Showing posts with label Peter Ustinov. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Ustinov. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2011

We're No Angels (1955)

Finishing a blogathon 5 months later is okay... right?!

We're No Angels (1955) is a Christmas story like no other. It's the turn of the 20th Century and three Devil's Island convicts find themselves on a tropical island colonized by France. They need money to catch a ship back to Europe but find themselves without any resources. So what are three convicts to do? Steal and kill of course! Joseph (Humphrey Bogart), Albert (Aldo Ray) and Jules (Peter Ustinov) target the Ducotel family who run a local shop. But the mother Ducotel (Joan Bennett), father Ducotel (Leo G. Carroll) and the lovesick daughter Isabelle (Gloria Talbott) are sweet, kind and charming. What are three ruthless convicts to do when they are being treated nicely on this Christmas Eve? They still need to make it home! Will they be able to kill this nice family?

This is one of the few Humphrey Bogart films in color. The only other one I can think of is The African Queen. And boy is there a lot of color. So make sure that if you are a Bogie fan that this film is in your repertoire. While Bogie is charming as the swindler of the convict pact (he's the brains behind the operation) and Peter Ustinov is also charming as the goofy and lovable safecracker, it's Aldo Ray that caught my attention. Why? Because he doesn't look like he belongs in a film from 1955. He looks like he's straight out of the 21st Century. He's got that All-American look that is All-American now but not back then. Big broad shoulders, big arms, lots of height, buzz cut hair and tattoos. That's NOW. He stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas were buff in a barrel-chested kind of way. Aldo Ray had some real bulk to his muscles. Wow!

Moving on... This is a very enjoyable film. It's black humor with a wholesome feel and a bit of sex thrown in. We're No Angels can be a bit slow paced. I won't hide the fact that I fell asleep twice while watching the film (it could be a lullaby!). It's not explicitly Christmas. In fact, the tropical setting and the focus on the Convict-Family plot makes you forget the holiday theme a few times in the film. However, I think that non-Christmas films that take place at Christmas are great for Holiday viewing.

Three Angels came to earth that night and all around the stars were bright.

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