Hey, it’s Christmas week! Hope all my readers are doing well and aren’t stressed over weather, family, or anything else. I’m pretty much burned out on blogging about nail polish — you may have noticed — and hope that the new year gives me a much-needed reboot.
So this week I’ll be talking Christmas, for an uplifting (I hope) break. With all the shopping and spending and hustle and bustle, sometimes it’s nice to kick back with a funny movie. Here’s one you may not be familiar with, 1955’s We’re No Angels.
What? Bogart did comedy? He most certainly did, and I wish he’d done more (1941’s All Through the Night is another one). This is a very dark comedy, to be sure. You have to find humor in crime, thievery, and, um, arranged death.
Don’t confuse this We’re No Angels with the 1989 supposed remake. The latter bears almost no resemblance to this one, which is based on a stage play. Here’s the story in a nutshell:
Set in 1895, Joseph (Bogart), Albert (Ray), and Jules (Ustinov) are escaped convicts from Devil’s Island prison off the coast of French Guiana. They plan to hide out in a store over Christmas Eve, kill and rob the owners, then make their permanent escape. You know what they say about the best-laid plans. The trio overhears conversations between the married owners — bumbling but kindly Felix Ducotel and his sensible wife Amelie — that highlight their many worries. They’re in financial straits and dread the upcoming visit from Cousin André (Basil Rathbone at his most despicable) who holds the family pursestrings. Also, their teenage daughter Isabelle is suffering from unrequited love.
Our three not-so-wise men decide to help the Ducotels just a little, THEN kill and rob them. As Joseph says, “We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do — beat their heads in, gouge their eyes out, slash their throats. Soon as we wash the dishes.” Do I really need to tell you that the guys find better ways to use their criminal talents?
We’re No Angels has some of the best deadpan lines in moviedom, and the shot of tough guy Bogie in a pink frilly apron alone is worth the price of admission. Then there’s the pineapple scene.
Well, I won’t go on and on. If you’re in the mood for something different and, like me, loathe most Christmas comedies, give this one a try.