont."

    Major themes[edit]

    Patriotism[edit]

    Patriotism is a main theme in the story: Webster claims that the Devil cannot take the soul because he cannot claim American citizenship. "And who with better right?" the devil replies, going on to list several wrongs done in the U.S., thereby demonstrating his presence in the U.S.. The devil says "I am merely an honest American like yourself — and of the best descent — for, to tell the truth, Mr. Webster, though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours."

    Webster insists on a jury trial as an American right, with Americans for the jury and an American judge. The devil then provides the worst from Webster's perspective (and certainly, they are in Hell) examples of Americans for the judge and jury. In Daniel's speech "He was talking about the things that make a country a country, and a man a man" rather than legal points of the case. For Webster, freedom and independence defines manhood: "Yes, even in hell, if a man was a man, you'd know it."

    This theme of American patriotism, freedom and independence is the explanation for Webster's victory: the jury is damned to hell, but they are American and therefore so independent that they can resist the devil.[citation needed] However, in reality many of the jury would not have classed themselves as Americans, as Governor Dale, Morton, Hathorne, and Blackbeard were English, and King Phillip was a Wampanoag. Butler and Girty would have called themselves Americans – and indeed were Americans – but they were Loyalists, and Webster might not have intended any but U.S. citizens. Classifying the jurors as "Americans" involves a wider definition, including all who had a part in its history – even those who lived and died as English subjects before 1775, the Loyalists who actively opposed the creation of the U.S., and those Indians (like King Philip) who interacted with the new civilization. Scratch underlines this definition by saying of the jury "Americans all".

    Slavery[edit]

    In his speech, Webster denounces slavery. Earlier, he states flatly "A man is not a piece of property." Later, there is this description "And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell." Benét acknowledges the evil by having the devil say: "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on her deck." As for Webster, "He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors."

    The real Daniel Webster was willing to compromise on slavery in favor of keeping the Union together, disappointing some radical abolitionists, but he held that only the preservation of the Union could keep anti-slavery forces active in the slave areas. This desire to end the institution was a mainspring of his support for the Union.

    Treatment of aboriginal Americans[edit]

    The story may be seen as ambivalent on the treatment of the aboriginal Americans. Webster states "If two New Hampshiremen aren't a match for the devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians." However, the stranger/Satan remarks that "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there", which implies the author's acknowledgement that aboriginal Americans were sometimes wronged. "King Philip, wild and proud as he had been in life, with the great gash in his head that gave him his death wound" is noted as a notorious villain of American history (the historical King Philip (Metacomet), died from a gunshot to the heart, not a gash to the head).

    Yet later on, Daniel Webster's appeal to the jury on "what it means to be American" specifically includes King Philip among "the Americans". This is an anachronism, as the historical Daniel Webster would have been unlikely to express such an opinion. The narrator also expresses sympathy for King Philip when he tells us that one juror "heard the cry of his lost nation" in Webster's eloquent appeal.

    These ambiguities probably reflect ambivalent perceptions of this aspect of American history in the 20th century at the time of writing, rather than at the time when the story is supposed to take place.[citation needed]

    The devil[edit]

    The devil is portrayed as polite and refined. When the devil arrives he is described as "a soft-spoken, dark-dressed stranger," who "drove up in a handsome buggy." The names Benét gives the devil—Mr. Scratch or the stranger—were both used around New England and other parts of the pre-Civil War United States: "Perhaps Scratch will do for the evening. I'm often called that in these regions." These terms are taken primarily from "The Devil and Tom Walker" (1824) by Washington Irving, who usually calls the devil Old Scratch.

    Adaptations[edit]

    Screen[edit]

    Two film adaptations have been made:

    An Academy Award-winning 1941 film first released under the title All That Money Can Buy, starring Edward Arnold as Daniel, Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch, James Craig as Jabez Stone, and Simone Simon as Belle.

    Shortcut to Happiness, is a modernized version set in the publishing world, starring Anthony Hopkins as a publisher named Daniel Webster, Alec Baldwin as a best-selling but terrible author named Jabez Stone, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as a female version of the devil. This most recent version was made in 2001, but never had a wide theatrical release.

    An animated television film loosely based on the story, The Devil and Daniel Mouse, was released in 1978.

    Phil Reisman, Jr. adapted the story for a live television performance of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" on Breck Sunday Showcase (NBC, Feb 14, 1960, 60 min), starring Edward G. Robinson (Daniel Webster), David Wayne (Mr. Scratch), and Tim O'Connor (Jabez Stone). A color videorecording of the production aired two years later on Breck Golden Showcase (CBS, Apr 30, 1962).[3]

    Radio[edit]

    Each of these adaptations used the original story title, unless otherwise indicated:

    Charles R. Jackson's adaptation aired on Columbia Workshop (CBS, Aug. 6, 1938, 30 min), with music by Bernard Herrmann.

    Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, and James Craig reprised their 1941 film roles in the "All That Money Can Buy" episode of Cavalcade of America (NBC Red Network, Oct. 20, 1941, 30 min). Howard Teichmann and Robert L. Richards abridged and adapted the screenplay.

    Jean Holloway's adaptation aired on Hallmark Playhouse (CBS, June 10, 1948, 30 min); cast: John McIntire (Daniel Webster), Alan Reed (Mr. Scratch), Frank Goss (Jabez Stone).

    Edward Arnold again played Daniel Webster for The Prudential Family Hour of Stars (CBS, Sept. 18, 1949, 30 min).

    Walter Huston again reprised his 1941 film role in the "All That Money Can Buy" episode of Theatre Guild on the Air (NBC, April 30, 1950, 60 min); Cornel Wilde and Martha Scott co-starred.

    Stage[edit]

    Benét adapted his story as a play, The Devil and Daniel Webster: A Play in One Act (New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1938), and also as a folk opera, The Devil and Daniel Webster: An Opera in One Act (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939), music by Douglas Moore (Moore and Benét had earlier collaborated on an operetta, The Headless Horseman [1937], based on Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" [1820]).

    Archibald MacLeish, a friend and associate of Benét's in the 1930s and until his death in 1943, also adapted the story as a play: Scratch (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971). On Broadway very briefly, Scratch starred Will Geer in the title role and Patrick Magee as Webster. Originally conceived as a musical collaboration with Bob Dylan, the collaboration fell apart due to creative differences between Dylan and MacLeish. The show opened at Broadway's St. James Theater on May 6, 1971, and closed two days later.[4]

    In popular culture[edit]

    • In Treehouse of Horror IV of The Simpsons in "The Devil and Homer Simpson", Homer Simpson announces he would sell his soul for a doughnut, and the devil, who resembles Ned Flanders, appears to make a deal with Homer. Homer tries to outsmart the devil by not finishing the doughnut, but eventually eats it and is sent to Hell; there he is "tormented" by being forced to eat thousands of doughnuts, an ironic punishment that backfires when he gleefully eats them without any sign of pain. A trial is held between Homer and the devil to determine the rightful owner of Homer's soul. Marge Simpson saves Homer's soul in a dramatic twist, when she reveals that Homer gave her ownership of his soul, meaning that it was not in his possession when the deal was made.[5][6]
    • In an episode of the television show The Monkees, this story was also presented in "The Devil and Peter Tork", wherein Peter finds a beautiful harp in a pawn shop run by Mr. Zero and says that he would give anything for it. Mr. Zero then has Peter sign a contract which condemns him by promising his soul to Mr. Zero. The boys become an overnight success after adding the harp to their act. They learn what has happened when Mr. Zero comes to collect Peter's soul and Mike argues that they will take it to court to fight the contract. The jury consists of 12 condemned men from Devil's Island and Judge Roy Bean, the hanging judge, presides over the trial. After Atilla the Hun, Billy the Kid, and Blackbeard all testify to what Mr. Zero has done for their careers, Mike calls Mr. Zero to the stand and tells him that he did not give Peter the ability to play the harp and that it was within Peter the whole time due to his love for the harp. He then convinces Peter to prove it to Mr. Zero and everyone in the courtroom by playing the harp after Mr. Zero takes away the power. Peter then plays a beautiful rendition of the Monkees' song "I Wanna Be Free", he is found not guilty and the case is dismissed. Peter is set free and Mr. Zero snaps his fingers and returns to Hell.
    • Nelvana created an animated television special called The Devil and Daniel Mouse based on the story. In the program, Daniel Mouse is a musician whose partner, Jan, sells her soul to the devil in exchange for fame.
    • Two Chick Publications tracts, The Contract![7] and It's A Deal,[8] borrow heavily from the story. The Contract! follows the original plot more closely (telling of a bankrupt farmer facing eviction), while It's a Deal is a Chick tract rewritten for the African-American community and features a young basketball player.
    • In his court order rejecting plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the lawsuit United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971), Judge Gerald J. Weber cited this story as the sole, though "unofficial", precedent touching on the jurisdiction of United States courts over Satan.
    • In the 1995 Tiny Toon Adventures TV special, Night Ghoulery, this story is parodied in the segment "The Devil and Daniel Webfoot".
    • In the Supernatural episode "Captives", it is revealed that Crowley, the de facto king of Hell, rented several storage units under the alias "D. Webster" as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the short story.[9]
    • In Tripping the Rift, Season 1 Episode 5, the story is parodied under the title of "The Devil and a Guy Named Webster". When the lead character accidentally sells his soul to the devil, the crew then travel back in time to find Webster, but dial the wrong time zone and get a child actor who played a character called Webster.[10]
    • In Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Season 1 Episode 3, a lawyer named Daniel Webster represents Sabrina in a trial plot loosely resembling the short story.[11]

    [edit]

    1. ^Anderson, Charles R. Puzzles and Essays from"The Exchange" - Trick Reference Questions, p. 122: "In 'The Devil and Daniel Webster' by Stephen Vincent Benét, there is a character named the Reverend John Smeet. Was this a real person? Note: In a 1960 letter to the New York Times Book Review, Mrs. Stephen Vincent Benét said that Smeet was entirely imaginary.
    2. ^A point sometimes not known or appreciated by the reader is that, by agreeing to a jury trial under common law, Mr. Scratch has also agreed to be bound by the rule that a jury is the exclusive judge of both the facts and the law; as such, even in the face of overwhelming evidence favoring the plaintiff (such as the contract Mr. Scratch had with Stone) the jury could find for the defendant, acting as a sort of local law-making body with the power to suspend the law in this case (this can only be done for acquittals; convictions must be done strictly according to the law and the evidence). Webster, as an experienced lawyer, would know that; presumably Mr. Scratch would have known that as well, but was confident that his hand-picked jury would do his bidding.
    3. ^"CTVA US Anthology - "Sunday Showcase" (NBC)(1959-60)". CTVA - The Classic TV Archive. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
    4. ^Langer, Adam (2 November 2020). "Bob Dylan's First Musical Had a Devil of a Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
    5. ^"Simpsons scripts: Treehouse of Horror IV (1F04) — Simpsons Crazy". Simpsoncrazy.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
    6. ^"Watch The Simpsons Season 5 Episode 5 - Treehouse of Horror IV full episodes cartoon online". Watchcartoonsonline.eu. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
    7. ^Chick, J.T. (2004). The Contract!, Chick.com
    8. ^Chick, J.T. (2009). It's a Deal, Chick.com
    9. ^"9.14 Captives - Super-wiki". Supernaturalwiki.com. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
    10. ^"Tripping the Rift - 01x05 - Devil and a Guy Named Webster - Video Dailymotion". Dailymotion.com. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
    11. ^"Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
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      The Devil and Daniel Webster

      It's a story they tell in the border country, where Massachusetts joins Vermont and New Hampshire.
      Yes, Dan'l Webster's dead--or, at least, they buried him. But every time there's a thunder storm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky. And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, "Dan'l Webster--Dan'l Webster!" the ground 'll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And after a while you'll hear a deep voice saying, "Neighbour, how stands the Union?" Then you better answer the Union stands as she stood, rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible, or he's liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, that's what I was told when I was a youngster.
      You see, for a while, he was the biggest man in the country. He never got to be President, but he was the biggest man. There were thousands that trusted in him right next to God Almighty, and they told stories about him and all the things that belonged to him that were like the stories of patriarchs and such. They said, when he stood up to speak, stars and stripes came right out in the sky, and once he spoke against a river and made it sink into the ground. They said, when he walked the woods with his fishing rod, Killall, the trout would jump out of the streams right into his pockets, for they knew it was no use putting up a fight against him; and, when he argued a case, he could turn on the harps of the blessed and the shaking of the earth underground.

      Источник: https://freeditorial.com/en/books/the-devil-and-daniel-webster

      The Devil and Daniel Webster

      Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

      One of the great oddities of Hollywood finally returns in definitive form. The Devil and Daniel Webster is a great picture with a primitive Americana feel, some unforgettable performances and one of Bernard Herrmann's best music scores. When Criterion released a laser disc in the early 90s, it added scenes chopped when the movie lost two reels' worth of footage for reissues. But only now is the entire show, original titled All That Money Can Buy, completely reconstructed.

      It's a supernatural Faust tale from Stephen Vincent Benet that sets solid New England values against the forces of darkness as represented by perhaps the most entertaining Devil ever in a movie. The script is literate, but in this long version dawdles a bit in some scenes and takes too long to get the story rolling ... we can see why RKO wanted it cut.

      1941 was the year of Art at RKO, and like Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster opens with odd 'collaborative' titles. To some the film may look crude; it has the kind of rustic directness we associate with Griffith-like Americana direction in films like Night of the Hunter. Wide masters collide with giant closeups and frequent odd angles. Many scenes are shot against artificial backdrops. There's a graphic clarity which seems to come from painting tradition.

      There are also plenty of new-fangled cinematic devices. In this long version, the pace pauses for a slow series of dissolves in the sequence where Jabez' wheat grows and matures. Jabez already embraced his wife, talking about 'growing things', and the final shot of a vast field of wheat slowly dissolves to Mary Stone lying on her bed, now pregnant. It's a great evocation of sex, Old Americana-style. The Earth is the highest value in this agrarian society, and by associating Mary with the fecund fields, it's as if she underwent some kind of immaculate conception.

      Other semi-experimental scenes abound. The introduction of Mr. Scratch and his minion Belle are heralded by gloriously overdone backlit angles, with creepy celestial chime music. The first cut of the film included several inserts, giant closeups of Scratch laughing at Jabez's misfortunes - in negative. It's easy to see where these didn't work and and came off as a mistake. Somebody was thinking too much in the direction of French avant-garde work of the 20s!

      James Craig is not a great actor, and either his enthusiastic cluelessness or the script itself keep us from sympathizing with him. He's a jerk after his deal with the devil, but also a bitter whiner before, the kind of fool that purposely gets reckless with his most desperately needed possession (the wheat seed) just so he can throw his hands up in guiltless defeat after he spills it.

      The weakest (and perhaps most politically controversial) thing in The Devil and Daniel Webster is the constant touting of the formation of Granges as the solution to the agrarian economic mess. A Grange is essentially an agricultural commune where the related farmers of a region share the risk and the reward of their labors so as not to be victimized by outside economic interests. I can't see conservatives of 1941 going for this kind of sentiment, not one bit. Unfortunately, The Devil and Daniel Webster implies that only by joining the Grange can Jabez have friends ... if he'd become prosperous without the Devil's help, we'd think Ma's disapproval, Mary's fear, and his neighbors' envy might have been exactly the same.

      Fortunately, Jabez' wife Mary is very strong in her role. Anne Shirley comes off as a less bright but equally virtuous Olivia De Havilland. She's backed up by Jane Darwell, who after her great role in The Grapes of Wrath is a bit too-easily cast as The Salt of Wisdom.

      The powerhouse roles belong to Edward Arnold and Walter Huston. After twice assaying a straw-dog villain for Frank Capra, Arnold gets back to a more balanced role worthy of his talent, and reminiscent of his great work in Come and Get It. Daniel Webster is a man of the people, a noble politician who champions agrarian reform and the rights of working farmers. He knows most of his constituents by name and takes a personal interest in Jabez Stone's plight. The original story may have been concocted to explain why this American never became President ... Lucifer's personal vengeance. In his liner notes, Tom Piazza offers that the real Webster didn't fulfill earlier hopes of greatness, once he became embroiled in Washington politics. For instance, he came down firmly on the wrong side of most slavery issues during the years that formed the Civil War.

      Walter Huston's Mr. Scratch is of course the popular favorite, and he takes the cake (or the pie) with this movie. Never was an actor more felicitously appropriate to the role, as they say. If son John was a mischievous joker, old Walter was mischief incarnate, a jovial, grinning instigator of everything evil. The dialogue isn't as thick as Damn Yankees (hey, where's a special edition of that?), but Mr. Scratch gets in plenty of verbal licks on the subject of his influence - he says he's on both sides of elections, for instance. He already possesses the sickly Miser Stevens (John Qualen) and finds it easy to snare the doltish Jabez. The RKO special effects department backs him up with clever optical tricks with fire. He carves an indelible date into a tree with his cigar, a very nice touch. And a great effect occurs when Jabez tries to murder Mr. Scratch with a thrown axe - it freezes and is incinerated in mid-air.

      Huston's Scratch is no dark brooder or threatening arm-twister, but the life of the party. The perfect devil for the stix, he finds his influence in barrooms and by instigating discord at group meetings. He also beats the drum in the band; surely this Mr. Scratch would be a patriotic War booster. His huge grin and laughing eyes mock all around him, even as he feigns concern.

      And then there's the triumphant final shot where he checks the audience for possible new 'clients'. Anybody who ever went to Sunday School can feel uneasy when he finally finds 'us' and points his finger. He looks like Uncle Sam's evil brother. The lame ad campaigns for the film tried to hide its period setting and played up the beauty of Simone Simon, when they should have been one-sheets with just Huston's grinning face, pointing at us: "I want YOU for the fires of Hades!"

      Simone Simon had previously been a star in France, making several Jean Renoir movies as a temptress ruining good men. Here she does more of the same on an ethereal level, effortlessly captivating Jabez Stone, belittling his faithful wife and encouraging him to spoil his brat of a son. She's foreign, even though she says she 'doesn't come from anywhere', a lamia from 'over the mountain'. To people tied to the land and their little communities, 'over the mountain' makes sense as a place where damned souls dwell. RKO lost interest in her, but she captivated new producer Val Lewton so thoroughly he brought her back to do three films including her great The Cat People. Compared to the prim Anne Shirley Simone looks downright perverse, with a twinkle in her eye and a slightly curled lip. Anyone who has been chilled by the bizarre smirk on the face of Sybille Schmitz in Dreyer's Vampyr will know the slight hint of the uncanny in Simon's face. Even when she plays virtuous innocents (I've only seen one such show, Lewton's Mademoiselle Fifi) there's something in her face that would have no problem tearing a man's heart up before his very eyes.

      The Devil and Daniel Webster concludes with a trial by a jury of the Damned, and Arnold gets his big patriotic speech to defend the rather guilty Jabez Stone. It's basically a politician making a speech about Good and Evil, and is ironic because we usually think of elected officials as the first to go selling their souls to Mr. Scratch. Thanks partly to the wisdom of this film, whenever public speakers insult us by employing absolute concepts like Good and Evil, Freedom and Democracy, I tend to associate them with deals with the devil.

      (spoiler)

      When Mr. Scratch loses and tries to be magnanimous, he gets a firm kick in the pants for an exit. But The Devil and Daniel Webster doesn't let us off the hook, as he's still around. Old Ma fools Scratch by baking a decoy pie to keep him from ruining a feast, but there's no getting rid of Evil. Mr. Scratch lost the battle, but he's still in fine form.


      Criterion's DVD of The Devil and Daniel Webster does a service to aesthetic history by restoring the long cut of this Americana Favorite for the first time. Visually, the print is variable but good all the way through. I'd have to say that the soundtrack is far from optimal however, obviously due to the disparate sources used to patch back together the story of Mr. Scratch. Some of the dialogue gets pretty weak, only to be followed by very loud stretches of music. The score also suffers some, losing a lot of detail. The rerecordings of this music are recommended on CD; it's a score as bombastic and subtle as Citizen Kane.

      The extras are exemplary, once again. Bruce Eder's commentary straightens out the info about versions and how the film came to be mangled. There's a Tom Piazza essay that rightly nails the horror visions of this film to the mini-masterpiece by Herk Harvey, Carnival of Souls. The insert also has an article with Stephen Vincent Benet's first reactions to the film of his story, which is recited in another extra by Alec Baldwin. A comparison section shows the jarring negative-image closeups of Mr. Scratch used in the preview version called Here is a Man. Radio shows from the 30s dramatize two follow-up Daniel Webster tales, both of which have music by Bernard Herrmann. Christopher Husted examines the Herrmann music score in a separate extra. Plus galleries of behind-the-scenes photos and ad materials.


      On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor,rates:
      Movie: Excellent
      Video: Excellent
      Sound: Excellent
      Supplements: Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder and author Steven C. Smith, video comparison between The Devil and Daniel Webster and William Deterle's preview Version of the film, radio dramatizations of Stephen Vincent Benet's stories with music by Bernard Herrmann, gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional materials, essay by author Tom Piazza.
      Packaging: Keep case
      Reviewed: September 27, 2003

      Источник: https://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s987devil.html
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    The Devil and Daniel Websteris an excellent upgrading of the original Fausttext and one which certainly in the short story brings some relevant themes to the front stage. The fact that these issues were portrayed to some degree, albeit somewhat toned down, in a film from 1941 is a rarity indeed.

    There's decent production values in the sets used and some of the special effects implemented and for viewers from that time it must have been enjoyable to see axes in mid air burst into flame at the behest of the devil himself. The actors are good if somewhat over exaggerated by today's standards but that simply makes it a product of its time and nothing to really complain about.



    The video and audio have seen better days but they have been cleaned as well as can be expected. As a set I feel it is a must have purchase; not only for the highly enjoyable film itself but also because of that informative booklet which Eureka have pulled together and inserted. As such I yet again suggest you make a purchase from Eureka's catalogue and am more than happy to make that recommendation.

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