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Beating the Devil: The Making of 'Night of the Demon' Paperback – 1 May 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Tomahawk Press (1 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095319261X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0953192618
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 0.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 569,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

This is the first in-depth examination of 'Night of the Demon', one of the greatest movie chillers ever made. 'Night of the Demon' has enjoyed huge commercial success since it was made almost 50 years ago and is now a celebrated and revered cult horror film. The full history of this troubled picture has been unearthed in "Beating the Devil" -- a book no serious film fan can do without. The book is based on four years of original research and new interviews with surviving cast and crew members.

The book presents the reader with intriguing never-before revealed detail, including: Tracing the route of the film from Edwardian short story to 1950s screenplay; Tussles with the British Censor over the film's supernatural content; Internal rows between director and producer over the inclusion of the demon; The development of the film's special effects sequences; The casting of imported American star Dana Andrews; Behind the scenes stories from actors Peggy Cummins, Brian Wilde, the late Richard Leech, stuntman Jack Cooper and the late producer Frank Bevis; First-hand accounts of shooting the film, many never before published; Extracts from the British Censor's report, never before published; A detailed breakdown of the film's special effects sequences; Dozens of rare images including behind-the-scenes shots, never before published; Ken Adam's production designs, many never before published; Biographies of all the principal actors and filmmakers.

Customer Reviews

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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Guy reid-brown on 25 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic to have a book in print about my favourite movie ever. Thank you Mr. Earnshaw!
It's actually a very funny story, because nobody who worked on it seemed to be of the opinion that they were making a supernatural masterpiece that would be revered decades on: they all seemed to think that somebody else ruined it somehow. And actors who gave stonking performances like Brian Wilde and Maurice Denham seem to have barely registered that they were actually in it - although I bet Niall McGinnis recognised the worth of what he did.
I always thought that American lead Dana Andrews was a bit stiff playing the sceptical psychologist, but reading about how he seems to have spent the entire shoot drunk during the day and raving it up in nightclubs in the evening, I now think he must have been an acting genius.
Nothing can ever ruin this marvellous film for me - wherever you all are, whether in your dotage or in film peoples' heaven, you all produced a little piece of magic!
The dropped star is because in the actors' biographies, where they are all given their photos and CVs, the marvellous Peter Elliott - K T Kumar of Bombay - is simply not included. Otherwise, a super read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Rottweiller Swinburne on 1 April 2013
Format: Paperback
It's hard to fault a book that is so utterly all-encompassing as this one. In less than 130 pages you get a biography of M.R.James (who wrote "Casting the Runes", upon which story the film is based) and an excellent analysis of James's writings by Michael Frayling; the differences between the original story and the resultant film, set in the context of British horror film productions of the time; reproductions of the BBFC comments on how the film should be rated, including facsimiles of hand-written letters dealing with the matter (the film's makers naturaly wanted an 'A' rating, but the censors insisted upon an 'X'); thorough analyses of the lives and works of the main movers behind the film's production (most notably the American producer Hal E. Chester and the director Jacques Tourneur), together with a deconstruction of the myth that Tourneur knew nothing about, and/or was opposed to, the inclusion of the monster sections; and a hugely entertaining section dealing with the making of the film itself, with comments by and about the main actors - Peggy Cumins, Niall MacGinnis (Karswell) and Dana Andrews (Holden) - including conflicting accounts of whether or not Andrews was a raving dipsomaniac whose drunken antics nearly destroyed the film. On top of all this there are reproductions of much of the artwork used in or about the film, including storyboarding and artwork by the interior designer (Sir Ken Adam) responsible for the film's overall appearance and atmosphere; notes on the locations used; and thumbnail biogs of practically everyone, both on and off screen, involved with the film's production.

I have only three criticisms of the work.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 May 2005
Format: Paperback
........ for any fans of the classic old horror B-Movie 'Night of the Demon' (or 'Curse of the Demon' as it was titled in the US). A fascinating read with lots of tidbits of information on the productions, actors, producers, special f/x and the like.
Film-making afficianados will also get a lot from it - a very pleasurable read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Meryl M. Heasman on 15 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
A great book about the making of the 1956 movie "Night Of The Demon" is an absorbing read. With a introduction by Sir Professor Christopher Frayling, this book by Tony Earnshaw contains a collection of memoirs of all the people involved in the making of this wonderfully scary classic film. A lot of research has gone into it and it tells tales of drunken actors, (well maybe only one) and the disputes between the producer and director. I think it was very clever how the special FX were done and what they achieved in those days. The main dispute in the film being wether the "Demon" should make an appearance or not. I'm glad he did, it scared me to death when I saw it as a child, and I still think it was a masterpiece of cinematic art.

If, like me, you are a big fan of this film than you will kick yourself for not buying this book! After all it seems the National Museum do not have the only copy. from Meryl Heasman (songwriter) CATFLAP MUSIC, Kent.
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