Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Back in 1995 Corrie celebrated its 35th Birthday. To mark this occasion Granada released a collection of commemorative stamps depicting certain characters over the years. This particular stamp features the Street's first & best scally, Mr Raymond Langton himself played by the excellent Neville Buswell.
Can you see George Raft as Rick? Jack Warner did, but producer Hal Wallis wanted Bogart. Considered by many to be the best film ever made and one of the most quoted movies of all time, it rocketed Bogart from gangster roles to romantic leads as he and Bergman (who never looked lovelier) sizzle on screen. Bogart runs a gin joint in Morocco during the Nazi occupation, and meets up with Bergman, an old flame, but romance and politics do not mix, especially in Nazi-occupied French Morocco. Greenstreet, Lorre, and Rains all create memorable characters, as does Wilson, the piano player to whom Bergman says the oft-misquoted, "Play it, Sam." Without a doubt, the best closing scene ever written; it was scripted on the fly during the end of shooting, and actually shot several ways. Written from an unproduced play. See it in the original black and white. 50th Anniversary Edition contains a restored and remastered print, the original 1942 theatrical trailer, a film documentary narrated by Lauren Bacall, and a booklet.
Casablanca was a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War 2 , it focuses on a man torn between, in the words of one character, love and virtue. He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her and her Czech Resistance leader husband escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Although it was an A-list film, with established stars and first-rate writers—Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein and Howard Koch received credit for the screenplay—no one involved with its production expected Casablanca to be anything out of the ordinary; it was just one of dozens of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. The film was a solid, if unspectacular, success in its initial run, rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied Invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier. Despite a changing assortment of screenwriters frantically adapting an unstaged play and barely keeping ahead of production, and Bogart attempting his first romantic lead role, Casablanca won three Academy-Awards, including Best Picture. Its characters, dialogue, and music have become iconic, and Casablanca has grown in popularity to the point that it now consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a cynical American expatriate living in Casablanca in early December 1941. He owns and runs "Rick's Café Américain", an upscale nightclub and gambling den that attracts a mixed clientele: Vichy French, Italian, and Nazi officials; refugees desperately seeking to reach the United States, as yet uninvolved in the war; and those who prey on them. Although Rick professes to be neutral in all matters, it is later revealed he ran guns to Ethiopia to combat the 1935 Italian Invasion and fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War.
Ugarte (Peter Lorre), a petty criminal, arrives in Rick's club with "letters of transit" obtained through the murder of two German couriers. The papers allow the bearer to travel freely around German-controlled Europe and to neutral Portugal, and from there to America. The letters are almost priceless to the continual stream of refugees who end up stranded in Casablanca. Ugarte plans to sell them to the highest bidder, who is due to arrive at the club later that night. Before the exchange can take place, Ugarte is arrested by the local police under the command of Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), a self-admitted corrupt opportunist. Ugarte dies in police custody without revealing that he had entrusted the letters to Rick.
At this point, the reason for Rick's bitterness re-enters his life. His ex-lover, Norwegian Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), walks into his establishment. Upon seeing the house pianist, Sam (Dooley Wilson), Ilsa asks him to play "As Time Goes By.". When Rick storms over, furious that Sam has disobeyed his order never to perform that song, he is shocked to see Ilsa. She is accompanied by her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a fugitive Czech Resistance leader who has escaped from a Nazi Concentration Camp. The couple need the letters to leave for America to continue his work. German Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) arrives in Casablanca to see to it that Laszlo does not succeed.
When Laszlo makes inquiries with Signor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet), a major figure in the criminal underworld and Rick's friendly business rival, Ferrari divulges his suspicion that Rick has the letters. Laszlo meets with Rick privately, but Rick refuses to part with the documents, telling Laszlo to ask his wife for the reason. They are interrupted when Strasser leads a group of officers in singing "Die Wacht am Rhein". In response, Laszlo orders the house band to play "La Marseillaise". When the band looks to Rick for guidance, he nods his head. Laszlo starts singing, alone at first, then patriotic fervor grips the crowd and everyone joins in, drowning out the Germans. In retaliation, Strasser has Renault close the club.
That night, Ilsa confronts Rick in the deserted café. When he refuses to give her the letters, she threatens him with a gun, but then confesses that she still loves him. She explains that when they first met and fell in love in Paris, she believed that her husband had been killed attempting to escape from the concentration camp. Later, while preparing to flee with Rick from the imminent fall of the city to the German army, she learned that Laszlo was in fact alive and in hiding. She left Rick without explanation to tend to her ill husband. With the revelation, the lovers are reconciled. Rick agrees to help, leading her to believe that she will stay behind with him when Laszlo leaves. When Laszlo unexpectedly shows up, having narrowly escaped a police raid on a Resistance meeting, Rick has waiter Carl (S.K Sakall) secretly take Ilsa back to the hotel while the two men talk.
Laszlo reveals he is aware of Rick's love for Ilsa and tries to persuade him to use the letters to take her to safety. When the police arrest Laszlo on a minor, trumped-up charge, Rick convinces Renault to release him by promising to set him up for a much more serious crime: possession of the letters of transit. To allay Renault's suspicions, Rick explains he and Ilsa will be leaving for America.
When Renault tries to arrest Laszlo as arranged, Rick forces him at gunpoint to assist in their escape. At the last moment, Rick makes Ilsa board the plane to Lisbon with her husband, telling her she would regret it if she stayed, "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
Major Strasser, tipped off by Renault, drives up alone. Rick shoots him when he tries to intervene. When his men arrive, Renault pauses, then tells them to "Round up the usual suspects." Once they are alone, Renault suggests to Rick they join the Free French at Brfazzaville. They walk off into the fog with one of the most memorable exit lines in movie history: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
The film was based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's then-unproduced play, "Everybody Comes to Ricks." The Warner Bros story analyst who read the play, Stephen Karnot, called it (approvingly) "sophisticated hokum", and story editor Irene Diamond convinced Producer Hal Wallis to buy the rights in January 1942 for $20,000, the most anyone in Hollywood had ever paid for an unproduced play. The project was renamed Casablanca, apparently in imitation of the 1938 hit Algiers. Although an initial filming date was selected for April 10, 1942, delays led to a start of production on May 25. Filming was completed on August 3, and the production cost $1,039,000 ($75,000 over budget), above average for the time. The film was shot in sequence, mainly because only the first half of the script was ready when filming began.
The entire picture was shot in the studio, except for the sequence showing Major Strasser's arrival, which was filmed at Van Nuys Airport, and a few short clips of stock footage views of Paris. The street used for the exterior shots had recently been built for another film, The Desert Song and redressed for the Paris flashbacks. It remained on the Warners backlot until the 1960s. The set for Rick's was built in three unconnected parts, so the internal layout of the building is indeterminate. In a number of scenes, the camera looks through a wall from the cafe area into Rick's office. The background of the final scene, which shows a Lockheed Model 12 Electra model airplane with personnel walking around it, was staged using midget extras and a proportionate cardboard plane. Fog was used to mask the model's unconvincing appearance. Nevertheless, the Disney's Hollywood theme park in Orlando, Florida purchased a Lockheed 12A for its Great Movie Ride attraction, and initially claimed that it was the actual plane used in the film. Film critic Roger Ebert called Hal Wallis the "key creative force" for his attention to the details of production (down to insisting on a real parrot in the Blue Parrot bar).
The original play was inspired by a trip to Europe made by Murray Burnett in 1938, during which he visited Vienna shortly after the Anschluss, where he saw discrimination by Nazis first-hand. In the south of France, he came across a nightclub, which had a multinational clientele and the prototype of Sam, the black piano player. In the play, the Ilsa character was an American named Lois Meredith and did not meet Laszlo until after her relationship with Rick in Paris had ended; Rick was a lawyer. To make Rick's motivation more believable, Wallis, Curtiz, and the screenwriters decided to set the film before the events of Pearl Harbor.
The first writers assigned to the script were the Epstein twins, Julius and Philip who, against the wishes of Warner Brothers, left the project after the attack on Pearl Harbor to work with Frank Capra on the Why We Fight series in Washington DC. While they were gone, the other credited writer, Howard Koch was assigned to the script and produced some thirty to forty pages. When the Epstein brothers returned after a month, they were reassigned to Casablanca and—contrary to what Koch claimed in two published books—his work was not used. In the final Warner Brothers budget for the film, the Epsteins were paid $30,416 and Koch $4,200.
The uncredited Casey Robinson assisted with three weeks of rewrites, including contributing the series of meetings between Rick and Ilsa in the cafe. Koch highlighted the political and melodramatic elements, while Curtiz seems to have favored the romantic parts, insisting on retaining the Paris flashbacks. Wallis wrote the final line ("Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.") after shooting had been completed. Bogart had to be called in a month after the end of filming to dub it. Despite the many writers, the film has what Ebert describes as a "wonderfully unified and consistent" script. Koch later claimed it was the tension between his own approach and Curtiz's which accounted for this: "Surprisingly, these disparate approaches somehow meshed, and perhaps it was partly this tug of war between Curtiz and me that gave the film a certain balance." Julius Epstein would later note the screenplay contained "more corn than in the states of Kansas and Iowa combined. But when corn works, there's nothing better."
The film ran into some trouble from Joseph Breen of the Production Code Administration (the Hollywood self-censorship body), who opposed the suggestions that Captain Renault extorted sexual favors from his supplicants, and that Rick and Ilsa had slept together in Paris. Extensive changes were made, with several lines of dialogue removed and/or altered, and all direct references to sex in the film removed. Additionally, when Sam played "As Time Goes By" in the original script, Rick had remarked "What the —— are you playing?" This line implying a curse word was removed at the behest of the Hays Office, and both Renault's selling of visas for sex, and Rick and Ilsa's previous sexual relationship were implied elliptically rather than referenced explicitly.The film has grown in popularity. Murray Burnett called it "true yesterday, true today, true tomorrow". By 1955, the film had brought in $6.8 million, making it only the third most successful of Warners' wartime movies (behind Shine on Harvest Moon and This is the Army). On April 21, 1957, the Brattle Theatre of Cambridge, Massachusetts, showed the film as part of a season of old movies. It was so popular that it began a tradition of screening Casablanca during the week of final exams at Harvard University which continues to the present day, and is emulated by many colleges across the United States. Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology who himself attended one of these screenings, had said that the experience was, "the acting out of my own personal rite of passage". The tradition helped the movie remain popular while other famous films of the 1940s have faded away, and by 1977, Casablanca was the most frequently broadcast film on American television. On the film's 50th anniversary, the Los Angeles Times called Casablanca's great strength "the purity of its Golden Age Hollywoodness [and] the enduring craftsmanship of its resonantly hokey dialogue". The newspaper believed the film achieved a "near-perfect entertainment balance" of comedy, romance, and suspense.
According to Robert Ebert, Casablanca is "probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including "Citizen Kane" because of its wider appeal. Ebert opined that Citizen Kane is generally considered to be a "greater" film but Casablanca is more loved. Ebert said that he has never heard of a negative review of the film, even though individual elements can be criticized, citing unrealistic special efects and the stiff character/portrayal of Laszlo. Rudy Belhmer emphasized the variety in the picture: "it's a blend of drama, melodrama, comedy [and] intrigue". Film critic Leonard Maltin has stated that Casablanca is his favorite movie of all time.
Ebert has said that the film is popular because "the people in it are all so good" and that it is "a wonderful gem". As the Resistance hero, Laszlo is ostensibly the most noble, although he is so stiff that he is hard to like. The other characters, in Behlmer's words, are "not cut and dried": they come into their goodness in the course of the film. Renault begins the film as a collaborator with the Nazis, who extorts sexual favors from refugees and has Ugarte killed. Rick, according to Behlmer, is "not a hero,... not a bad guy": he does what is necessary to get along with the authorities and "sticks his neck out for nobody". Even Ilsa, the least active of the main characters, is "caught in the emotional struggle" over which man she really loves. By the end of the film, however, "everybody is sacrificing."
|Directed by||Michael Curtiz|
|Produced by||Hal B. Wallis|
|Screenplay by||Julius J. Epstein|
Philip G. Epstein
|Based on||Everyone Comes to Rick's by|
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Editing by||Owen Marks|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||November 26, 1942(premiere)|
January 23, 1943(general release)
|Running time||102 minutes|
|Gross revenue||$3.7 million|
(initial US release)
Barbra Streisand opened as first act in the new hotel and played for four weeks prior to Elvis opening on July 31st 1969. After Elvis, came Nancy Sinatra who played for three weeks.
The Osmond brothers also played the International Hotel at the same time as Nancy.
Elvis and Priscilla Presley - Barbra Streisand's Vegas show - 1969
Known for a powerful stage presence in total command of every room he has ever worked. But backstage at the International Hotel on July 31, 1969, Elvis Presley was packing back and forth like a panther. In a few minutes, he would march out into what was then the largest showroom in Las Vegas, holding 2.000 people.
It had been eight years since Elvis had last done a live concert, eight years of recording sessions and movie making, eight years since he had felt the electricity of a packed house. Those of us around him had no doubt he'd be a bigger hit than ever. Deep down probably Elvis knew himself.
But at the moment he was sweating through his black mohair suit.
As we started walking to the stage, Elvis became very quiet. You could see in his eyes that he was thinking about the show, going over the song list in mind. His tenseness was contagious. Soon we were all nervous. Comedian Sammy Shore finished his act and the house lights went down. The audience was hushed. The Bobby Morris Orchestra began to play and no further introduction was necessary.
Nervous time had turned into Showtime. Elvis was back where he belonged. His concerns, of course, were unnecessary. He performed brilliantly for 90 minutes. He fed off people.
Elvis signing his performance contract with The International Hotel in Las Vegas. This photo opportunity was actually staged, and the actual contract signing did not take place until April.
Elvis Presley 1969 International Hotel, Las Vegas.
Elvis Presley 1969 : Backstage The International Hotel, Las Vegas.
Elvis Presley 1969 International Hotel, Las Vegas.