We’re No Angels (1955): Curtiz’s Christmas Comedy, Starring Bogart in One of his Final Roles, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray

One of Bogart’s last films, We’re No Angels, is Christmas comedy film directed by Michael Curtiz, who had catapulted Bogart to major stardom with the 1943 Oscar winning melodrama, Casablanca.

Our Grade: C+ (** out of *****)

We’re No Angels
We're No Angels - 1955 - poster.png

Original film poster

The film, a minor one in Bogart’s output, co-stars Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, and Leo G. Carroll.

Shot in both VistaVision and Technicolor, the film was a Paramount Studios production.

The screenplay was written by Ranald MacDougall, based on the play My Three Angels by Samuel and Bella Spewack, which itself was based upon the French play La Cuisine Des Anges by Albert Husson.

Three convicts – Joseph, Albert and Jules – escape from prison on Devil’s Island in French Guiana just before Christmas.

Upon arrival at a nearby French colonial town, they go to the Ducotel family’s store, the only one to give supplies on credit. While there, they notice its roof is leaking, and offer to fix it. They do not actually intend to, but decide to remain there until nightfall, when they can steal supplies and escape on a ship.

As they wait, they realize that the small family of Felix, Amelie, and daughter Isabelle, is in financial distress and offer their services to hide their all-too-sinister ruse. Joseph even gets to work conning people and falsifying records to make the store prosperous.

However, the felons begin to have a change of heart after they fix a Christmas dinner for the Ducotels made mostly of stolen items.

Tensions heighten after store owner Andre Trochard arrives from Paris with his nephew Paul, whom Isabelle fancies.

The Trochards plan on taking over the store, which is unprofitable due to use of credit. Meanwhile, it turns out that Paul is betrothed to another woman, to Isabelle’s dismay.

Before any action is taken, both men are bitten by Albert’s pet viper, Adolphe, causing their instant death.

Isabelle finds another love, and the family is happy as the convicts prepare their escape. However, while waiting on the docks, they decide to turn themselves back in.

At at film’s end halos appear over their heads and above the cage of Adolphe.

Cast
Humphrey Bogart as Joseph
Aldo Ray as Albert
Peter Ustinov as Jules
Joan Bennett as Amelie Ducotel
Basil Rathbone as Andre Trochard
Leo G. Carroll as Felix Ducotel
Gloria Talbott as Isabelle Ducotel
John Baer as Paul Trochard
Lea Penman as Madame Parole, customer
John Smith as Doctor Arnaud

Credits:

Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Pat Duggan
Written by My Three Angels 1953 play by Samuel and Bella Spewack, screenplay by Ranald MacDougall, based on 1952 French play, “La Cuisine Des Anges” by Albert Husson
Music by Frederick Hollander
Cinematography Loyal Griggs
Edited by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by Paramount Pictures

Release date: July 7, 1955

Running time: 106 min.
Box office $3 million