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Sunday, September 2, 2012

We're No Angels (1955)

It's Christmas Eve on Devil's Island in 1895 and a forger (Humphrey Bogart), two murderers (Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov) and a poisonous pet snake escape from prison. But the ship they planned on getting on is temporarily quarantined so they hide out with a shopkeeper (Leo G. Carroll) and his family but become involved with their personal problems such as in financial and romantic. Based on the French comedy LA CUISINE DES ANGES by Albert Husson by way of its hit Broadway incarnation by Samuel and Bella Spewack, it's really not very funny but the complicit cast performs as if it were and they build up a lot of good will. It could have used some editing shears to snip out about 15 minutes, the pacing is rather lackadaisical. The candy box art and set direction (by Roland Anderson, Hal Pereira, Sam Comer, Grace Gregory) is marvelous. Directed by the veteran Michael Curtiz. With Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone (impeccably nasty), pretty Gloria Talbott and John Smith (THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY).

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