Behind The Scenes: Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca is a pretty magical film for me. This absolute classic starring Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Ingrid Bergman, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson is a perfect Noir movie. I didn’t come across this film in my youth like I normally did with older movies, basically a Sunday afternoon with my Father watching TBS. I first saw Casablanca in my Junior year of High School. My Drama teacher was aghast at how someone who pledged himself to become a film director had never seen such a classic…so one phone call later to our local video store and I had a VHS copy held for me until after school.

Five minutes into the film I was absolutely hooked.

Which is why this Behind the Scenes photo from the set, the filming of that famous scene between Rick and Ilsa, is so powerful. At least for me.

[Via] Quint’s Behind the Scenes over at Ain’t It Cool News!

You Can’t Get Away With Murder

Humphrey Bogart plays mobster Frank Wilson, the heavy headlining this crime thriller that sprung from the pen of Sing-Sing’s warden himself! Based on the play “Chalked Out” by Warden Lewis E. Lawes and Jonathan Finn, You Can’t Get Away With Murder tells the grim tale of a young punk taken in by the glamorous gangster life, only to find himself sent away to the federal pen with a man’s fate resting in his hands and a murderer dogging his every step. Young Johnnie Stone (original “Dead End Kid” Billy Halop) hooks up with hoodlum Wilson only to help Wilson frame his sister’s (Gale Page) straight and narrow fiancé Fred (Harvey Stephens) for Murder One. All three men soon find themselves sent to the “Big House” – two serving a stretch for robbery, the third for Death Row. Can Johnnie come clean in time to save Fred, with Frank watching his every move?

Who does not love Bogart? I cannot get enough of the guy, so when I see the opportunity to pick up one his films that I have never seen, I jump at it. This week I got to watch the 1939 crime drama, You Can’t Get Away with Murder with Bogart and Gale Page. The film was directed by Lewis Seiler and features “Dead End Kid” leader Billy Halop. The film was one of Bogart’s studio B pictures and was filmed before his famous breakthrough in High Sierra two years later.

While the movie is very formulaic and you can see the plot coming from a mile away it is still a good film. You also get a healthy dose of Halop, whose career I really need to explore more, and of course you get Bogie, who as always, chews up the screen. You can almost feel the potential that would make him a star a short time later. If you want to see the development of a star, you will want to pick up You Can’t Get Away With Murder.

You Can’t Get Away With Murder on DVD [via] Warner Archive

The Two Mrs. Carrolls on DVD

I cannot think of an actor who has turned more people onto watching older movies than Humphrey Bogart. Sure it starts off with the gateway movie Casablanca, but before you know it you are watching The Maltese Falcon and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Then what? Then you turn your attention to movies you haven’t heard of and greedily gobble them up, but wait there is more! You check out IMDB and notice a host of films by Bogie are not currently in print…so you wait… and wait. Well the wait is over for one of those classics, the Bogart, Stanwyck thriller, The Two Mrs. Carrolls has been remastered and released on DVD through the Warner Archive.

I had only seen half of this film, once before, but once you will see it, I think you will agree it is an underrated classics. Here is the synopsis:

Matrimony means different things to different people. For temperamental artist Geoffrey Carroll, it means he’s in his element. And out of his mind. In their only screen pairing, two of film’s all-time greats star in a psychological thriller rife with pelting rain and pealing bells, blackmail and murder, calculated dread and an unnerving finale. Humphrey Bogart portrays Geoffrey, who’s making a habit of poisoning one wife and marrying another when the former no longer inspires his canvases. Barbara Stanwyck plays his current wife Sally, who puts two and two together and comes up with six – as in six feet under, the place she’ll be if she continues to accept the glass of milk Geoffrey regularly offers as a nightcap. Alexis Smith also stars as a predatory neighbor who becomes the object of Geoffrey’s thirst for feminine variety. Drink up, thriller fans!

If that does not grab you, how about this riff on one of his most famous movie lines:

Another great release and another great piece of Hollywood history now in my collection. If you like Bogie and want to see two legends of the screen at the height of their powers (was Bogie ever not at his height?), then pick up a copy of The Two Mrs. Carrolls on DVD exclusively from The Warner Archive. If you like this movie you might also want to check out another Bogie re-release (I have not seen it yet myself) The Wagons Roll at Midnight.

Humphrey Bogart – The Essential Collection on DVD

I like getting box sets that are so full of content that I want to watch that I feel overwhelmed. This month I have been trying to watch lots of Halloween films, but I keep finding myself pulled into the movies of Humphrey Boagart. Why? Because I got me a copy of “Humphrey Bogart – The Essential Collection”. The set puts together 24 of Bogart’s best films in one place and when you have this much content in one place it is hard to resist. With this DVD set you get:

* Petrified Forest/ Marked Woman
* Kid Galahad/ Black Legion
* The Roaring Twenties/ San Quentin
* Dark Victory/ Virginia City
* Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse/ Invisible Stripes
* High Sierra/ They Drive by Night
* Maltese Falcon/ Across the Pacific
* All Through the Night/ Brother Orchid
* Action in the North Atlantic/ Passage to Marseille
* To Have and Have Not/ The Big Sleep
* Dark Passage/ Key Largo
* Casablanca/Treasure of Sierra Madre
* Brothers Warner, The (DVD) (Bonus Disc)

In addition it includes:
* A set of 10 Photo Cards of Classic One-Sheets
* Rare Archival Studio Correspondence
* A 48-Page Book of Photos and Movie Info

Here is my problems with this set. Some of the movies I already own (which is always a problem when you are buying sets) and others I would prefer to own on Blu-Ray (3 I already do). This set though has enough content on it that it is great for that newly minted Bogart fan, who maybe watched Casablanca for the first time and is ready for an instant collection or for the person who owns maybe 1 or 2 of the films and is ready to take that next step. For those people (maybe you are 1 of them), this set is a deal. So if you are getting horror film fatigue, I know I am, why not consider this essential collection. You can pick it up at The Warner Archive or Amazon.