Happy 75th Anniversary, Casablanca!

It’s a tough choice, but if asked to name our favorite motion picture of all time, we’d have to say it’s Casablanca​, which premiered 75 years ago today in New York City. (You can still visit the theatre where it debuted, but you’ll have to watch the video to learn more about that.)

We rewatched the “La Marseillaise” scene recently, in which a passionate rendition of the French national anthem gives the patrons of Rick’s Cafe Americain a small but satisfying victory over Maj. Strasser and his Nazi henchmen, and though we’ve seen this wonderful movie easily a dozen times (probably closer to two dozen), that scene still gave us chills.

Here are 16 things you should know about Casablanca​, the official movie of Cladrite Radio…

Flirting with the Past

Last night we watched The Lady Objects (1938), a strange and kind of silly drama/musical (drusical?) that finds Gloria Stuart, adorable as ever, playing a hotshot lawyer whose husband (Lanny Ross), a former All-American halfback, a world-class tenor and a hopeful young architect (quite the trifecta, that), resents her success and the demands it places on her time.

A movie poster of THE LADY OBJECTS, 1938

As we said, kind of silly, but entertaining enough, since we get a special kick out of watching any picture that features Ms. Stuart. We were pleased to do a telephone interview with her some years ago when her memoir was published, and we’ll admit to being not a little proud that when we got to meet her in person a few weeks later at her book party in NYC, she flirted with us just the slightest bit. Nothing overt, nothing untoward, but in a room filled almost entirely with the young women of the publishing industry, we stood out, it seems—a young(ish—we were 41 at the time) man who was thrilled to dote on Ms. Stuart, bringing her food and drink, asking her questions about her movie career back in the 1930s and generally behaving in starstruck fashion.

So whenever we see her looking so fetching on the screen, we can’t help but think, That gorgeous movie star once flirted with us, an actress who might have once flirted with Humphrey Bogart, The Marx Brothers, James Cagney, Lee Tracy, Melvyn Douglas, Boris Karloff, Ralph Bellamy, Pat O’Brien, Eddie Cantor, John Boles, Claude Rains, Lionel Atwell, Frank Morgan, Brian Donlevy, Warner Baxter, Dick Powell, Frank McHugh, Don Ameche, Lyle Talbot, George Sanders, Walter Pidgeon, Jack Oakie, and Richard Dix. In any case, she appeared in pictures with each of them (except Bogart and the Marx Brothers, whom she knew socially).

Yes, our brief encounter with Ms. Stuart came more than a half-century after those hypothetical Hollywood flirtations—she was 89 at the time—but if she batted her eyelashes at even one-tenth of her aforementioned costars back in the day, we’d have to say we’re in pretty good company!

In Their Words: Happy Birthday, Claude Rains!

The great Claude Rains was born 125 years ago today in London. Few actors in cinematic history were more reliable in consistently delivering memorable performances. We’re not sure we can name a bad one from Mr. Rains.

If you wish to watch one of his pictures today to celebrate his birthday, there are dozens of worthy options, but you can certainly not go wrong by choosing either Casablanca, The Invisible Man, or Notorious.

Happy birthday, Mr. Rains, wherever you may be!

Cladrite Classics: As Time Goes By…

We first shared this post a year ago today, and you can expect to see it a year from now, too, and a year after that…

Interior of Hollywood TheaterSeventy-one years ago today, at the Hollywood Theater—at the corner of 51st and Broadway in New York City—the greatest (well, in any case, our favorite) motion picture ever filmed made its debut.

We’ve seen Casablanca countless times, and, God willing, we’ll see it many more times before we depart this mortal coil. It’s well nigh perfect. The world’s been a better place for the past seven decades for it being around.

The Hollywood was eventually renamed the Mark Hellinger Theatre, playing host for decades to live Broadway productions.

Today, the building, its interior largely unchanged from its days as a movie palace, is home to Times Square Church. If you find yourself in Manhattan and wish to make a pilgrimage to the spot where this great picture was first screened for the public, now you know where to go.

As Time Goes By…

Interior of Hollywood TheaterSeventy years ago today, at the Hollywood Theater—at the corner of 51st and Broadway in New York City—the greatest (well, in any case, our favorite) motion picture ever filmed made its debut.

We’ve seen Casablanca countless times, and, God willing, we’ll see it many more times before we depart this mortal coil. It’s well nigh perfect. The world’s been a better place for the past seven decades for it being around.

The Hollywood was eventually renamed the Mark Hellinger Theatre, playing host for decades to live Broadway productions.

Today, the building, its interior largely unchanged from its days as a movie palace, is home to Times Square Church. If you find yourself in Manhattan and wish to make a pilgrimage to the spot where this great picture was first screened for the public, now you know where to go.