Posted in Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Casablanca

casa1Still one of my fav movies for dialogue. And it stars Humphrey Bogart, my first love, well, one of the firsts, it’s hard to remember.

Sadly, Ingrid Bergman is more of a Barbie figure with limited facial expressions: worried and adoring, sometimes worriedly adoring or adoringly worried. I never thought this was her best, although I loved her wardrobe.

This was a love story with a perfect ending. If that doesn’t satisfy the viewer you can always imagine Ilsa and Richard get together after the war when Laszlo doesn’t need her strength anymore.

The bromance between Riccasa7k (Bogart) and Renault (the magnificent and sardonic Claude Rains) is the best part of the movie; especially as Renault And Rick walk off into the fog together and Rick says: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

If you’ve never given yourself the gift of watching this movie, do so. If you have, do it again…you’re worth it.

Some interesting info about Casablanca:

Casablanca wasn’t expected to be a hit, just one in a string of patriotic World War II films and Bogart’s first try as a leading man. Bit of a shock when it went on to be one of the greatest movies of all time.

Humphrey Bogart was a brilliant chess player. casa2

 Many extras in Casablanca were European émigrés who shed real tears while filming the battle of the anthems scene. Conrad Veidt, (Major Strasser) had escaped with his Jewish wife from Germany in 1933 when he learned he was being targeted by the SSVeidt was resolute in being cast only as Nazi villains believing it would help the war effort.

Even though it’s in black and white (spare yourself the horror of the Colorized version) we know the colour of Ilsa’s dress the day the Germans invaded Paris. “The Germans wore gray. You wore blue”.

casa9There’s been talk of a sequel and a few unsuccessful remakes and prequels, but no success. However, I did love Bugs Bunny in Carrotblanca and The Marx Bros in A Night in Casablanca.

No one in Casablanca ever says, “Play it again Sam”…one of the most famous misquotes of all time.casa5

Rick dramatically reads the dissolving note from Ilsa in the rain at the train station in Paris…seconds later he and Sam are getting on the train, dry as a bone.

Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre (he was sooo cool) had previously appeared in the amazing The Maltese Falcon together.

Dooley Wilson (Sam) was actually a drummer; didn’t play piano.

Too many best lines, here’s a few…

Yvonne: “Will I see you tonight?”
Rick: “…I never make plans that far ahead.”

Rick: “…My health, I came to Casablanca for the waters.”
Renault: “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.”
Rick: “…I was misinformed.”

Ugarte: “You despise me, don’t you?”
Rick: “…If I gave you any thought, I probably would.”

Renault:Major Strasser’s been shot.” (Glances at Rick, holding the smoking gun, and he repeats–) “…Round up the usual suspects.”

Rick: “But it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now. Here’s looking at you, kid.”casa4

Posted in Christmas, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

christmas55I must say I’m partial to the black and white version, seems more authentic.
Why is this such a Christmas classic? In some ways because of its similarities to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Whether it’s a rich man who has lost the joy of Christmas or an everyday working person who just feels like the world would be better off without him, we love, love, love stories of redemption. We love to believe that no matter how far gone you are, there’s always hope, always a way back. Christmas is a time of hope, a time when people want to believe that all things can be put right again. And I love anything James Stewart was in.bankers4

It’s not a complicated story, in fact, its utter simplicity makes it appealing.

You can keep going, long after you think you can’t.ImageFunny notes:
The real name of the actor who played Nick the bartender is Sheldon Leonard (think Big Bang Theory)

The policeman is named Bert and his friend the cab driver is Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie, Sesame Street)

Who says product placement is getting worse? The products and advertisements featured in Mr. Gower’s drugstore include: Coca-Cola, Bayer Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, The Saturday Evening Post, Camel cigarettes, Lucky Strike cigarettes, La Unica cigars, Chesterfield cigarettes, Vaseline hair tonic, Penetro cough syrup, and Paterson tobacco pipes. Apparently the people of Bedford Falls were heavy smokers.

In Gremlins, Billy’s hometown is Kingston Falls, laid out to look like Bedord Falls and also has clips from It’s A Wonderful Life.

Kermit the Frog examines what would of happened if he’s never been born It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, a nod to It’s A Wonderful Life.bankers3

Cheers, Saturday Night Live, Veggietales, The Simpsons, Mork & Mindy, Family Guy, Raising Hope, Red Dwarf, ZuZu’s Petals, The Killers, and more have imitated or referenced this film, it’s a pop culture staple.

It’s A Wonderful Life lost RKO $525,000 at the box office during it’s original run.christmas46

Posted in Books, Family, Movies, Uncategorized

THE BOOK THIEF

bookt1To be honest, I picked The Book Thief by Markus Zusak because as a book addict I found the title intriguing.

Not the light read I had hoped for that day, with the exception of a few oddly funny moments provided by the Narrator, Death. I can see why it’s been on The New York Times Best Seller list for close to 300 weeks.

I’m guardedly optimistic that the film adaptation, with the talents of Brian Perceival (Downton Abbey, North and South, The Ruby in the Smoke, The Old Curiosity Shop, Shakespeare Retold), Michael Petroni (Till Human Voices Wake Us), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean, Shine, Munich, Shakespeare in Love), Emily Watson (War Horse, Gosford Park), will do this book credit.

Germany, World War II. Liesel, a young Jewish girl whose blonde hair helps her ‘pass’ calls herself, The Book Thief. Splayed among the everyday life with her foster parents are tormenting nightmares of her mother and dead brother, unexpected kindness by some, evil of others, and the looming authority of an excessively engaged Narrator.bookt2

Finishing the book, I sat for several minutes, waiting. I didn’t know for what. Only that I felt I shouldn’t just move on, not to another book or chore or activity. I needed to be in that place.

Then the pure horror and joy assailed me. It has all happened many times before and it will happen again. Humans going after humans, various reasons in various ways. People helping and standing up for others, even when it’s dangerous to do so. We are a drumming paradox stroking and punching through time, an echo of who we should be and are.

I have to agree with Death, “I am haunted by humans”. bookt5