Thursday, May 24, 2018
Movies

'Casablanca' celebrates 70th anniversary on the big screen

Just as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund will always have Paris, movie lovers will always have Casablanca.

For 70 years the star-crossed wartime romance of Rick and Ilsa — memorably portrayed by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman — has thrilled audiences. On Wednesday, viewers in 450 theaters across the U.S. will see a digitally restored Casablanca in its element, on big screens, sitting raptly among strangers in the dark.

Casablanca is probably second only to The Wizard of Oz with regard to references in hundreds of movies and TV shows, from Play it Again, Sam and When Harry Met Sally, to Frasier and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Yet what makes Casablanca so widely imitated is the perfection making the original impossible to recreate. No studio executives in their right minds would greenlight a Casablanca remake.

They would regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of their lives.

But what if someone did? Who could possibly replace Bogart, Bergman and their indelible co-stars?

The idea occasionally floats around Hollywood, usually with some currently hot celebrity couple in mind: Bennifer, Brangelina, or Madonna and whomever she seduced at the time. Stardom and vanity would likely overshadow the story.

I'm not rounding up the usual suspects for a dream cast, and don't expect anyone to agree with my choices. It doesn't take much to see that the opinions of one little movie critic don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

But here's looking at these kids:

Rick Blaine: Bogie wasn't a classically handsome and tender leading man, so let's eliminate the obvious options of George Clooney and Brad Pitt. We need an actor capable of showing vulnerability beneath a rugged, world-weary exterior. Someone romantic in spite of himself, and not so famous that casting overshadows the character. Welcome to Casablanca, Clive Owen.

Ilsa Lund: Bergman's icy beauty is impossible to duplicate, so let's focus upon the continental flavor of the role. Ilsa is a cultured, confident woman after traveling the globe, breaking hearts, with lingering regret about it. The role requires an actor capable of softening a steely demeanor at precisely the right moments. With her own European accent tempered like Bergman's, we'll go with Oscar winner Marion Cotillard.

Victor Laszlo: This is where we cast a bankable leading man, one who won't mind when he gets the girl but not really her heart. Paul Henried was a perfect compliment to Bergman; both classy and beautiful. We want someone who'll strike the same sparks with Cotillard while artfully concealing his envy of Owen. Everything is in order, Ryan Gosling.

Capt. Louis Renault: The amusingly corrupt French policeman patrolling Casablanca is one of the two easiest roles to recast: We'll be shocked, shocked to find anyone except Oscar winner Jean Dujardin strolling into the fog with Owen at the fadeout. That could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Major Heinrich Strasser: This is the other bit of slam-dunk casting. We need an imperious Nazi ferreting out resistance fighters, and viewing Rick's alleged neutrality with suspicion. Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, you had the role at the word "Nazi."

Signor Ugarte: The petty criminal dealing letters of transit he murdered two Nazis to obtain is a small but crucial role, originally played by Peter Lorre. The remake needs an actor who'll recall Lorre's strangeness and capture the pathetic soul inside. After what he showed in Young Adult, I'd suggest the wild card candidate Patton Oswalt.

Sam the piano player: Essentially a cameo, so go with a star. My pick is an actor-musician who can carry off one of the most famous movie songs ever, and who realizes the significance of Dooley Wilson's role for African-Americans. Play it, Jamie Foxx.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women accuse Morgan Freeman of sexual misconduct in CNN report

Eight women have accused actor Morgan Freeman of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior on-set, at his production company, and during press junkets, according to a report.CNN reports that 16 people have spoken out against Freeman’s alleged misco...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

SHORTS: Art and Short Film Mini-Fest A fundraiser for the [email protected] brings an Art and Short Film Mini-Fest to the studio Thursday, May 24. There will be four short films, an exhibit of artwork by Corinne Leavengood and photography by Diana Lucas Le...
Published: 05/23/18
Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

Cress Williams of ‘Black Lightning’ talks Season 2, being recognized as a superhero before MegaCon Orlando

No matter what Cress Williams does the rest of his acting career, he’ll always be remembered as the first to play Black Lightning.The 47-year-old actor with roles on ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Friday Night Lights is now that face of a DC comics franchise...
Published: 05/22/18
The young Han Solo movie is here. And let’s just say a robot is the best part.

The young Han Solo movie is here. And let’s just say a robot is the best part.

Washington PostSolo: A Star Wars Story begins with the Star Wars franchise’s signature tag line, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." But it seems like only yesterday that the title character met his end in The Force Awakens, the first insta...
Published: 05/21/18
What’s in theaters: ‘Deadpool 2,’ ‘Book Club,’ a Pope Francis documentary and STEM movies

What’s in theaters: ‘Deadpool 2,’ ‘Book Club,’ a Pope Francis documentary and STEM movies

CinemaSTEM: Best in ShowTampa Theatre is making science, technology, engineering and math the star of its new CinemaSTEM movie series. The historic movie house will pair popular films with experts talking about some of the science that pops up in the...
Published: 05/16/18
‘Deadpool 2’ cracks jokes at the expense of nearly every intellectual property in the DC and Marvel universes

‘Deadpool 2’ cracks jokes at the expense of nearly every intellectual property in the DC and Marvel universes

When Deadpool referred to Cable as "Thanos," the guy sitting next to me lost it. Because, you know, Thanos is the name of the villain in Avengers: Infinity War who is played by Josh Brolin, who also plays Cable, who is mostly the villain in Deadpool ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/17/18
A Plant City movie to make history by becoming first released on a blockchain

A Plant City movie to make history by becoming first released on a blockchain

When making his latest feature film, director and producer Jeremy Culver went old school in this digital age, shooting No Postage Necessary on 35-millimeter. But when it came to distributing the movie to the masses, Culver went new school. Sonew sch...
Published: 05/11/18
11 royal films to watch before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day

11 royal films to watch before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day

It’s safe to say Meghan Markle took the road less traveled on her way to becoming British royalty. For starters, she’s American (an Angeleno, to be specific). Second, she’s an actress (not exactly a noble profession, no offense Hollywood). And last b...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this weekend: ‘RBG,’ ‘Life of the Party,’ ‘Breaking In’

What’s in theaters this weekend: ‘RBG,’ ‘Life of the Party,’ ‘Breaking In’

INDIE FLICKS: RBGThe notion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the diminutive and soft-spoken Supreme Court justice, as a judicial "rock star" — at least in the eyes of progressives who love her sharply worded dissents to opinions rendered by the increasingly c...
Updated one month ago
Sing along to ‘The Little Mermaid’ and catch Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival in St. Pete Beach

Sing along to ‘The Little Mermaid’ and catch Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival in St. Pete Beach

FILM FEST: Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival on TourA roving iteration of the famous short-film showcase in Telluride, Colo., the Mountainfilm Festival on Tour makes a stop at the Don CeSar Hotel this weekend. The intent of the tour is to help spread...
Updated one month ago