Before Xmas TCM broadcast We’re No Angels, a black comedy that takes place in a colonial town in French Guiana in the days before and after Christmas. Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray and Peter Ustinov play three convicts who essentially function as angels for a rather hapless, but well-meaning, middle-class family. In the original French play the convicts were working off ‘forced residency’ following their sentences at Devil’s Island, but in the film they have slipped away from captivity and into town, and they intend to escape aboard ship.

I’d love to design a set for the theatrical version, because watching from above (roof windows), the convicts take an interest in a shopkeeper couple played by Leo G Carroll and Joan Bennett and grow particularly fond of their naive daughter, played by Gloria Talbott. The convicts step in and use their criminal expertise to help the store prosper, and later…

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