Devil at Four O’Clock: Mervyn LeRoy’s Adventure Starring Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy

The Devil at Four O’Clock, Mervyn LeRoys adventure tells the story of a plane, carrying three convicts, Harry (Frank Sinatra), Marcel (Gregoire Aslan), Charlie (Bernie Hamilton), and a priest, Father Joseph Perreau (Kerwyn Mathews), which lands on a South Sea island.

Father Perreau has come to replace Father Doonoan (Spencer Tracy). Father Doonan asks the governor to permit him to use the convicts to help at a hospital in the mountains. An earthquake serves as a warning of others to come, and plans are made to evacuate the island in case of emergency. Indeed, Father Doonan and the convicts go to the hospital and help the staff and children make their way through difficult terrain to the coast.

Charlie and Father Doonan stay behind to hold a bridge so the others can get to the beach. After Harry brings the others to the waters edge, he returns to save Father Doonan and Charlie, but all three are killed in a volcanic explosion.

Its an unusual American story in which at the end the main protagonists (played by major movie stars) die, though it makes the saga more compelling.

Vet director LeRoy, a versatile craftsman known for his actioners and adventures, gives the tale a brisk pace without neglecting issues of plot and characterization, and he gets good performances from his American and international cast members.


Father Matthew Donovan (Spencer Tracy)

Harry (Frank Sinatra)

Father Joseph Perreau (Kerwin Mathews)

Jacques (Jean Pierre Aumont)

Marcel (Gregoire Aslan)

The Governor (Alexnader Scourby)

Camille (Barbara Luna) Matron (Cathy Lewis)



Release Date: October 1961 Running time: 126 Minutes.

Produced by Fred Kohlmar

Director: Mervyn LeRoy

Screenplay: Liam OBrien based on the novel by Max Catto.

Camera: Joseph Biroc

Editor: Charles Nelson

Music: George Dunning

Art Director: John Beckham

Set Decoration: Louis Diage