Devil’s Partner (1961)

Made in 1958, but not released until 1961 (and then in a cut version), The Devil’s Partner turns out to be an interesting variation on Faust, despite a number of script and story inconsistencies (and welcome plot twists from the rather bland pressbook synopsis). Helped by sympathetic acting and moody photography, director Rondeau grippingly creates a suspensefully eerie, small-town atmosphere which fully engages the attention while the film is actually unwinding. Ed Nelson does a commendable job in his dual role and is well supported all the way down the line, especially from Byron Foulger in a most unusual part as the local wino. The film also provides a rare opportunity to see the fine television player Jean Allison in a big-screen movie. Much of the film was obviously shot on actual locations. The heat-struck town of “Furnace Flats”, New Mexico, seems vividly real. Photographer Edward Cronjager lends the visuals an attractive shine and, aside from one or two lapses, the make-up and special effects are generally convincing. And by the humble standards of the independent “B”, production values are fairly impressive.