This Thursday, December 17 catch a couple of films that put a unique spin on the holiday spirit starting with Humphrey Bogart in WE’RE NO ANGELS at 7:30 PM, followed by John Wayne in THREE GODFATHERS.
The first film on the bill is We’re No Angels. I can promise you you’ve never seen Bogart like this before. The rugged icon of the Golden Age of Hollywood stars in a light little comedy as a Devil’s Island escapee at the turn of the Century. Just before Christmas, three convicts (Bogart accompanied by Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov!) flee from the famed prison and head to a small coastal town in France in order to steal some money and continue their escape. However, they actually end up befriending the proprietors of the store they set out to rob, and even lend a hand in changing the course of their lives for the better. The cast includes a perfectly snooty Basil Rathbone and a wonderfully amiable Leo G. Carroll. Bogart is delightfully cunning and charming, Ray is a sweetheart of a lug, and Ustinov plays the role that convinced me he could do no wrong. Fun and funny, this is a family friendly film that will make even the most diehard disbeliever realize that Bogart was a great straight man for comedy that never had enough opportunities to show off his more playful abilities.
The second film of the night is a John Ford/ John Wayne collaboration that you very likely have not seen, but absolutely should! Three Godfathers is an often-remade tale (once by Ford himself) that costars Mexican matinee star Pedro Armendariz and Harry Carey, Jr. (son of famed silent Western star Harry Carey) with the Duke as likable bandits who find redemption in the form of an orphan placed in their care. It’s a sweet and funny story with splashes of action that calls to mind elements of the three wise men and a similar trek through a desert at Christmas time a long time ago. Ford stock actor Ward Bond plays the sheriff that pursues them as the not so desperate hombres look after their young charge, making supreme sacrifices in order to keep their promise to a dying woman. It’s not likely a Christmas tale you’re soon to forget.
Who ever came up with this double bill at the American Cinematheque is a genius, and I can’t wait to see what else they come up with in the coming year.
The Egyptian is located on Hollywood Blvd. near Highland in the heart of Hollywood. Tickets can be purchased at the theater, or you can go online at www.egyptiantheatre.com.