Shortcut to Happiness

Shortcut to Happiness

Movie poster
Directed by Alec Baldwin (credited as "Harry Kirkpatrick")
Produced by Randall Emmett
George Furla
Bob Yari
David Glasser
Written by Pete Dexter
Bill Condon
Nancy Cassaro
Stephen Vincent Benet (story)
Archibald Macleish (play)
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Alec Baldwin
Dan Aykroyd
Kim Cattrall
Amy Poehler
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Christopher Young
Cinematography Adam Holender
Distributed by Yari Film Group
Release dates
  • July 13, 2007 (2007-07-13) (U.S.)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25,000,000

Shortcut to Happiness is a 2003 film adaptation of the Stephen Vincent Benet classic short story The Devil and Daniel Webster. It stars Anthony Hopkins as Daniel Webster, Alec Baldwin as Jabez Stone, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as The Devil. Baldwin also directed the film.

It was plagued with financial difficulties and the film was shelved for several years. In 2007 Yari Film Group released the film to theaters.


Jabez Stone (Alec Baldwin) is a desperate, down on his luck writer who reaches rock bottom when his close friend, Julius Jensen (Dan Aykroyd), finds success. In his attempts to get his work published, he meets a beautiful stranger (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who offers him a chance at fame and fortune in exchange for his soul. Stone, having lost faith in himself, agrees to the offer.

After accepting the deal Jabez is quickly lavished with all he had ever dreamed of. A book deal, money, women, notoriety, Stone now had it all. However, despite the success, he is losing the friendship, respect and trust of those around him. Coming to the realization that he didn't quite get everything he bargained for, Stone begs the Devil to release him from their deal. When the Devil scoffs he turns to famed orator Daniel Webster (Anthony Hopkins). The two conclude that they should take the battle to court with Webster defending Stone in an otherworldly trial against the Devil in the ultimate battle of wits in a fight over the fate of Stone's soul.


Production history

Shot in early 2001 in New York City, the film was plagued with financial difficulties. During post-production Baldwin had said the movie was taken from him.[1] Due to this and other creative differences, Baldwin had his name removed from the directing credit; the name was ultimately replaced with the pseudonym "Harry Kirkpatrick".[2] Bob Yari bought the film from a bankruptcy court for an undisclosed amount, but was said to be several million dollars. Once the film cleared to be sold for distribution, a rough cut was screened at film festivals in 2003 and 2004, though much of the film's post-production work was never finished. The film needed further financing to complete the editing and special effects, as well as to replace temporary music.

In July 2006 it was announced that Yari's company would work on finishing the film.[3] In 2007 the Yari Film Group announced the acquisition of the film and distribution plans.[4]

Shortcut to Happiness has been aired on Starz and Showtime.


This film is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language and sexual content.


Shortcut to Happiness has received mostly negative reviews.[5]


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