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Charles R. Rondeau
Ed Nelson, Jean Allison, Richard Crane
Writing Credits:
Stanley Clements, Laura J. Mathews

A man makes a deal with the devil to win over a young woman.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
English Dolby Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 74 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 1/16/2024
Available as Part of 2-Film Set with Creature from the Haunted Sea

• Audio Commentary with Podcasters Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe and James Gonis
• TV Version
• “Hollywood Intruders” Featurette
• “Remembering Filmgroup” Featurette
• Trailer
• Booklet


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Devil's Partner [Blu-Ray] (1961)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 24, 2023)

One must view it as a bad sign when a movie produced in 1958 doesn't actually hit theaters until three years later, the fate of 1961's Devil's Partner. However, it remains possible this doesn't doom the film to awfulness so we'll give it a look - and since this one apparently got held up due to legal issues, maybe the gap between completion and release doesn't mean anything at all.

After elderly Pete Jenson (Ed Nelson) performs a Satanic ritual that involved the slaughter of a goat, he dies. Soon thereafter, 20-something Nick Richards (also Nelson) shows up in town and asks Sheriff Tom Fuller (Spencer Carlisle) about Pete, who he claims is his uncle.

When told Pete died, Nick takes up residence at Pete's shack and quickly dabbles in the dark arts himself. Nick desires to separate lovely Nell Lucas (Jean Allison) from her auto mechanic fiancé David Simpson (Richard Crane), and he'll use whatever means necessary to do so.

I felt tempted to omit credits for the actors because the indication Nelson plays both Pete and Nick could potentially become a spoiler. However, this information doesn't point in any one inevitable plot direction, so I figured it seemed safe – especially because the opening credits reveal Nelson’s dual role.

As much as I do prefer to avoid possible spoilers, I must say it doesn’t take the proverbial rocket scientist to figure out where things will go. That becomes a fairly substantial issue with Partner: a lack of virtually any form of suspense.

Even if we ignore the implications that Nelson’s double-casting bring, Partner just seems devoid of drama. Because the audience always understands plot development three steps ahead of the characters, we end up bored much of the time.

With a little more creativity, Partner might’ve found a way to generate some suspense. However, it fails to explore the plot in anything more than the most plodding manner.

As a result, Partner drags. Again, because we know the truth behind events well before the characters do, we find ourselves impatient for them to catch up with us.

Even at a mere 74 minutes, Partner seems slow and tedious. Oh, the movie attempts to find some twists along the way, but the basic inertia ensures these fail to enchant us.

That said, Partner offers a reasonably competently-made film. Nothing about it stands out as high-quality, but it never turns cheesy or embarrassing.

Which actually might become a drawback, as perhaps a goofier flick would’ve at least brought some camp value. Instead, Partner just winds up as a dull dud.

Note that although this disc’s art calls it The Devil’s Partner, the actual credits just go with Devil’s Partner. As such, I used that title.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

Devil’s Partner appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the movie’s age and roots, this turned into a pretty satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness worked fine. Some dodgy shots appeared on occasion, but the majority of the film seemed fairly well-defined.

The movie lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and I saw no edge haloes. With a healthy – and occasionally heavy – layer of grain, I didn’t suspect onerous noise reduction, and the film showed no print flaws.

Blacks felt largely appropriate – if a bit inky at times – and shadows usually appeared good, albeit a little murky across a few shots. Despite these minor criticisms, I still thought we got a fine scan.

While not memorable, the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack seemed adequate. Speech could feel somewhat brittle, but the lines remained easily intelligible.

Music usually came across with decent clarity, though louder aspects of the score turned a bit shrill. Effects followed suit, as they seemed reasonably concise but became a little distorted on occasion.

No issues with background noise arose. This seemed like a perfectly competent track for a movie made in the late 1950s.

A few extras appear, and we find an audio commentary from “Monster Party Podcast” contributors Matt Weinhold, Shawn Sheridan, Larry Strothe and James Gonis. All four sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, production notes, genre domains, and their thoughts about the film.

For the most part, this becomes an informative chat. I think the guys use too many wacky voices and camp it up a bit much, but they still give us enough good information to make the track worth a listen.

Along with the 1.85:1 presentation I discuss above, the disc also includes a TV version. Because both run an identical 1:13:53, I strongly suspect they offer identical cuts of the film but “TV” simply crops the sides of the frame to become 1.33;1.

Remembering Filmgroup runs 10 minutes, 46 seconds. It offers info from filmmaker Roger Corman.

The Hollywood legend discusses how he got into movies as well as some details of specific projects. Given the breadth of Corman’s career, under 11 minutes seems insufficient, but we get some worthwhile info.

In addition to a “2023 recut” trailer for Partner, we get a featurette called Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story Part 3. It spans 21 minutes, four seconds and brings info from film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

“Filmgroup” looks at the collaborations Roger Corman had with future legends like Francis Ford Coppola and Dennis Hopper. Joyner gives us notes about their work in this tight summary.

The package concludes with a booklet that presents art and essays from author Mark McGee (about Partner) and film historian Tom Weaver (about Creature from the Haunted Sea). It finishes matters on a good note.

With its tale of Satanic rituals and conspiracies, Devil’s Partner boasts some potential as a horror thriller. Unfortunately, it spills too many beans too soon and lacks even basic suspense. The Blu-ray brings pretty good picture as well as adequate audio and a few bonus features. Competent but dull, the movie leaves me pretty cold.

Note that this Blu-ray for Partner comes packaged with another 1961 release: Creature from the Haunted Sea. Though this set treats Sea as a “bonus”, I think it deserves its own review so I’ll discuss it separately.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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