Tag Archives: Movies

Casablanca Released in Theaters

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman filming the final scene of Casablanca.

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman filming the final scene of Casablanca.

On January 23, 1943, romantic war drama Casablanca was released in United States theaters. The iconic film tops many “greatest films of all time” lists, and has grown in popularity over the years as a generational touchstone, referenced countless times in other areas of popular culture.

The film was made and is set during World War II in French-occupied Morocco. The story line follows Humphrey Bogart‘s character, Rick, an American and owner of “Rick’s Café Américain,” which is known as a place for expatriates and refugees. Trouble arises when Rick’s ex-lover, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), and her seemingly new husband and fugitive Czech resistance leader (Paul Henreid) arrive in Casablanca, searching for exit visas to escape to the United States. The three then become wrapped up in a volatile web of political and romantic espionage. Rick is forced to choose between love and the greater good. The film was Bogart’s first time to play the part of romantic leading man, and it has since become one of his most celebrated roles. His character’s tough exterior and sentimental and wounded heart combine to make him a quintessential part of Hollywood’s golden age of renowned players.

No one involved in the production of Casablanca expected the movie to be anything extraordinary. It was one of hundreds of films that came out every year in Hollywood, and was not thought to have a huge impact. This belief was held despite the fact that producer Hal B. Wallis paid $20,000, the most anyone had ever paid, for the rights to the play Casablanca was based on, Everybody Comes to Rick’s. After it’s release, Casablanca was met with mostly good reviews, though many were still unenthusiastic about the film. The New Yorker called it just “pretty tolerable.”

In spite of unfavorable reviews from some audiences, Casablanca grossed a substantial, though not incredible, $3.7 million during its initial release. The release also coincided with the Casablanca Conference, which was an important meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The film studio utilized this as a type of free publicity. Casablanca was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three – Best Writing, Screenplay; Best Director, and Outstanding Motion Picture.

Over the years, where other movies of the era faded into the past, Casablanca‘s popularity has continued to grow, turning it into a timeless classic which has a legendary status that propels it above other cinema. It’s combination of romance, comedy, and patriotism in a time of war resonate with audiences of the past and present.  The film had grossed $6.8 million by 1955, making it the third most successful wartime movie of Warner Bros. Studios. It also became the most broadcasted film on American television by 1977.

The movie has become such a large part of popular culture over the years, that even those who have not seen the movie are still able to quote some of it’s most famous lines like, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” which was improvised by Bogart during filming, and “Play it, Sam,” which is probably the most misquoted line in film history, largely due to the Woody Allen movie titled Play it Again, Sam. Six memorable quotes from the movie made it onto the American Film Institues 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes.

Though many have tried to recreate this masterpiece of American cinema in their own way, few have succeeded in receiving favorable reviews. A few examples include the ill-fated 1980 rip-off, Caboblanco, featuring Charles Bronson as a Peruvian barkeeper and 1996′s Barb Wire with Baywatch‘s Pamela Anderson giving a failed attempt at a futuristic version of Bogie’s role. Some remakes and spoofs have received applause though, including Carrotblanca, a short Looney Tune’s version of the famous film with Bugs Bunny filling Bogart’s shoes.

In the over 70 years since the release of this American classic, the film continues to win over the hearts of viewers young and old, remaining a piece of cinematic history that, as playwright Murray Burnett said is “true yesterday, true today, true tomorrow.”

Sources: Wikipedia, Turner Classic Movies, IMDB

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Robert Downey Jr.’s Birthday

RDJApril 4 is American actor Robert Downey Jr.’s Birthday!

Born in 1965, Robert Downey Jr. has had a tumultuous acting career facilitated by his longtime battle with drugs and alcohol. As a child, he acted in his director father’s underground films Pound and Greaser’s Palace.

In his twenties, he became known as a member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack for his roles in Weird Science, The Pick-Up Artist, and other coming-of-age films in the 1980s. In 1987, he played rich drug addict Julian Wells in the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel Less Than Zero, a role that Downey went on to say “was like the ghost of Christmas Future.”

From 1996-2001 Downey’s life began spiraling out of control as he was in and out of rehab facilities and jail due to his severe drug use. After years of binges, drug-fueled arrests, and reckless behavior, Robert Downey Jr. finally decided enough was enough and got clean. This decision led to a major career comeback and starring roles as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Sherlock Homes. With another Iron Man to be released this year and multiple projects in the works, Downey’s acting career doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Happy Birthday Robert Downey Jr.!

Sources: Wikipedia, Biography

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Nathan Fillion’s Birthday

March 27 is Nathan Fillion’s birthday!

Canadian actor Nathan Fillion was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1971. He is most famous for his role in the ABC television series Castle, where he portrays a mystery writer named Richard Castle who shadows Detective Beckett as research for a character in his new novel series.

For his birthday this year, Nathan Fillion isn’t asking for presents; He’s asking for water. Here’s what he wrote on his donation page:

Last year, you helped celebrate my birthday by building several wells for over 3000 people. That’s something none of us can do on our own, but together with My Charity Water it’s a piece of cake. But, don’t send cake. We want water. Let’s build even more wells this year.

Learn more about My Charity Water.

Sources: NathanFillion.org, Wikipedia

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