A Couple Brief Thoughts: Lent in Casablanca, Night 19

I feel a little sorry for Major Strasser. Really.

It’s not because I like him, or his employers.  As movie Nazis go, he’s not as horrible as Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes in “Schindler’s List”), but he did have Rick’s shut down, just because he was pissed the Francophiles outsang his Nazis. It’s a bar, douchebag, not Glee.

I feel a little sorry for him, simply because I await his death with great anticipation. Once Major Strasser is shot, I know I can go to bed in five minutes.  He’s still a scumbag, but for nearly three weeks, his death has marked a high point in my day.

Also, I wonder why Joy Page didn’t have more of a career. She played the Bulgarian girl who was willing to mount Captain Renault to obtain exit visas for herself and her husband. I think she did a fine job, holding her own among the 1927 Yankees cast, and she was pretty enough. Plus, Jack Warner was her stepfather, for crying out loud. (He didn’t want her to become an actress; she studied and auditioned and earned her way into the biz.)

Finally, one of the more difficult tasks I’ve encountered in writing is naming characters. I have this vision of the screewriters, the Epstein twins, enduring writer’s block, carpooling to the Warner Brothers lot one day.

“Dammit!! We need two more names! One for the French captain, and one for the crime guy!”

Traffic snarls, and they stop next to Beverly Hills European Motors.  They look up at the sign, and lightbulbs fire. “Renault and Ferrari!!”

Finally, this opinion: if Casablanca had been filmed in color, it would not have endured as it has. It works in B&W. In color…I can’t see it. Even when Ted Turner colorized it, I turned the color down on my set.

Casablanca, more than any other film, belongs in black and white.  There is pure good and pure evil, but 95% of what we see are those ubiquitous, ambiguous grays, which make up life itself.

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2 Responses to “A Couple Brief Thoughts: Lent in Casablanca, Night 19”

  1. Great observation about B&W — I remember watching the colorized version once and thinking how wrong it was.

    It’s a wonder that more filmmakers don’t use B&W now — or would it be perceived as a contrivance?

  2. That’s a good question. I think it would be viewed as a contrivance. Schindler’s List was the last B&W film I saw in a theater; Pleasantville’s 2nd act started out in B&W, but that was actually digitally created.

    I saw the colorized Casablanca as well. When I realized that Bogie looked like he was wearing a Howdy Doodian amount of rouge, I jacked down the color. Thank the film gods Ted Turner got the message.

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