All That Money Can Buy 03/19/24

The Criterion Collection

William Dieterle’s film of Stephen Vincent BenĂ©t’s Faust-like folk tale is both traditional and experimental, part of a brief wave of ambitious, artistic RKO filmmaking. The agrarian horror-show pits an American statesman against what may be the screen’s best-ever Satan, a rustic tempter of farmers facing hard times. The cast is sensational: Edward Arnold, Walter Huston, Jane Darwell, Anne Shirley, John Qualen — and RKO’s red-hot French import Simone Simon. Intense restoration work rescues both the original version and one of Bernard Herrmann’s all-time best film scores. Criterion and the UCLA film experts are to be congratulated for this one. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.