Wednesday, 22 December 2010

“Three angels came to earth that night and all around the stars were bright.”

Sally of Flying down to Hollywood is hosting “Twelve days of Christmas Movies” and I am doing my bit with this entry about my favourite holiday’s film: Paramount’s classic of 1955 WE’RE NO ANGELS by Michael Curtiz – based on a French play by Albert Husson and brought to you in glorious Technicolor.

In a nutshell:

Christmas eve 1895, prison colony of French Guyana - Devil’s Island: The three convicts Joseph (Humphrey Bogart), Albert (Aldo Ray) and Jules (Sir Peter Ustinov) have escaped from the prison. Before they leave the island they want to rob the store of Felix Ducotel (Leo G. Carroll). But they soon find out that Felix, his wife Amelie (Joan Bennett) and their daughter (Gloria Talbott) are really decent people, who are in deep trouble when Felix’ arrogant and greedy cousin André Trochard (Basil Rathbone) arrives with his nephew Paul (John Baer). So the three convicts stay and help the Ducotel family – with a little assistance of the fourth escaped prisoner: Adolphe – a cute little viper..

Watch out for:

Humphrey Borgart wearing a pink apron – and boy: does it bring out the colour of his eyes!

  • The film's working title was ANGELS' COOKING which is the translation of the play's title which is LA CUISINE DES ANGES.
  • This is the 6. and last film Humphrey Bogart an Michael Curtiz made together - one of the other movies they did together was CASABLANCA.
  • There two other films which are based on Albert Husson's play: WE'RE NO ANGELS (1989) with Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore and ORE-TACHI WA TENSHI JANAI by Takashi Miike (1993).
  • It is said that Gloria Talbott insisted that when her character passes out her head would always fell to the left because she found her profile would look best then. - I got to confess that I never look at her when she passes out. Naughty me - poor Gloria passes out so often that she could have earned my attantion..

A nodding acquaintance:

  • John Baer played title character Terry Lee in 1953s television series: TERRY AND THE PIRATES (1953).

  • Gloria Talbott played Jane Wyman's daughter in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) and played Moneta in television series ZORRO (1957-59).

  • John Smith who played medical officer Arnaud made his (uncredited) debut in GOING MY WAY (1944) as a choir member. In TV series CIMARRON CITY (1958-59) he played Deputy Lane Temple and Slim Sherman in series LARAMIE (1959-63).

Sing a Song:

In this film a wonderful song by Frederick Hollander is featured: “Sentimental Moments” and you can also hear “Hark! The herald angels sing”.

My favourite feature:

The shop! There’s so much to see! And the whole set of the Ducotel house is amazing. And they have gladioluses, which are one of my favourite flowers – they’re often seen in 1930ies films because they’re sooo elegant!

Scene to see

I can’t decide which one is the best or initial scene – so: Please watch the whole film. But maybe this scene will give you an impression - though the colours in this seem to be faded:

See the beauty in it:

Joan Bennett’s dresses are gorgeous. The wardrobe was designed by Mary Grant.

What the critics said:

In 2006 Time Out London found the convicts an
"ill-assorted trio of Bogart, Ray and Ustinov"
and go on with
"The lowest point comes when they all line up to croak Christmas carols."
"'s static and laden with leaden talk, with nothing to interest the eye as recompense. ... Bogart looks particularly ill-at-ease and silly."

- sorry, they must have seen another film than I did, well the three prisoner are not the Rat Pack or Bing Crosby or some other croonin' fella but their singing is nothing to make a great point out of it. I think the trio is a perfect match and I love that Humphrey Bogart was not afraid of looking silly.

Quotes Corner :

“We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do. Beat their heads in, gorge their eyes out, cut their throats. – As soon as we wash the dishes.”

This film is hilarious. Of course there are moments when I have tears in my eyes. I am a bit sentimental, but and I think a good film touches you. So this is another plus for this movie and a good addition to extremely funny dialogues. I also like the fact that neither Adolphe nor the deaths or corpses are seen. I would have liked to see the snake but I think it is much more funny and also does not stress an animal. *yay*
I love the characters and the cast is amazing. Basil Rathbone is elegant as always in a light grey suit – and not quite so elegant wearing a nightcap. I can’t imagine how anyone could not like these four Christmas angels. I can’t make up my mind, which one of them is my favourite.

Thank you very much, Sally, for having me in your meme!

It is an honour for me. So, as I said before: Thank you.

“Right these way, please. This way to Christmas!”

The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly

Frl. Irene Palfy


  1. A merry (and snowy) hello to all new followers!

    *In the Hammock blog (- beautiful blogs)

    *Helga von Trollop - who is (that I can assure you) a glorious lady

    *Pandora - whose name even is adorable. She is able to wraft gifts beautifully and has a nice blog

    *Natalie - who has a career as a great pin up comming up

    *Zippalu - whose is full of inspiration

    Have a great time! And thank you so much for following my blog!!

  2. This one looks great!! Great post! Definitely an addition to my to-see list!

  3. Thank you very much, Sally! Can't wait to read you review of this film then! ;")

  4. Merry Christmas!


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")