News of Christopher Lee's death was announced on Thursday, 11th June 2015
Casablanca celebrates 70th Anniversary
Casablanca is to receive a special re-release to mark its 70th anniversary.
The 1942 movie has been digitally remastered and will be released on new special edition DVDs and Blu-rays.It will also be released at selected theatres across the United States on March 21 as part of a one-time only event.
"There are few things more thrilling for movie lovers than being able to experience a true classic like Casablanca the way it was originally intended on the big screen," said Dennis Adamovich, the senior vice president of brand and digital at TCM, TNT and TBS.
The screenings will also receive an introduction message from Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne.
Casablanca starred Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and won three Oscars in 1944 for 'Best Picture', 'Best Director' and 'Best Screenplay'.
2016 - FAREWELL Madeleine LeBeau
Madeleine Lebeau - image Credit: © Alamy via Daily Telegraph
Madeleine Lebeau with Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca - image Credit: © Alamy via Daily Telegraph
From the Daily Telegraph 15th May 2016 - Madeleine Lebeau, the French actress, who has died aged 92, was the last surviving cast member of Casablanca (1942); she is best known for her tearful but defiant singing of La Marseillaise and cry of “Vive La France!” in one of the film’s most memorable and moving scenes.
Although her role as Yvonne, the spurned ex-lover of Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine, was small, it was crucial to the film. Her relationship with Rick, the disaffected bar owner in Vichy-controlled Casablanca during the war, revealed Bogart’s character as that of an embittered and lonely man, seemingly uninterested in any kind of commitment, let alone a lasting relationship with a woman. (“Where were you last night?” Yvonne asks Rick. “That’s so long ago,” he replies, “I don’t remember.” “Will I see you tonight?” she persists. “I never make plans that far ahead.”)
Cast off by Rick, she then goes off with a German officer, but is redeemed in a scene which has come to be known as the “duel of anthems”. Set in Rick’s bar, it begins with a group of Nazi officers singing Die Wacht am Rhein, a patriotic German folk song. When the Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) hears the song he tells the band: “Play the Marseillaise! Play it!” The band members look at Rick, who nods to them, thereby finally taking a stand against the Nazis, and allying himself with the Resistance. Laszlo begins the song alone, but soon others – including the dolefully beautiful and moist-eyed Yvonne – are joining in; the music swells and La Marseillaise drowns out Die Wacht am Rhein.
Many cast members of Casablanca were refugees from Europe who had recently fled Nazi occupation. Madeleine Lebeau herself had left France for Hollywood with her then husband, Marcel Dalio, a French actor of Jewish origin, shortly before the Germans invaded Paris. During the filming of the “duel of anthems”, several of the actors were genuinely crying. “They brought to a dozen small roles in Casablanca,” wrote the film historian Aljean Harmetz “an understanding and a desperation that could never have come from Central Casting”.
Marie Madeleine Berthe Lebeau was born in Paris on June 10 1923. At the age of 16 she was given a small role in a play starring Dalio. The actor, who was 20 years her senior, was captivated by her beauty and they married in 1939.
In June 1940 the couple fled Paris via Spain and Portugal and managed to obtain visas to Chile. En route to South America, however, their ship stopped in Mexico, where, after discovering that their Chilean visas were forgeries, they managed to get temporary Canadian passports, and finally reached the United States. Read more
Pirates of the Caribbean
This is a franchise we have jointly enjoyed with my sister Marysia. We have an agreement that we should each choose a film chronologically so that we are not always viewing films that might not universally appeal. Many years ago, it was I who suggested we try 'Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl'. It may not have met with universal agreement but it certainly met with universal derision from my companions when they discovered that it was based on a Walt Disney 'ride.' All I will say is that on exiting the cinema it was Andrew and Marysia who were chattering excitedly! Captain Jack Sparrow's entrance (as seen in this image) is still one of the funniest and best executed entrances of any character! Even Bogey in 'Casablanca' did not quite make this grade!
Iconicly and achingly funny - the 'arrival' of Captain Jack Sparrow and the 'berthing' of his vessel!
The Star Trek Franchise
Another very successful franchise enjoyed by Andrew, my sister Marysia and myself - my personal favourite being the 4th starring the original cast 'The Voyage Home' released in 1986. The review from the Radio Times more or less covers it all succinctly including reference to my favourite scene when 'Spock disables a noisy punk' and the parting fabulous comment 'and it has whales.' Of course it does!
The Tuskegee Airmen
A very different subject matter in a a film that we both found fascinating was the story of the Tuskegee Airmen - getting the pronunciation of Tuskegee isn't all that easy either - it just doesn't roll off the tongue! The name* comes from their 'segregated' airbase situated in the deep south where skin colour prejudices and racism still ran hot! It is the story of the now famous 'Red Tails' who fought for their country, became an elite 'Band of Brothers', earned their stripes flying 'escort' for bombers and who, on returning to the United States found that instead of being feted for the heroes they had become,on disembarking heard again the words "Whites to the right, n*****s to the left."
The film tells how the men fought to be recognised as legitimate airmen after training and how their actions earned the respect of even the greatest bigots serving with them. But the recognition did not follow once they had returned home. The film does not dwell beyond this point, but does allow that eventually their military prowess was recognised publicly and that all the 'doubters' and 'theorists' who had come out with some extraordinary statements such as 'because of the pigmentation of their skin, they didn't have the capability to operate something as complicated as an aircraft.'
I like one particular statement (not in the film) from Lt Col Campbell: ‘We went over to Europe to defeat the Nazis and to say “Here’s a group who faces almost as much bias and racism as you’re showing the Jews, and they’re whipping your butts all over the skies,”’ he told me. ‘That was our point.’
As there is so much background information that is worth noting, I have reproduced a Daily Mail article on this subject here.
The Original Film has been indexed on IMDB no: tt0114745
From the City of Tuskegee web-site : "Tuskegee was founded and laid out in 1833 by General Thomas Simpson Woodward who fought in the Indian Wars under Andrew Jackson. It was probably named after an Indian tribe, the Taskigis, living in this section, General Woodward built the first home in town. It was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt by Mr. William Campbell. The first home on the square was built by Mr. James Dent. Tuskegee was the home of the Taskigis, Channuanugee, Chehaws and Tallassee Indian tribes."
An overview (government web-site) of the 'Legends of Tuskegee' can be found here.
The Tuskegee Airmen's own web-site is here.
A supernatural thriller set in two 'time' dimensions. Each time something changes in the earlier time, the butterfly effect impacts on the current time changing the lives and interactions of Father and Son. It is not so much a 'time travel' film as both Father and Son stay in their own timelines whilst in communication with each other across 30 years. The film builds to an interesting climax and comes up with a perfectly plausible conclusion! This was the first film of Dennis Quaid's that we had taken any note of and has become a firm favourite in our repertoire of DVDs because of its innovative and unusual storyline. It also pays a tribute to two of the Emergency services - Fire and Police - in a positive, gentle and meaningful way.
From IMDB "An accidental cross-time radio link connects father and son across 30 years. The son tries to save his father's life, but then must fix the consequences." - I prefer my description above!
After seeing this film we looked out for more starring Dennis Quaid and found that many of his films appealed to us and were highly entertaining. Currently we are watching 'Leverage' and it is uncanny how closely Timothy Hutton resembles Dennis Quaid.
Page updated : 12th October 2016