by Stephen Vincent Benet
which became a play
and later a movie
by the same name
The original work by Benet centers around a poor farmer named Jabez Stone who lives in the small town of Cross Corners, New Hampshire. In the play, he was extremely unlucky in his attempts to farm and work his land. One day in desparation he cries out that he would sell his soul to the Devil in order to be successful. And guess who shows up.
The Devil accepts his plea, and promises to give him all the things he has desired in life in exchange for his soul. He marries the woman of his dreams, Mary, and lives a successful life as a state senator for many years. When the Devil comes to collect, Jabez employs the help of his friend, the famous 19th century politician, Daniel Webster as an attorney of sorts. Webster entangles the Devil in a lengthy trial for Jabez's life during the climax of the play.
The cast of the 1941 movie included James Craig as Jabez Stone, Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch (The Devil) and Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster.
The movie has been remade by Alec Baldwin's El Dorado Pictures. They wrapped filming in March of this year and expect to release the film sometime in 2002.
The remake is Alec Baldwin's directorial debut. Screenwriters include Pete Dexter, Bill Condon and Nancy Cassaro.
In essence, the work is an interesting good versus evil story. I performed in the play version last year as Stone's supportive Christian wife Mary. An annoying role, but I liked the play.