A Reader Shares His Thoughts on His Favorite Films, Part Two

Favorite Films

There are still some movies I don’t have a copy of, some because they have not come out on DVD yet: The Sea Wolf (1941) with Edward G. Robinson and John Garfield and First Yank in Tokyo (1945) with Tom Neal, to name two. There are others I didn’t own because the price is over my budget, including Experiment in Terror (1962) with Glenn Ford and We’re No Angels (the 1955 Humphrey Bogart/Peter Ustinov/Aldo Ray version, not the 1989 remake with Sean Penn and Robert De Niro [I forgive you, Mr.DeNiro!]). Well, …hallelujah, I got a promo from Movies Unlimited for a 50% off sale, and, lo and behold, there was We’re No Angels for a very reasonable price, so I now have that movie.

There are hundreds of reasons why a movie means something special to us, and I usually try to think why this particular movie means something to me beyond the fact that it’s a good picture.  In this case, it’s the remembrance of good times with good friends.

Mike and Maryanne were the first of our crowd to get married, so Saturday nights were usually spent partying at their Abington, Massachusetts home. We would congregate there since it was less expensive than going out both weekend nights (most of us were just starting out on the work world). They were gracious hosts, and an added bonus was the fact that Mike was a cameraman/film editor for the fledgeling channel 5 in the Boston area circa 1965. One of the percs of Mike’s job was he could borrow one of their 16mm projectors and a film from their library. One time Mike brought home We’re No Angels, and we all fell in love with the movie. It became a staple of our Saturday nights at Mike and Maryanne’s, at least once every five or six weeks.  Sure we talked throughout the movie; we even spoke the lines at the appropriate time. No disrespect to the actors, it was a social event, and life was good !

I have always felt this movie was Bogart’s best comedic role, after The African Queen, and it humanized Aldo Ray from his many “bullying” roles, and…well, it just made you like Peter Ustinov even more than you did before. I still make my own popcorn in a pot (none of that phony butter for me), and they’re predicting light snow for Falmouth tonight, a perfect time to watch an old movie–or “new” in this case, at least to me. And now I have my own copy, and when I watch it, in some small way, I will be back in Mike and Maryanne’s living room with old friends–many of whom are no longer with us–and I might even speak the lines aloud !

Bill Dunphy enjoys photography, cooking, reading, and, of course, movies–of which he has about 350 in his library.