BrianRxm Coins in Movies 20/109
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
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The 1941 RKO film "The Devil and Daniel Webster" shows two cents in the form
of large cents and a cache of "Hessian gold".
 
The film was based on the Stephen Vincent Benet story and stars Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch,
Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster, James Craig as Jabez Stone, and Simone Simon as Belle.
 
The story is about an 1840 New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the Devil for wealth,
then tries to get out of his contract with the help of Daniel Webster, the famous lawyer.
 
Several types of coins appear in the film.
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.
Devil and Daniel Webster
1. Title
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
2. Introduction
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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!"
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
7. Mr. Scratch appears
 
He wants to take Jabez up on his offer.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
8. Mr. Scratch presents his card
 
Business cards are handy.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
10. Mr. Scratch makes a point
 
He points to the ground, which opens up to reveal something.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
11. Jabez is surprised
 
Jabez is shocked at what he sees.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
12. Jabez looking at the goods
 
There is a large pile of old coins on the ground.
 
The idea that the Devil or another spirit can be summoned via magic to locate buried treasure
was an old legend in early 19th century America
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
14. Buried gold
 
The coins are copied from ancient Roman "SC" and Greek Alexander the Great coins.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
15. Buried gold
 
Another look at the goods.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
16. Contract signed
 
The unholy contract is signed and, yes, in blood.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
17. Jabez tells wife
 
Jabez tells his wife about his find, but doesn't mention who else was involved.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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).
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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).
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
20. Ma is suspicious
 
Ma is a wise woman and she suspects that something isn't right.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
22. Miser Stevens compares coins
 
Stevens compares Jabez's coin with one from his box of coins.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
24. They look alike
 
Stevens realizes where Jabez got the gold and who he got it from.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
25. Mary gets a new bonnet
 
Jabez buys Mary a new bonnet.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
27. A new arrival
 
Jabez and Mary with their new baby son.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
28. Belle appears
 
She comes from "over the mountain", no doubt someone sent her.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
29. Ma is surprised
 
Ma is really shocked to see this woman taking care of her grandson.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
30. Belle winks
 
Bad, really bad.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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
"loan shark".
 
Jabez and Belle throw a large party for the local gentry, but do not invite the ordinary people.
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
33. Mr. Scratch points out
 
Jabez argues with Mr. Scratch who points out that Jabez is owned.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
37. Mr. Scratch and Daniel drink together
 
The two adversaries prepare for their trial.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
38. Judge John Hathorne
 
John Hathorne was a judge at the infamous Salem Witch Trials, he never repented of his actions.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
39. The trial
 
The trial commences with a jury picked by Mr. Scratch of the "quick and the dead".
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
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.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
41. Mr. Scratch is surprised at the verdict
 
The jury decides in favor of Jabez., surprising Mr. Scratch.
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
42. The happy family reunited
 
Devil and Daniel Webster
43. Mr. Scratch points out his next customer
 
Still doing business.
Notes:
 
Cast:
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
 
Director: William Dieterle
Writers: Stephen Vincent Benet and Dan Totheroh
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