Thursday, January 23, 2014

Casablanca: A TVCU Quickie



What's a quickie?  See this blog.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's un-produced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's. The film stars Humphrey BogartIngrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid; and features Claude RainsConrad Veidt,Sydney GreenstreetPeter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson. Set during World War II, it focuses on a man torn between, in the words of one character, "love and virtue". He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlledMoroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Story editor Irene Diamond convinced producer Hal Wallis to purchase the film rights to the play in January 1942. Brothers Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein were initially assigned to write the script. However, despite studio resistance, they left after the attack on Pearl Harbor to work on Frank Capra's Why We Fight series. Howard Koch was assigned to the screenplay until the Epsteins returned. Casey Robinson assisted with three weeks of rewrites, but his work would later go uncredited. Wallis chose Curtiz to direct the film after his first choice, William Wyler, became unavailable. Filming began on May 25, 1942, and ended on August 3, and was shot entirely at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, with the exception of one sequence at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys.
Although Casablanca was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything out of the ordinary.[3] It was just one of hundreds of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. Casablanca had its world premiere on November 26, 1942 in New York City, and was released on January 23, 1943, in the United States. The film was a solid if unspectacular success in its initial run, rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier.[4] Despite a changing assortment of screenwriters adapting an unstaged play, barely keeping ahead of production, and Bogart attempting his first romantic leading role, Casablanca won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its lead character,[5][6] memorable lines,[7][8][9] and pervasive theme song[10] have all become iconic. The film has consistently ranked near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.

From me:

Once in a while, someone posts something on their blog or in a discussion group that gives me my daily inspiration.  Today I am inspired by Toby O'Brien's recent Casablanca blog posts.  
I've never seen Casablanca, and though the film itself doesn't offer any crossovers, it has been referenced by other films, books, and series since to give itself a firm place in the Television Crossover Universe.


Here is the Toobworld take on Casablanca.

TVCU Mini-Chron:

March-April 1891--THE GREAT GAME--In this novel, the first Professor Moriarty is described as being either the head of a vast criminal network, or the head of the British Secret Service, or both. Of course he denies it. There is a Fat Man named Gottfried Kaspar. In the same chapter we also see a man posing as a priest named Father Ugarti. One of the amateur spies playing at the "Great Game" is named Charles Bredlon Summerdale, who is the second son of a duke.  Although she does not appear "onscreen," it is mentioned that Summerdale has a sister named Lady Patricia Templar. She is described as being married to "an energetic young prelate destined someday to become an archbishop, or even, if he had his way, a saint."  

A Professor Moriarty novel by Michael Kurland, St. Martin's, 2001. Gottfried Kaspar is obviously based on Sydney Greenstreet's Caspar Gutman from John Huston's filmed version of The Maltese Falcon. For our purposes, we may postulate that the man in The Great Game is the father of Caspar Gutman. The variations on the name "Caspar" can be viewed as a series of aliases used by this father and son throughout their shady careers. Ugarti is the name of Peter Lorre's character in Casablanca. Again, it can't be the same man, but is likely his father. Thus, there are crossover connections between this novel, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca.

Researcher Dennis Power postulates that Summerdale's sister and her husband, Mr. Templar, must have emigrated to South Africa sometime between 1891 and the Boer War. The young prelate, Mr. Templar, died in the Boer war in 1899. His widow, Mrs. Templar, took up with A.J. Raffles and bore a child, giving him the name Simon Templar. Please follow this link to Dennis Power's site for more information; see also Brad Mengel's The Incredible Raffles ClanThus, the young prelate has no connection to Simon Templar other than his name and the allusion that Kurland makes by using the name Templar.

Moriarty denies being the head of the British Secret Service, but if his denial is false, it certainly dovetails nicely with the events revealed in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1898) and also fits in with a theory of layers upon layers within the British Secret Service.

In The Great Game, the British Secret Service in 1891 is practically non-existent.  A high British official says that since Britain is not training and fielding real agents, many young men of idle means have stepped up to become "amateur" agents in foreign lands, operating with the knowledge of Britain, but without a truly official sanction. That's the first layer.

I would postulate that the second layer is the group headed by Mycroft Holmes and sometimes headquartered at The Diogenes Club.  This is the same operation seen at work in the Quinn Fawcett books, as well as in Andy Lane's All Consuming Fire and in Kim Newman's Seven Stars.  Charles Beauregard is also a part of this group. This operation is fairly secret and is not widely known even among most high British officials. Hence the British official's contention in The Great Game that Britain is fielding only amateur agents.

Next is the third layer, which is the ultra top secret "black ops" Secret Service group controlled by the first Professor Moriarty, as seen in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Before 1891, Moriarty never had any offices in any official British building and operated out of his home on Russell Square, as seen in The Great Game (as well as many more secret lairs).  Before 1891, he was both a criminal mastermind and in charge of the British black ops group. After 1894, Moriarty moved into the offices at Whitehall (seen in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and his activities became more open, so that by 1898, Mycroft Holmes knew of Moriarty's role in the Secret Service, although he was powerless to do anything about it. For more on the British Secret Service, please see Brad Mengel's Keeping Secrets.


Late 1938--THE MYSTERY OF THE MALI IBEX--In Casablanca, the 20th Phantom encounters the Prefect of Police, Captain Louis Renault.

The 20th Phantom

Issue number 70 of Charlton Comics' The Phantom, published in 1976 and  beautifully illustrated by Don Newton. The story is a visual tribute to several Humphrey Bogart movies, including CasablancaThe Big SleepThe African Queen, and The Treasure of Sierra Madre. The characters are drawn to resemble characters from those films. The Bogie character is called Rick Clifford. Betty Ingred is played by Lauren Bacall. Max Grotzman is portrayed by Sydney Greenstreet. Peter Lorre appears as a hired gun, Slink. Interestingly, the Claude Rains character, in a French policeman's uniform, is only referred to as "Captain." Thus, we may infer that this really is Captain Louis Renault, and that the events of Casablanca and its sequel, As Time Goes By, take place in the Television Crossover Universe.

The story also contains an epilogue, which takes place in 1976. The supposition that two different Phantoms, the 20th and the 21st, operated over this time-span is confirmed, as it is made clear that the Phantom in 1976 is the son of the Phantom who had the Ibex adventure.



Early August to December 1939--DOCTOR DARE:  THE SPEAR OF DESTINY--Scientist Johanna Dare attempts to duplicate the work of Abednego Danner (from the novel GLADIATOR).  When Nazis break into her lab, she's forced to drink the formula, giving her superhuman strength and invulnerability but only after she has sex.  This graphic novel also has crossover connections with DOC SAVAGE, INDIANA JONES, AMELIA EARHART, FRANKLIN AND ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, WINSTON CHURCHILL, THE SPEAR OF DESTINY, PRESTOR JOHN, CASABLANCA, AFRICAN QUEEN, and MARX BROTHERS.



December 1941 - The events of the classic film Casablanca (click here for more information).

December 1941-December 1942 - Michael Walsh's novel As Time Goes By, a sequel to Casablanca, continuing the story of Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund (click here for more information).


1979--WARRIORS OF THE GOLDEN DAWN--Shang Chi and his friends take refuge in the Casablanca nightclub of an American named Richard who is an old friend of Clive Reston's father.

Richard, appearing in issue numbers 85-86 of Master of Kung Fu, bears an uncanny resemblance to Humphrey Bogart. The implication is that he is Rick Blaine, hero of the movie Casablanca and the novel As Time Goes By, although his youthful appearance is never explained. See Matthew Baugh's The Shang Chi Chronology.


1995--CARRTOBLANCA--In Casablanca, Bugs Bunny runs an American bar and only looks out for himself. When he is given secret papers that will help defeat the rule of General Pandemonium. However when Bugs falls for Kitty, the wife of the leader of resistance, things change for him and he finds himself having to put himself on the line. Written by bob the moo.  And then Rob says: Though this is an adaptation of Casablanca, there's no reason to place this in the 1940s. There are no references to that era directly. Just to the basic story plot and themes.

1999--SPIDER-MAN:  THE GATHERING OF THE SINISTER SIX--This novel trilogy is not part of the Marvel Universe, and so is easily incorporated into the TVCU.  The crosses are SPIDER-MAN, THE INVADERS (CAPTAIN AMERICA, HUMAN TORCH, SUB-MARINER, UNION JACK), CASABLANCA, WOLVERINE, JACKIE CHAN, TERRY AND THE PIRATES, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, FARGO, TRADING PLACES, COMING TO AMERICA, PUNISHER, THE GREAT RACE, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, MARATHON MAN, SMILIN' JACK, BLACK WIDOWER, SHERLOCK HOLMES, IRON MAN, DIE HARD, FU MANCHU, JAMES BOND, SUPERMAN, THE 87TH PRECINCT, ELLERY QUEEN, BATMAN (including the 1989 film specifically), THE USUAL SUSPECTS, CARMEN SAN DIEGO, UNBREAKABLE, MALTESE FALCON, LAW AND ORDER, NYPD BLUE, SCOOBY-DOO, and probably more that my TVCU crew and I have yet to find.

Note:  Excerpts used with permission.  

TVCU CREW REVIEW

I did a forum search, and nobody in the crew seems to have ever discussed Casablanca.  For shame.


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Bonus.  Horror Crossover Universe! 



SPIDER-MAN:  THE GATHERING OF THE SINISTER SIX (NOVEL)
Release Date: March 1, 1999 (Contemporary Setting)
Series:  Spider-Man
Horror Crosses:  Scooby-Doo! (revival film series)
Non-Horror Crosses:  Invaders; Captain America; Human Torch (golden age); Sub-Mariner; Casablanca; Hulk; Jackie Chan Adventures; Terry and the Pirates; Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal; Fargo; Trading Places/Coming to America; The Great Race; North by Northwest; Indiana Jones; Marathon man; Smilin; Jack; Iron Man; Sherlock Holmes; Die Hard; Fu Manchu; James Bond; Superman (modern age); Law & Order; Ellery Queen; Batman (Burton/Schumacker film series): Usual Suspects; Carmen Sandiego; Unbreakable; Maltese Falcon; NYPD Blue
The Story:  A new Sinister Six is formed.
HCU Comments:  Because of the appearance of the Mystery, Inc team, and not as 40-somethings, this must be the team from the newer animated films that started with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.  This film series continues with all the previous animated series as canon.  In Zombie Island, the gang are all adults, post college.  Velma has a Master’s degree.  The team had split up and in Zombie Island are reunited.  So the “kids” here are now in the mid-20s, in a time period that is contemporary with release dates based on pop culture and technology.  In the HCU, the “kids” should be in their 40s.  Furthermore, based on evidence from Looney Tunes:  Back in Action, it’s likely the revival films are fictional in the HCU, being fictional films about Mystery, Inc. However, Mystery Incorporated (in a divergent timeline) has an appearance of the Hex Girls, a  fictional band that originated in revival series film Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost.  Based on the crossover rules I am using, that would place the revival film series if not in the HCU main timeline, at least in a divergent timeline.  And indeed, it must be placed in a divergent timeline.  Thus,Spider-Man:  Gathering of the Sinister Six should be placed in that divergent timeline.  

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