Monday, March 31, 2008

Classic Controversy: Casablanca-Style

Okay, I admit that I don't think Casablanca is all it's cracked up to be. I think it's really good, but I never quite got the universal veneration. I totally respect its place in cinema, though, and I appreciate what it represents about the studio system and classic Hollywood in general. However, I think Humphrey Bogart has all the appeal of a dead fish. I don't buy that Ingrid Bergman would fall in love with him to such an extreme. It just doesn't make sense, but she makes me believe it, simply because she's such an extraordinary actress. Don't get me wrong, Bergman is divine in Casablanca. Bogart is just an overrated dud. And frankly, my dear (I know, different movie, but same time period), I think Casablanca is kind of a snooze-fest.

That being said, I am about ready to burst a blood vessel upon hearing a rumor today that there might be a remake of Casablanca starring MADONNA in Bergman's role. What the...? Oh no, she didn't! I may not love the film, but I am extremely loyal to classic Hollywood. Casablanca has its rightful place in history, and it's so iconic. Leave. It. Alone. I've never recovered from the Psycho remake fiasco. For me, that was the biggest assault on classic cinema imaginable (and still is), but to touch Casablanca is an insult of equal magnitude. Why? What's the point? I guess they might "modernize" it and set it during the Iraq War or something. Ooh, how daring. Look what happened when Gus Stupid van Sant "modernized" Psycho, but shot-by-shot. HUH? Those two ideas are so antithetical. I actually originally typed "shot-by-shit" - maybe that IS a more accurate description. My subconscious is speaking through my keyboard fumbling. Anyway, I've also recently been reeling about the remake of The Women, which is more of a catastrophe on a personal level than a historical one. This Casablanca business is way worse and way more significant in the grand scheme of things. Are we so creatively bankrupt in Hollywood that we have to resort to desecrating cinematic paragons? Apparently so. I hope this STAYS a rumor.

So, put the mere idea of a remake of Casablanca aside for a moment and focus on this...MADONNA. That's actually the most appalling part of this for me. Casablanca and Madonna in the same sentence. What a world. Honey, you look hot for your age, but you're no Ingrid Bergman. Don't even try. Ilsa isn't supposed to be 50. Bogart was apparently born middle-aged and was a notorious cradle-robber in films, but the age gap between Madonna and the character of Ilsa is more of a chasm. And it's MADONNA, for crying out loud. She's terrible! She can't act! That's a bit of a problem, isn't it? And is the score going to consist of all Madonna songs? "Play it again, Sam. Play...'Like a Virgin.'" Instead of dueling national anthems, will it be "Vogue" versus "Like a Prayer"? Is this a demented publicity stunt to promote a new album or something? A pathetic bid for an Oscar? This is cinematic blasphemy of the highest order. No way. This cannot happen.

Boy, things certainly do change as time goes by, don't they?


Bill Treadway said...

I tried e-mailing you before but I keep getting delivery failure notices back.

Anyway- Boarding Gate. All I'll say is What the Hell was That?

Stills #0013, 0014, 0019, 0022, 0024, 0027, 0030, 0033 and 0046 work for me.

As for this Casablanca remake stuff, they've been throwing this rumor out for over 15 years. The actors just keep changing. One time it was Julia Roberts.

Sara said...

Jeff Smith and I had a good convo today and one of the things we talked about was this remake - - we joked that Madonna would be more fitting for the Peter Lorre role than Ingrid's Ilsa. Hahaha. I owe you an e-mail! Just wanted to drop you a little note as an appetizer.