“Casablanca” won the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre Romance Viewers Choice Poll with 72 percent of the vote, winning the iconic film a screening at the theater on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II, an American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. The American happens to be Humphrey Bogart, and the former lover is Ingrid Bergman. “Casablanca” is being shown as part of the Backstage Theatre’s Classic Film Series.
“The purpose of the Classic Film Series is to watch these films in a real theatre with an audience as they were originally shown,” said Laurie Rambaud, film series instigator. “It won Oscars for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bogart), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Claude Rains) and Best Writing — Screenplay.”
“Casablanca” is a great romance, Rambaud said, not only for being so supremely entertaining with its humor and realistic-though-exotic wartime excitement, but because it’s not the least bit mushy. Take the way Rick’s face literally breaks when he first sees Ilsa in his bar or how he recalls the last time he saw her in Paris: “The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.” There’s a real human dimension to these people that makes us care for them and relate to them in a way that belies the passage of years.
The film will be introduced by Geralyn Smitherman, enthusiastic classic movie buff and longtime Backstage board member. She’ll have a few interesting bits of trivia for the audience to watch out for. For example, the difference in height between Bogart and Bergman changes throughout the film. This is because Bergman was actually a few inches taller than Bogart, though to create the illusion that it was vice versa, Bogart stood on boxes and sat on pillows in some shots or had Bergman slouch down (as evident when she sits on the couch in the “franc for your thoughts” scene).
“If you’ve never seen it, what are you waiting for?” Rambaud said. “Working or just too busy on Valentine’s Day, this is the perfect belated Valentine’s date movie. Hit a Tuesday happy hour, then walk to the theatre.”
There is still time to vote for March’s Viewers Choice — Comedy to be shown Tuesday, March 18. Options include “Blazing Saddles” (1974), “Bringing Up Baby” (1938), “Duck Soup” (1933), “His Girl Friday” (1940), “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963) and “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Go to www.backstagetheatre.org or vote in person at the theater.
April and May at the Backstage will feature Mud Season Movie Madness. Classics from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (with a complementary bag of props so you can do the time-warp properly) to modern adventure films will be shown.
Concessions are available for all film screenings, including beer, wine and mixed drinks. For more information about the Classic Film Series, visit www.backstagetheatre.org or call the box office at (970) 453-0199.