Vintage film restoration and distribution company Film Masters continues to pay tribute to the pope of pop cinema, Roger Corman, with the third installment of The Filmgroup series on Blu-ray and DVD, The Devil’s Partner, available this January.
Corman and his brother, Gene, founded The Filmgroup to distribute their own films. While the company did produce the majority of its films, including the cult classic Creature From the Haunted Sea, it also occasionally acquired projects by other filmmakers, as is the case with The Devil’s Partner (1961). From director Charles R. Rondeau, the film is a macabre tale of an elderly man who regains his youth after making a deal with the devil. During the summer and fall of 1961, the two films were often paired as a double feature.
Half Man, half Beast, He Sold his Soul for Passion director and actor Edgar Buchanan (best known as Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction) appears in this supernatural thriller about an old codger trying to reclaim his youth, employing black magic to lure a woman away from his rival. The film also stars Jean Allison, Richard Crane, and Ed Nelson. This well-crafted, independent feature has been hailed for its atmosphere and as a pioneering film in the supernatural subgenre made popular in the ‘70s.
Made in 1958, The Devil’s Partner languished with no release date until it was picked up and distributed by The Filmgroup, becoming a steady presence on the drive-in circuit, often appearing in tandem with Creature from Haunted Sea, another Corman classic from the Golden age of drive-in schlock.
This spoof of spy/gangsters/monster movies stars Anthony Carbone as a gangster and smuggler who decides to kill members of the ship’s bungling crew and blame their deaths on a legendary sea creature. What he doesn’t know is that the creature is actually out there! Betsy Jones-Moreland stars in the film by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) under the pseudonym Edward Wain.
The film was conceived when Corman finished shooting The Last Woman on Earth in Puerto Rico and discovered he had enough film left over to make another film. He enlisted long-time associate Charles B. Griffith, who—the legend goes—had six days to write the script. Ever the pragmatist when it came to budget, Corman recruited locals to appear in this film as extras.
- Commentary for The Devil’s Partner is by Larry Strothe, James Gonis, Shawn Sheridan, and Matt Weinhold of the Monster Party podcast
- Theatrical-length commentary for Creature From the Haunted Sea is by fan-favorite Tom Weaver, with contributions from Roger Corman, Kinta Zertuche, and Larry Blamire. Weaver also provides the liner notes for the film.
- Ballyhoo Motion Pictures contributes Hollywood Intruders: The Filmgroup Story with Part III of the story, as well as their new interview with Roger Corman on the formation of The Filmgroup
- Recut trailers, based on the original theatrical trailers; original Creature From the Haunted Sea theatrical trailer (from 16mm archival elements scanned in 4k)
- A full essay for The Devil’s Partner by author Mark McGee.
Both films are presented with a theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, as well as in a 1.37:1 television format. The televised version of Creature From the Haunted Sea includes an additional 15 minutes of footage shot years later to extend the film for sale to Allied Artists. Discs are region-free and include English SDH. Audio is DTS-HD/Dolby AC3s.
Get your copy of The Devil’s Partner and the bonus film Creature From the Haunted Sea on Blu-ray or DVD on January 16, 2024, or pre-order it now.