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Old 12-04-2008, 07:01 PM
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Default December 2nd - 4th means ''Casablanca''


Casablanca, in ''movie time'' took place over three days, December 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 1941--note the date on the below screen grab from the movie as Rick signs a voucher (with a film editor's wax pencil strangely enough). He also says later to Sam, ''It's December 1941 in Casablanca. What time is it in America?''


So, with that in mind, I thought I'd recommend a great December movie for everyone to watch.

To briefly preface all this with a great personal story: Just over three years ago a very good friend, professional photographer and former CIA operative and I were holed up on the twelfth floor in a ''guilded age'' executive office building on Park Avenue South in Manhattan. The office had been vacated while the building underwent renovations and we turned the entire floor into a photo studio and our ''home office'' where he and I worked writing his life story, photographed gorgeous models and other creative endeavors. We also actually ended up living there for a while. Each of us had taken one of the many empty offices and turned it into our creative abode. The larger space became the photo studio. We did this partly because we were in ''semi-hiding'' so to speak because he had contracts out on his life from former Colombian cartel baddies and corrupt government officials not keen on his telling his story. The only way to the office was by elevator and you had to have a key to stop it on the floor and of course the stairwell access was locked. The office had formerly been home to a media production company so it had quite the security system to protect equipment and other assets.

It was an interesting parade on a daily basis of fashion models, FBI agents and other ''men in black'', along with an occasional entertainment industry player as they all came in and out during the days. The office space is now the new Elite Models office, but back then it was ours exclusively. Occasionally we were informed that my friend was under yet another contract and we'd have to close down shop, lock the office doors in case the elevator was compromised, and set the alarms in order to sleep at night. The other ''tenants'' included two fashion models, a fashion designer, with occasional ''overnights'' by others.

Spending so much time there all led to what became known as ''movie night.'' The ''inaugural'' movie night I set aside for Casablanca and that happened on December 2nd. We invited a host of models, their friends and other fashion industry oriented people up and crowded into the conference room, which now without a table, was perfect for a theater. We had a really nice video projector at our disposal with a great sound system and voila. The cinema.

Anyway, to kick off this first movie night, I wrote up a great introduction for Casablanca, presented it like that guy on AMC and we had a blast. Movie night continued until the building was finally renovated, and then we all moved out. But for that one brief shining moment, we were living the coolest lifestyle.

So, below is the text of the introduction and hopefully, along with a few captures from the movie, it will inspire some here to take a brief break from Star Trek and enjoy a classic. I don't believe there are any ''spoilers'' in the introduction. I mainly set it up and give some background, but if you are concerned at all, I'd say don't read it. Also, it was written to be read aloud to an audience, so ignore the strange occasional punctuation.

Also, since this forum limits the number of images per post to 4, I'll have to break the intro up into parts.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:01 PM
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CASABLANCA INTRODUCTION - PART I



"...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."

Once upon a time, three people fell in love while the world around them fell apart.



Released by Warner Brothers in 1942, it's perhaps the most famous love story of all time...at least as far as cinema goes.

More famous even than the love affair between Jack and Rose in Titanic, Rick's and Ilsa's love affair will forever personify "what could have been."



Casablanca first played Thanksgiving Day, 1942 at the Hollywood Theater in Manhattan on Fourth Avenue between Prince and 14th Streets.


The movie's in black and white, but set the hot, sun-baked desert of North Africa, black and white seems perfect...maybe more-so than for any other film ever made in black and white.

It's certainly the best written, and features possibly the best ensemble cast ever to grace the screen.

It is the most quoted movie of all time.

Finally, with ''As Time Goes By'' as its theme, it has the most famous movie song since ''Somewhere Over the Rainbow.''
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:03 PM
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CASABLANCA INTRODUCTION - PART II


It's December 2nd, 1941, just days before the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the United States joins an already battle-torn Europe at war with Japan and Germany. World War Two. Much like the days before September 11th, America feels safe and secure...an ocean away...far from the problems of the rest of the world.

But across the Atlantic, Hitler's Nazi Germany has been on the move. Poland, Czechoslovakia, France...one by one, the great nations of Europe fell.

Refugees fleeing the invaders sought desperately to make it to America, but getting there was a long twisted journey. First they would have to get to Casablanca, and once there, obtain exit visas to get them on a plane to Lisbon, and from Lisbon on a ''clipper'' to America, a feat just short of a miracle, ''and the Germans have outlawed miracles.''



The hot spot in Casablanca is Rick's Café Americain, owned and operated by cynical American expatriate Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, possibly the most recognizable leading man in American cinema history. Rick is a former freedom fighter and mercenary, who for some reason can't return to America...and the reason is a mystery.


Rick is Indiana Jones meets Han Solo. He's fought on the losing side and he's been burned one too many times. Once the idealist who believed, he's now jaded and in it only for himself. Rick has many secrets and ''sticks his neck out for nobody.''

Rick travels nowhere without his constant companion and friend, Sam, a piano player. The two have been through countless adventures together all over the world and seem to belong together for all time.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:06 PM
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CASABLANCA INTRODUCTION - PART III


Ilsa Lund, played by the timeless and beautiful Ingrid Bergman. Ilsa met Rick in Paris just weeks before German forces occupied the city in June, 1940. They fell in love. As Hitler's army marched in and Paris fell, Ilsa was supposed to meet Rick at the train station to leave together, but Ilsa has a secret and she never showed up, leaving a heartbroken Rick standing in the rain holding a letter written to him saying ''good-bye forever.''

Rick and Sam fled to Casablanca, where Rick put his hard-earned money into a scary business venture...he bought a club.

On any given night there are a hundred different stories happening in the dark corners of Rick's Café. Desperate souls in desperate times doing anything to get to America...

Captain Renault, portrayed by the legendary Claude Rains, is the friendly, womanizing, and graciously corrupt man in charge of the police. Renault, like everyone else in Casablanca, lives for today, and with a healthy dose of cynicism, he provides most of the memorable one-liners.

Victor Lazlo is the "true hero" of Casablanca. Paul Henreid's Victor Lazlo is a man of nine lives. He's idealistic, optimistic, and believes in something greater than himself. He's the lone shining star in a town full of cynics and broken people.

Lazlo fled his home country of Czechoslovakia when the Nazis invaded but now he leads the fight for freedom for all nations under the iron fist of Hitler's evil German Reich. Lazlo makes us want to believe and hope and dream again.



It's December, 1941.

In America, singer Bob Dylan, actress Faye Dunaway and Vice President Dick Cheney were born. Meanwhile the rest of the country ''is asleep'' unaware of the coming Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In an attic in Amsterdam, a teenage girl named Anne Frank hides with her family and writes in her diary of love she will never know. Eventually she and her family will be discovered and taken off to a concentration camp, and she will disappear forever.

And in a small town in North Africa, ''everybody goes to Rick's.''

While Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris, we will always have Casablanca.


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Old 12-04-2008, 07:15 PM
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Well done, and a solid tribute to a great film... which just got a box set release on DVD, by the way.

For any and all film fans: if you ever get the chance to see CASABLANCA on the big screen at a festival or revival, by all means go! No matter how many times you've seen it at home, watching it unfold on the big screen is a very different experience and one you won't forget.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:15 AM
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Howard Koch, the writer of "Casablanca" didn't know how the movie was going to end, as they were in production. Literally, he was making this movie up as they went along. When one of the characters says, onscreen, "But how will it all end?" and Bogart replies, "Well, why don't you just keep going, and maybe something will occur to you." He was actually speaking what was going on in Mr. Koch's head at the typewriter...

Howard was an amazing man. He wrote not only Casablanca, but Citizen Kane, and was also responsible for writing the (in)famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast that frightened a war jittery America with Orson Welles behind the microphone.
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