The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
The 1941 RKO film "The Devil and Daniel Webster" shows two cents in the form
of large cents and a cache of "Hessian gold".
Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster, James Craig as Jabez Stone, and Simone Simon as Belle.
then tries to get out of his contract with the help of Daniel Webster, the famous lawyer.
A remark about "selling one's soul to the Devil for two cents" produces two large Canadian cents.
The Devil's "Hessian gold" appears as a cache of large copies of ancient Greek and Roman coins.
3. Mr. Scratch picking out a customer
He picks Jabez Stone, a farmer living in Cross Corners, New Hampshire.
Jabez is married to Mary, and Jabez's mother Ma lives with them.
4. Daniel Webster getting an offer
Daniel Webster is a famous lawyer and politician who wants to be President.
Here he rejects an offer of campaign assistance.
5. Jabez and Ma owe their calf
The farm is in debt to Miser Stevens, a "loan shark" who wants a payment.
Jabez thinks Stevens will accept their calf as payment.
After a couple of accidents, Jabez is fed up with his troubles and exclaims
"That's enough to make a man sell his soul to the devil!
And I would for about two cents!"
6. Two Cents
The "two cents" appear to be Canadian large cents of the time of Queen Victoria.
The left coin is a New Brunswick cent from 1861-1864.
The right coin is a Canadian cent from 1876-1901.
7. Mr. Scratch appears
He wants to take Jabez up on his offer.
8. Mr. Scratch presents his card
Business cards are handy.
9. Mr. Scratch suggests an arrangement
He explains that some farmers find gold lost by the Hessians.
The Hessians were soldiers of the German prince of Hesse who were hired as mercenaries
by the British during the American Revolution.
10. Mr. Scratch makes a point
He points to the ground, which opens up to reveal something.
11. Jabez is surprised
Jabez is shocked at what he sees.
12. Jabez looking at the goods
There is a large pile of old coins on the ground.
was an old legend in early 19th century America
13. By the way...
Mr. Scratch produces the contract for Jabez to sign.
The contract is for "money and all that money can buy" for seven years, ending on April 7, 1847.
Mr. Scratch inscribes the termination date on a tree.
14. Buried gold
The coins are copied from ancient Roman "SC" and Greek Alexander the Great coins.
15. Buried gold
Another look at the goods.
16. Contract signed
The unholy contract is signed and, yes, in blood.
17. Jabez tells wife
Jabez tells his wife about his find, but doesn't mention who else was involved.
18. Treasure in bag
A closer look at some of the coin props used in the film.
They appear to be larger than actual ancient Greek and Roman coins.
Some have the head of Alexander the Great on them.
The one to the left with "S-C" has a legend of a coin issued by the
Roman Emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37).
19. Treasure in bag showing large coin
The large coin to the right has the head of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161).
20. Ma is suspicious
Ma is a wise woman and she suspects that something isn't right.
21. Family saying Grace
The family says "Grace", a prayer to God.
Jabez's new friend would not like that.
The next day, Jabez goes to Miser Stevens' office to pay his debt.
He gives Stevens some of the coins, and Stevens' is shocked.
22. Miser Stevens compares coins
Stevens compares Jabez's coin with one from his box of coins.
23. Miser Stevens looks closer
He sees that they look similar.
The coins are blurred so it is hard to read what is on the reverse of the right coin.
The left coin appears to be one of the Alexander the Great copies.
24. They look alike
Stevens realizes where Jabez got the gold and who he got it from.
25. Mary gets a new bonnet
Jabez buys Mary a new bonnet.
26. Daniel Webster and Mr. Scratch
Mr. Scratch is seen hanging around the town.
Daniel Webster comes to make a political speech, but Mr. Scratch gets him some rum
which puts him to sleep, allowing Jabez to give a speech.
27. A new arrival
Jabez and Mary with their new baby son.
28. Belle appears
She comes from "over the mountain", no doubt someone sent her.
29. Ma is surprised
Ma is really shocked to see this woman taking care of her grandson.
30. Belle winks
Bad, really bad.
31. Jabez new big house
Jabez builds a big new mansion, but Mary and Ma refuse to live in it.
Belle becomes his hostess and manages the house and entertainment.
32. Mary sees Daniel Webster
Mary is disgusted with the situation and visits Daniel Webster for help.
Webster also knows that Jabez has been lending money to other farmers and has become a
However almost no one comes, then a group of spirits arrive.
Miser Stevens is there, he is worried about the state of his soul as his seven years are up.
Belle dances with Stevens and he dies during the dance.
33. Mr. Scratch points out
Jabez argues with Mr. Scratch who points out that Jabez is owned.
34. Miser Steven's soul
Stevens' soul as a moth is captured by Mr. Scratch, he says Jabez soul is also small,
but he would like to have Daniel Webster's soul, the wingspan would be enormous.
35. Mr. Scratch gets serious
Jabez's seven years are almost up, he asks Mr. Scratch for an extension.
Mr. Scratch tells him that he wants Jabez's son and Jabez refuses.
36. Jabez asks for help
Jabez goes to Daniel Webster and asks for advice and help.
Webster says he would fight "10,000 devils" for a New Hampshire man.
37. Mr. Scratch and Daniel drink together
The two adversaries prepare for their trial.
38. Judge John Hathorne
John Hathorne was a judge at the infamous Salem Witch Trials, he never repented of his actions.
39. The trial
The trial commences with a jury picked by Mr. Scratch of the "quick and the dead".
40. A jury of the dammed
The jury includes:
Captain Kidd, he killed men for gold
Simon Girty, the renegade; he burned men for gold
Governor Dale, he broke men on the wheel
Asa, the Black Monk, he choked them to death
Floyd Ireson and Stede Bonnet, the fiendish butchers
Walter Butler, the king of the massacre
Big and Little Harp, robbers and murderers
Teach, the cutthroat
Morton, the vicious lawyer
And General Benedict Arnold, you remember him, no doubt.
Daniel Webster gives an impassioned argument about American liberty and values, and
service to foreign princes, then leaves the case with the judge and jury.
41. Mr. Scratch is surprised at the verdict
The jury decides in favor of Jabez., surprising Mr. Scratch.
42. The happy family reunited
43. Mr. Scratch points out his next customer
Still doing business.
Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch
Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster
James Craig as Jabez Stone
Anne Shirley as Mary Stone
Jane Darwell as Ma Stone
Simone Simon as Belle
John Qualen as Miser Stevens
H.B. Warner as Justice John Hathorne
Writers: Stephen Vincent Benet and Dan Totheroh