The scene shifts to the Stone farm. Following the filmmaking procedures of the time, most of this film is set on a soundstage, allowing the filmmakers to create the farm they want rather than having to find one and giving them complete control over every element in the scene. Of course, the result is a setting that does not look quite real or natural, but works very much in a favorable way in this film and contributes to the fantasy element. James Craig as Jabez Stone is always on the edge of hysteria, a man rushing headlong to his doom from the first time we see him. Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch has a comic intensity that deliberately runs against traditional notions of the devil, though at times the lighting is extremely low-key in order to create shadows in his features to evoke a vision of smiling evil. The most direct and natural performance in the film is that of Edward Arnold as Daniel Webster, for he is the voice of reason, the messenger from the real world and from history, the man from New Hampshire who fought the devil and won. The use of Webster and the reference to the myth in the opening of the film links the story to American mythology and to the optimism and certainty of life in the New World and thus to our vision of what has made America great.
Most of the film is dark and foreboding. It is bright when Daniel Webster arrives in the area on a speaking tour, and it