We're No Angels Reviews
This film shoots for heartwarming but the Ducotel's tolerance of the convict's interference in their lives strains credibility. Still a good cast and director means this is a pleasant enough timewaster.
The movie relies almost entirely on the talent of the 3 lead actors, so I guess it's a good thing they got such excellent talent. Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray are all amazing. Bogey is surprisingly solid in a comedic role, and has the most subtle transition from villain to hero. You almost believe he is still capable of horrible things right up to the conclusion. Ustinov is probably the least-convincing as a criminal, but he is hilarious when they have him using his safe-cracking talents. He's so charming with the family, you can't help loving him. Aldo Ray shows the most depth to his character. We are shown that he can be quite a womanizer, but he has a heart of gold inside. His conversations about love and romance are a big highlight in the film. There were a couple other performances that stood out for me. First of all was Leo G. Carroll as the man who welcomes in these convicts. He has this world-weary look to him that fits perfectly in his role. You can tell he's a kind man who's suffering because of his situation. The final actor worth mentioning is Basil Rathbone. He is so deliciously evil as Cousin Andre. It makes a great contrast having someone who is so detestable to contrast against the ones who are the real crooks in the film.
The biggest thing that worked for me in We're No Angels was the script. All I can say is, the art of writing dialogue has diminished significantly since these "good old days." The wit of the convicts is amazing, particularly the way they talk so casually about committing crimes. It is perfectly crafted so that every time you think these guys are so sweet they throw in a line like "People like that, how can you cut their throats?" It's also interesting seeing how the resident's of Devil's Island are so accustomed to convicts hanging around, they just treat it like no big deal. Oh, there's a convicted rapist on the roof? Who cares? It feels so foreign, but creates a good backdrop for a unique story you don't see every day. We're No Angels now ranks as one of the classics that I will gladly watch any time, and I might have to find myself a copy on DVD so we can add it to our Christmas movie watch-list. How can you not love a movie as humorous as this that follows up a silly scene with one where they throw out a brilliant line like "If crime showed on a man's face, there'd be no mirrors." I highly recommend this movie for a few laughs and a very unexpected twist on the classic holiday film genre.
Seeing Bogart in the lead role, and the movie being about a jailbreak, I was expecting an adventure-drama. Instead I got a comedy, and a very good one at that.
Incredibly sharp dialogue and some devilishly clever and funny sub-plots make this an hilarious movie. Add in the fact that it is set at Christmas, and there is a great amount of Christmas sentimentality and fun involved too.
The other things that carry the movie are the performances of Bogart and, especially, Peter Ustinov. Bogart delivers his lines well and cannot be faulted, but Ustinov has a perfect sense of comedic timing. Plus his Englishness makes him seem so much funnier.
Aldo Ray is a bit hit-and-miss as the third non-angel. Sometimes you feel he is just reciting his lines without any sense of timing or tone, but others then hit the mark well.
Good support from Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo Carroll and Gloria Talbott.
A must-see, especially at Christmas.
Devil's Island is a famous island on the Mediterranean that houses a jail house and small village. Three convicts break out of jail and hide out as workers at a local convenience store. They do small odd jobs to help the family and earn their keep and they eventually plan to rob the store blind to gain enough money to eventually leave the island. They begin to learn more about the family and try to help them the best they can. After they see the poor way the family lives, the criminals may become saviors...
"I had forgotten that you're pretty."
"You only say that because I look like you."
Michael Curtiz, director of White Christmas, Mildred Pierce, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandee, Four Daughters, and Kid Galahad, delivers We're No Angels. The storyline for this picture is actually outstanding and extremely fun to watch unfold. The characters were fascinating and the script and acting was first rate. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, and Leo Carroll.
"A man doesn't travel 4,000 miles to prove he's a louse. He could do that in a letter. I always did."
Michael Curtiz is one of my all time favorite directors and I was thoroughly impressed by this movie (this is honestly the best film I have seen in a while). The story unfolds beautifully and I couldn't get over how much I liked the characters (and how they played off each other, like Three Stooges Gangsters). Overall, this is a must see movie that is worth adding to your DVD collection.
"The only real mistake I ever made was getting caught."