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Back when I was in college a friend of mine, the only other person I knew
who had seen this film, used to recite lines to each other on appropriate
occasions. He was a rugby player, a real rough and tumbly sort of guy, and
I was a fairly gentle, studious type; we were two, very different types of
people. The point behind this is that, while we were both very different,
we both found "We're No Angels" to be a superbly executed film.
I recently had a chance to see the film again and it's just as enjoyable as ever. This light-hearted, if somewhat criminal, comedy is warming, family film with an evil streak. It's absolutely fascinating to watch Bogart in a light comedy role, and to see a young(er) Peter Ustinov as a wife-murdering safe-cracker with a heart. And throw in great (if typical) performances by Basil Rathbone and Leo G. Carroll to boot.
But in my mind, the three biggest stars in this film are playwright Albert Hussens, screenwriter Ranald MacDougall, and above all, a surprisingly masterful performance by Aldo Ray. Ray treads the line between being dumb, lovable, trite thug and being a brutal, sociopathic criminal with great resolve. In the end it is his smoothly delivered lines that one remembers above all else.
As for the dialogue, it too treads lines. This is a film for the entire family, yes. But it does have it's randier moments, and all of them are done in such a way that children will not understand the full implications of them (if they do you have no one to blame but yourself). This translates into a "something for everyone" type of film.
Check it out.
I stumbled upon We're No Angels one night on AMC. I found that I couldn't leave the TV. I enjoyed the three likeable convicts and discovered that Humphrey Bogart has a knack for light comedy. Peter Ustinov is very deadpan and as a result, some of the best lines come from his character. Aldo Ray is the sweet dumb guy with a heart of gold and a rather dangerous pet. Basil Rathbone is great as the guy you love to hate. A great cast, a good script and good direction by Michael Curtiz makes this a classic.
This is a wonderful, if unconventional, Christmas movie, although it is great fun to watch at any time of the year. As the three convicts, Bogart, Ustinov, and Aldo Ray have wonderful chemistry and camaraderi. Their portrayals are delightful, and are made stronger by the dialogue, which is first rate. Leo G. Carrol and Joan Bennet are touching as married couple, and Basil Rathbone has a delicious turn as the thoroughly unscrupulous and black-hearted cousin Andre. It is on my "Christmas Movies" shelf and we watch it every December without fail.
The film combines the witty nuttiness of Marx Brothers humor with some of
the slapstick style of the Three Stooges and comes up as a wonderful
The whole cast is great, but Bogart is the real star in every respect. He shows that he is really a grand comedian. Rathbone is appropriately evil and nasty as the villain.
Don't confuse this movie with the other one of the same title. This one delivers real comedy.
This is one of the best comedies ever and one of my all-time favorites. I must have seen it a dozen or more times. The cast is perfect and Bogart shows he has a great talent for comedy. Rathbone plays the deliciously evil antagonist Cousin Andre, perfect in his role as the villain you love to hate which he pulls off with his usual deadpan style (has he ever played the good guy in any role?) Ustinov and Ray are perfect sidekicks for Bogart, their comedic style completely complements his. Carroll is perfect as the bumbling husband of the shop the convicts descend upon, initially planning on robbing him. I found the movie had all the necessary elements for a great side-splitting comedy along with some tender moments to show a contrast in the characters involved. I rate this one a nine of ten.
3 convicts escape from a jail on Devils island during Christmas, they
make plan to rob a local store, but befriend the shop keeper and his
Three great lead characters in Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov play the convicts. Bogart plays his character without flaw and surprising to see him in this humorous role, while young Ustinov and Ray also play great characters that assist the shop keep and his family during a difficult Christmas.
This movie wasn't what I was expecting especially after seeing 1989 movie with the same name staring De Niro and Penn, but I guess it was far better because i had a smile on my face throughout the whole movie. This certainly is a feel good sense to this movie.
With great lines in this movie, you'll be sniggering to yourself and cheering on the 3 misfits. One to watch when you need a smile.
We're No Angels is adapted from a French play La Cuisine de Anges which
was written by Albert Husson and ran a nice, respectable 344
performances on Broadway 1953-1954. In the roles of those unlikely
angel/convicts on Broadway were Walter Slezak, Jerome Cowan, and Darren
Our three in this film are Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray who escape from Devil's Island and are now among hundreds of other paroled convicts in the French West Indies at the turn of the last century. This was around the time Alfred Dreyfus was in Devil's Island so we know it was no fun place to be.
But these three seem to have a light hearted take life as it comes attitude. There's no whining from any of them about them being innocent of what got them there. But they want out and make it.
Fate puts them in the hands of a family they first would like to rob for some getaway loot. But hearing and seeing the sad plight they're in they can't bring themselves to do it. Then of course comes the Christmas visit of a tyrannical cousin played with relish by Basil Rathbone whom they work for and the convicts work becomes a pleasure.
They are aided of course by a pet coral snake named Adolph that Ray keeps in a straw basket. In many ways Adolph is almost divinely driven to do his duty.
Humphrey Bogart who was an unsuccessful embezzler in the film has a nice light touch for deadpan comedy. Too bad he didn't use it more often in films. This was a nice blend of comedy together with Bogey's gangster persona which we see more of in his films. On stage before he came to Hollywood, Bogart actually did a lot of light comedy.
This was also Bogart's final film with Director Michael Curtiz with whom he worked often and well back at Warner Brothers. Most particularly in Casablanca which was Curtiz's Oscar winning film for himself and for the film. A lot consider that film the one that firmly cemented Humphrey Bogart as a top box office draw.
Leo G. Carroll, Joan Bennett, and Gloria Talbott are the family who get some help on Christmas. The film itself is a great indication how the Deity or the fates do indeed move in mysterious ways.
Never let it be said that Bogart could only play hard-boiled detectives in film noir. He had a great comedic talent, and it's evident in this film. This is a very funny movie; not hilarious, but funny as well as charming. Though the plot gets a little far-fetched, particularly towards the end, the dialogue is great and the acting superb. It's set at Christmas too, so you can add it to your list of holiday movies.
The humor is understated and quite droll with some brilliant moments. Peter Ustinov's expressions and nuances are priceless and Humphrey Bogart is very funny because he plays it straight. The last half hour is hysterical.
"We're No Angels" is certainly a relief from the mindless comedies of modern times. This 1955 masterpiece is well-written, hilarious, and totally clean. Certainly a welcome change of pace from today's reliance on sex and bodily functions for jokes. "We're No Angels" has few weak points, but they are easily overlooked by the witty dialogue, the strong screen presences of the actors, and by the situations themselves.
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