We're No Angels (1955)

103 or 105 mins | Comedy-drama | July 1955

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Producer:

Pat Duggan

Cinematographer:

Loyal Griggs

Editor:

Arthur Schmidt

Production Designers:

Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Angels Cooking . At the end of the film, animated halos appear above the convicts’ heads. Albert Husson‘s play La cuisine des anges , on which the film is based, opened in Lyon, France in early Jan 1952, prior to its run in Paris. As noted in HR , Paramount purchased the rights to the French play in mid-Feb 1952. According to a Jun 1952 HR news item, Audrey Hepburn was considered for a part in the film. In Jan 1954, HR announced that Van Heflin was to co-star in the film with Humphrey Bogart. According to an Apr 1954 DV news item, Paramount considered casting Irene Dunne and Gig Young in the film. John Derek was announced as a cast member in the same item but did not appear in the final film.
       A Jul 1954 HR news item reported that Dan Towler and Harry Thompson, members of the Los Angeles Rams football team, had been cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Lyricist Roger Wagner, George Chester, Lyle Moraine, Fred Sweeney and Willard Willingham were also announced as cast members in HR news items, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       In Nov 1955, four months after the picture’s release, authors Samuel and Bella Spewack filed for an injunction against the film, claiming that a substantial portion of their Broadway play My Three Angels , which also was based on Husson’s play and opened on ... More Less

The working title of this film was Angels Cooking . At the end of the film, animated halos appear above the convicts’ heads. Albert Husson‘s play La cuisine des anges , on which the film is based, opened in Lyon, France in early Jan 1952, prior to its run in Paris. As noted in HR , Paramount purchased the rights to the French play in mid-Feb 1952. According to a Jun 1952 HR news item, Audrey Hepburn was considered for a part in the film. In Jan 1954, HR announced that Van Heflin was to co-star in the film with Humphrey Bogart. According to an Apr 1954 DV news item, Paramount considered casting Irene Dunne and Gig Young in the film. John Derek was announced as a cast member in the same item but did not appear in the final film.
       A Jul 1954 HR news item reported that Dan Towler and Harry Thompson, members of the Los Angeles Rams football team, had been cast, but their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Lyricist Roger Wagner, George Chester, Lyle Moraine, Fred Sweeney and Willard Willingham were also announced as cast members in HR news items, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
       In Nov 1955, four months after the picture’s release, authors Samuel and Bella Spewack filed for an injunction against the film, claiming that a substantial portion of their Broadway play My Three Angels , which also was based on Husson’s play and opened on Broadway on 11 Mar 1953, had been incorporated into Paramount’s screen version. The NYT review commented on the fact that the film “gives sole credit to the Galic original, then stalks the Spewacks almost scene by scene.” The Spewacks demanded an accounting of the film’s profits, noting that after Paramount bought the rights to the French play, they attempted to acquire the screen rights from Paramount but were denied. The disposition of the Spewacks’ suit is not known.
       On 8 Dec 1959, a Ford Startime Theatre production of the Broadway play, also titled My Three Angels , was broadcast on the NBC network. Walter Slezak, who starred in the play, recreated his role for the television production, which was directed by Bretaigne Windust and Gordon Rigsby. In 1989, Paramount released We’re No Angels , a loose adaptation of the Husson play, directed by Neil Jordan, written by David Mamet, and starring Robert De Niro and Sean Penn.
More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Jun 1955.
---
Daily Variety
30 Apr 1954.
---
Daily Variety
14 Jun 55
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1955.
---
Film Daily
13 Jun 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 1953
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1954
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1954
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jul 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1954
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1954
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 1954
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1954
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 1954
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 55
p. 5.
Los Angeles Times
21 Jul 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Jun 55
p. 481.
New York Times
8 Jul 1955
p. 15.
Newsweek
18 Jul 1955
p. 83.
Time
18 Jul 1955.
---
Variety
15 Jun 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial asst
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play La cuisine des anges by Albert Husson (Paris, 12 Feb 1952).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Sentimental Moments," music by Frederick Hollander, lyrics by Ralph Freed
"Ma France Bien-Aimee," music by G. Martini, lyrics by Roger Wagner.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Angels Cooking
Release Date:
July 1955
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 July 1955
Los Angeles opening: week of 20 July 1955
Production Date:
17 June--early August 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 August 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5194
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
VistaVision Motion Picture High-Fidelity
Duration(in mins):
103 or 105
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17182
SYNOPSIS

On Christmas Eve, 1895, on French-controlled Devil’s Island, where trustees of the penal colony are allowed to roam free, three escaped convicts—swindler Joseph and murderers Albert and Jules—plot ways to board a Paris-bound ship anchored offshore. Penniless and still wearing their prison garb, the convicts are approached by Arnaud, the ship’s young medical officer, who asks for directions. While chatting with Arnaud, Jules, a former safecracker, picks his pockets and inadvertently steals a letter addressed to Felix Ducotel, the local general store proprietor. The three decide to deliver the letter, and rob the store, and are delighted when the absent-minded, kindly Felix assumes they are convict laborers and hires them to fix his leaky roof. Once on the roof, the convicts eavesdrop on Felix and his wife Amelie as they discuss Felix’s cousin, Andre Trochard, the store’s owner. Amelie despises Andre for using his wealth to control the financially strapped Felix and threatening to fire him if the store fails to show a profit. Amelie also bemoans the fact that their impressionable eighteen-year-old daughter Isabelle is in love with Paul, Andre’s nephew and heir, who lives in Paris with his uncle, as she knows that Andre will never approve the match. When Isabelle asks her father about the still unopened letter, Felix realizes it is from Andre and panics. After reading that Andre has been quarantined on the ship and is demanding that Felix secure his release, Felix scurries to the dock. Isabelle then reads the letter and faints. Seeing her prostrate, the convicts jump down from the roof and also read the letter. The men explain to ... +


On Christmas Eve, 1895, on French-controlled Devil’s Island, where trustees of the penal colony are allowed to roam free, three escaped convicts—swindler Joseph and murderers Albert and Jules—plot ways to board a Paris-bound ship anchored offshore. Penniless and still wearing their prison garb, the convicts are approached by Arnaud, the ship’s young medical officer, who asks for directions. While chatting with Arnaud, Jules, a former safecracker, picks his pockets and inadvertently steals a letter addressed to Felix Ducotel, the local general store proprietor. The three decide to deliver the letter, and rob the store, and are delighted when the absent-minded, kindly Felix assumes they are convict laborers and hires them to fix his leaky roof. Once on the roof, the convicts eavesdrop on Felix and his wife Amelie as they discuss Felix’s cousin, Andre Trochard, the store’s owner. Amelie despises Andre for using his wealth to control the financially strapped Felix and threatening to fire him if the store fails to show a profit. Amelie also bemoans the fact that their impressionable eighteen-year-old daughter Isabelle is in love with Paul, Andre’s nephew and heir, who lives in Paris with his uncle, as she knows that Andre will never approve the match. When Isabelle asks her father about the still unopened letter, Felix realizes it is from Andre and panics. After reading that Andre has been quarantined on the ship and is demanding that Felix secure his release, Felix scurries to the dock. Isabelle then reads the letter and faints. Seeing her prostrate, the convicts jump down from the roof and also read the letter. The men explain to a bemused Amelie that Isabelle fainted upon reading Andre’s announcement that Paul is to marry the daughter of a rich business acquaintance. While young Albert carries the unconscious Isabelle to her room, Joseph blithely talks a bald man into buying an expensive comb and brush set from the store and inspects Felix’s account books. Although Jules and Albert begin to question their plan to rob and kill the Ducotels, Joseph insists they need money to escape. Joseph proceeds to sell an expensive coat for Felix, and Felix and Amelie, touched by the convicts’ apparent concern, invite them for Christmas Eve dinner. Joseph then dashes out and steals a turkey and other items for the meal, while Albert, who was jailed for killing his uncle over money, encourages Isabelle not to give up on Paul. Buoyed by Albert’s flattery, Isabelle tells the convicts they are like the three angels on her favorite Christmas tree decoration. That night after dinner, a grateful Felix gives the men some cash, and Albert and Jules again wonder if they can go through with their plan. Just then, Andre and Paul show up, having been released from the ship, and Andre declares that he has come to inspect Felix’s books and check the store’s inventory. Before retiring, the snide and suspicious Andre also tells Felix that Isabelle, who he assumes is after his money, cannot marry Paul. After lying to Andre that the store is making money, Joseph begs Felix to allow him to fix the books to show a profit. Felix is about to agree when Andre reappears, demanding to check the books that night. Although Joseph and Jules are now ready to give up and leave, Albert convinces them to stay to help Isabelle with Paul. Joseph forges a note from Paul to Isabelle, begging her to meet him in the garden, then he and Jules cajole Paul into talking to her. Isabelle tries to convince Paul to defy his uncle and marry her, but as soon as Andre catches them together and orders Paul to look at Felix’s books, the spineless Paul acquiesces. Infuriated by Andre’s accusations and bullying, the convicts conduct a mock trial, and Joseph condemns Andre to death. Joseph immediately changes his mind, but just then, Andre bursts in, yelling about missing store inventory. Andre grabs a decorative box he believes Albert has stolen and retreats to his bedroom, dismissing Albert’s warning that the box contains his poisonous pet viper Adolphe. Feeling that fate has intervened, the convicts make no further moves until morning. The next day, after entering Andre’s bedroom and finding him dead from a snake bite, Joseph forges a will leaving half of Andre’s estate to Felix and tries to get various family members to discover the body. At the same time, Albert and Jules search all over for the now missing Adolphe. Paul finally finds his uncle’s body and, barely hiding his glee, burns Joseph’s forged will, thereby assuring he will inherit everything. Paul then returns to his uncle’s room and is bitten by Adolphe, who was hiding in Andre’s pocket. The convicts escort the dying Paul to the summer house, where he is later discovered by Isabelle. At that moment, officer Arnaud, representing the board of health, arrives, having been summoned by Amelie and Felix. After making sure that Isabelle and the handsome Arnaud meet, the convicts steal some suits and bid the Ducotels farewell. At the dock, however, they realize they have become a little too “angelic” to escape, conclude they would soon be caught any way and head back to prison. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.