Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine Hangover



I find the lack of reality in most romantic films quite distracting.

Take Casablanca. How come characters constantly order champagne yet never drink it? No sooner do they call for champagne than they’re pushing chairs back and stalking out of the room. So then the overriding question isn’t who loves whom, but what the hell do they pour at Rick’s? No one ever walks out on Dom Perignon. You’ll notice Rick himself orders only scotch, and he asks for the bottle.

Perhaps it’s a good thing they’re not drinking much. You see any cocktail snacks on those tables? I don’t think anyone eats. Ever.

Is it only me, or is The Third Man a great love story? How it captures love’s irrationality, love’s inconvenience, misplaced loyalties, missed trains. Of course, it’s just as fanciful as Casablanca. That final walk – Anna’s too beautiful, Holly’s too cool. And in real life, zither music is never a good idea.

The End: The Third Man

54 comments:

  1. I don't know this movie, but I see it is on TCM (31 days of Oscar) this month - the 24th, I believe. Now you know I will have to watch it!

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  2. I usually don't equate movies or wats on the big screen with reality. The small tube? Ok.
    In fact, whenever I see line ups of suspects at theatres I assume it's cuz they wanna bee entertained or at least escape their lives a while.

    Butt, wat due I no. I usually keep my dough rather than transfer it to rich hollywood types.

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  3. Growing up zither music was the only music allowed in our home.

    1/2 true story

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  4. I've not seen The Third Man, and now I need to.

    Walking away from champagne is a bit criminal.

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  5. Ah, if you haven't seen this film, you never sidestepped college credits by taking a film course. You'll love it, double your money back.

    PA: Really? and Really?

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  6. Given the choice, I always walk from Champagne!

    That's "new romantic"! ;-)

    Sunshine Coast Daily Photo - Australia

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  7. Interesting perspective AH...being a long time, many times over, viewer of said Casablanca, I'm thinking that the only time you see a glass to the lips is when Humphrey is sitting by Sam while he's playing the infamous *As Time Goes By* and in the process Humphrey knocks over the bottle and very nearly passes out...until Ingrid walks in...

    Now...as for other movies...The Thin Man shows a considerable amount of imbibing, and tho they don't actually show them indulging in feasts, they do make reference to food throughout....

    And then there's the Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and bob Hope movies where said stars end up doing a little drunken jig or wearing the proverbial ice bag hat on the morning after...can't recall seeing them actually take a sip, but the implications are certainly there!!!

    And to those who've never seen Casablanca...you're missing out on one of the all time greats!!! So take advantage of this month's attention to the Oscars, make some popcorn, pour a glass of wine (yes, wine does go with popcorn...) and grab a seat in your favorite chair and enjoy!!!

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  8. I've never seen Casablanca either. I hear about my failings every DVD night we have at home...
    Wine & popcorn... hmm. Red or White? (or in my case, corcked or twist top?)

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  9. Back in th' day, I took one of Bob McKee's screenwriting classes, and at the end of the day we saw and analyzed Casablanca. It was the best two hours of the class. I learned so much, such as (1) letters of transit? There was no such thing. And Charles DeGaulle's signature would hardly bear any weight with Nazis. (2) Even tho' Claude Rains is playing the ultimate Frenchman, he's always speaking in his native English accent (it's the tilt of the hat that makes him sound French!) (3) On several occasions, Bogie and Bergman are dressed alike -- a sure sign that they're meant for each other. (4) The main conflict here is between love and duty -- and in the end, Rick has both, even if love is just a memory ("We'll always have Paris.") Play it again!

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  10. How's this for six degrees of separation: Selznick groomed Valli to be the next Ingrid Bergman.

    GG

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  11. Brenda...my personal preference is red...bold and can handle the bold taste of popcorn...as to corked or screw top...hmmm...I dunno about this with popcorn, but it reminds me of the episode of the Cajun chef where after he finished preparing some delightful Cajun meal, he proceeded to discuss the importance of including a jug of Gallo red table wine and garlic bread for dipping in the wine!!!

    Sage of Altadena...I love your hysterical, er, I mean, historical analysis of Casablanca!!!

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  12. Nice tidbits, but the greater movie mystery to me is how film and TV bad guys are such lousy shots.

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  13. Maybe they didn't feature food in Casablanca because they were on a tight budget. Seriously, the studio really wasn't all that interested. Besides, all you need is love - and the alcohol to fuel it. Still, one of the things that's talked about and was real and actually rather timely, was the internment camps in North Africa. It showed that people knew what was happening.

    I've seen The Third Man as part of my Public Library Cinema Education Degree and I know there's some back story on the zither theme, how they chose it and the zither Meister who played that famous ditty. Now I'm going to have to go check it out again...for love's sake.

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  14. Every time I watch Casablanca I want to change that ending, but it's what makes the film great. There's quite a backstory about the making of that movie, isn't there? Are you familiar with the romantic film "Brief Encounter?" As with Casablanca, I really want Laura to choose a different path at the end.

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  15. Well spotted! You may have noticed the rarely drink the wine, a crucial plot device, in Notorious. I tell ya, it's so distracting it drives me to drink!
    Ah, 3rd Man. Beautiful opening, beautiful coda, and a bromance in between. (God, what a ugly word)
    WV: commies
    Hysterical!

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  16. Ok, everyone who hasn't seen one or both of these films, that's your assignment. And I want your paper on my desk by spring (one page, single spaced).

    Bellis, yes, that's based on a Noel Coward play, right? And Trevor Howard was in it?

    Paula, please report back. Can it be only you, me, and Dez have seen The Third Man? Possibly PA. That totally gogs me.

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  17. Ingrid darlin, if you're not going to drink that champagne, would you pass over my way? It's a shame for it to go waste! ;)
    V

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  19. OK, prof, yer on...I have no recollection of 'The Third Man'.

    Yeah, I caught 'Casablanca' again last night, by accident, really.

    I was tearing up through the whole damn thing...
    Certain catch phrases from the movie tug at my heart each time, Rick's self-depracting toughness and masculine resignation to a world gone mad, almost Buddhist in nature, but then, at the end, his compassion shines through. Dooley as Sam is perfect in voicing his bluesy sympathy, perhaps the most worldly wise of the characters, always advising avoiding suffering, despite his acceptance of its inevitable existence...
    Of course, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet are delightfully evil in their roles, each a variation in gray to the darkness of the 3rd Reich's smugly fanatical Major Strasser.
    And Claude Rains, a marvel in suave decadence, such an inspiring rogue!
    All supported by that dubbed stride pianist's mean left hand...
    The least interesting characterizations to me are those by Heinreid and Bergmann, who seem more or less to phone in their roles.
    Yeah, I'm afraid this is a guy's movie. I actually take heart in Rick's willing sacrifice, and in the beginning of his "beautiful friendship" with the once roguish inspector.
    To me, this plot mirrors somewhat the modern world and its hardships, and the hope that someone still believes enough to make the "right" choices, that we don't have to stand alone in that regard.

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  20. ...the scene where they spontaneously sing the Marseillaise.

    I haven't seen the Third Man either. Gonna have to watch it on the computie.

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  21. The theme:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te9fqm6rUPY

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  22. People associate "Play it again, Sam" with Casablanca, but the truth is that is never said in the movie. But "it" is certainly a great song:

    Play it!

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  23. I have seen the Third Man...but it's been such a long time...and I've only seen it once or twice so can't comment, other than I love the soundtrack!!! I think I'll join Petrea and watch it in the near future!!!

    I agree with Bandit about Henreid's performance...but I've always liked Ingrid...in everything she's done...she's just such a classic...she plays such a tragic heroin!!!!

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  24. speaking of Sydney Greenstreet (well, someone did) here's a bit of trivia for you: Sydney Greenstreet made his film debut at age 62 in The Maltese Falcon. He retired 8 years later, but in that time made a total of 24 films.

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  25. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, I would have liked to have worked at Rick's. That was a happening place. I believe the reason why you never saw anyone actually drink is because they were served champagne. Good enough reason for me.

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  26. Rob...that's my all time favorite line in Casablanca!!!

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  27. So that's where I go wrong. I always drink the champagne.

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  28. "We'll always have Paris." Sigh.........I'll drink to that.
    V

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  29. No one ever says goodbye when they hang up a phone either. Have you noticed that?

    I confess, I've never seen Casablanca or The Third Man. I'm not a fan of oldie movies...they talk funny.

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  30. I heart Casablanca . . . top of my list.

    "He never drinks with customers. Never. I've never seen it."

    "The Germans wore grey. You wore blue."

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  31. We'll ignore Carolynn's slam at classic movies. She's just bitter because Canada only has three medals in the Olympics, and I think those were pity medals -- best snow angels or something.

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  32. He'll have you in a dither with his zither

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  33. I have to agree Ms Chieftess, Bergmann is a class act-looks like my Mom.
    That is some interesting music P.A.
    Reminds me of Amos Garrett's slide guitar...
    A great band from the movies was Hoagy Carmichael's octet in "To Have Or Have Not". What compellingly strange instrumentation, and the song structure-I've never heard anything like it.

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  34. It's really hard to enter a conversation when 30+ have already had their say. I will just say this, Casablanca may not be The Third Man, which I haven't seen (sorry), but it does have Ingrid Bergman, who is stunning that that alone should count for something.

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  35. Didn't someone in Casablanca comment that they'd rather dump the champagne than let the Nazi's get it? Perhaps along those lines, open it it. let it go flat & leave it for the Germans...

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  36. For me, it's the whole "Monsieur, you are a man..." to "You want my advice? go back to Bulgaria" scene.

    I also think the casting is really well done. The script is too talky, the sets are not even slightly convincing but I totally buy Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and all the smaller roles.

    But then again, I actually like the zither music in "The Third Man."

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  37. OH girl, two of my favorites. I may have to march right over to PA's with my Criterion edition of Casablanca.

    And wow, The Third Man... so many things going for it. Harry Lime is such a cool character. Robert Krasker's amazing cinematography, Graham Green wrote the screenplay from his own novel. Noir treat, indeed.

    But for cool Bogart love stories? I'm a sucker for To Have and Have Not. BOgie and Bacall fell in love on that film and the whole movie just crackles with their chemistry. Plus, it's so witty and topical and smart. Howard Hawks is nothing to sneeze at, either.

    I read an amazing history of the making of Casablanca. It's a wonder that film turned out so well with the bizarre way it was shot and nobody knowing the ending even on the last week of shooting. Curtiz was such an interesting man, though. Actors either loved him or feared him.

    Sorry, you can take the girl out of film school but...

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  38. My favorite scene from To Have and Have Not.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gFpoXYAm0o&feature=PlayList&p=D4A48F90AEF875C9&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=2

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  39. That's the ultimate in Bogey-Bacall magic!!!

    I miss the wonderful psychological drama of the old movies...so many of the films of today are frought with special effects...too much!!! Love the cinematography of films like these...always interesting lighting...and Hitchcock? What could be better than that bowl of popcorn (gourmet of course) with a great cabernet and Hitchcock!!! (alas...my hubby's not intriqued...he sees no value in watching old movies...tsk, tsk...I forgot to put this one on that ol' list of characteristics for the man of my heart!!!)

    wv: milldi....plural for mildew...my hubby thinks old movies are milldi!!!

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  40. Chieftess, Grace Kelly's wardrobe in Rear Window... too fabulous. I love Hitchcock. Even the bizarre stuff like Vertigo. I'll join you with the popcorn and cab!

    Cool tidbit about Casablanca -- many of the small parts were played by European actors who were actual refugees from the war.

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  41. One of these days, maybe in late spring or early summer, some of us girls and boys are going to have to gather round, bring a favorite dvd and have ourselves a movie marathon.

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  42. Thanks LA,
    My favorite line has to be, "It's even better when you help." Well isn't that the truth! WHewww, that was one great clip. I'm off to watch it again! :)

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  43. The clip's followed by something someone put together -- photos and clips of Bogie and Bacall. That was sweet. They had some nice dogs, too.

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  44. A movie marathon sounds fun!

    WV: rants. Well there ya go.

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  45. Classic movie marathon??? Popcorn and cabernet??? Add some chocolate and I'm there with my boots on or off depending on the season!!!

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  46. If I could fit in Grace Kelly's or Ingrid's wardrobe...I'd insist on a costume party...but alas...

    wv: My torse doesn't quite fit...

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  47. You got it, babe.
    Pass the See's candy.

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  48. I'm finding it hard to imagine more fun than a movie marathon with the likes of youse guys.

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  49. My favorite all-time movie is "Elvira Madigan." Anyone seen that? When I first saw it - in the days before the internet - I had to listen to every Mozart piano piece in the record shop to find the theme music. Sorry, I've gone a bit off message here.

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  50. I'm still scratching my head over why anyone would have a glass of champagne and not slug it down, I mean sip it???

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  51. I agree with you V. Why waste the champagne..... let’s just have a party on that!!

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  52. Okay, I'll do my homework and watch Third Man.

    That flung cigarette was certainly expressive at the end, after we were amused by the falling leaves (obviously animated). The trees were bare already.

    How different the meaning would have been, if the leaves had been caught up in a swirling whirlwind as she walked by. And if he had not thrown the cigarette. At least he didn't step on it

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