Dear Mr Warner.
Of all the gin joints in all the world, you had to try and walk into Rick Blaine’s Café Americain. You couldn’t have timed it any worse. It’s 70 years since the release of the original film, Casablanca, the famous romantic drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Usually in every film critic’s top ten films of all time. Timeless, flawless (well almost). And then some dipstick money-making bozo with no sense of pride in the past of the US film industry comes along with a second-hand (see below) third-rate bottom-of-class idea. A re-make of Casablanca. I have to say it’s difficult to stop words falling from my mouth as shit from ass (as Batiatus would say in Spartacus). With a vitriol enema.
The rumour is that because of the outcry against a remake from outraged film buffs, movie lovers and celluloid historians across the world, it might be a sequel. Return to Casablanca or As Time Goes By. OMFG!
I’ve heard the plot might revolve around Richard Blaine, the illegitimate son of Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa Lund, who were separated at the end of the original movie. Blaine, who has been raised in the US by Lund and her husband Victor Laszlo, returns to North Africa to find out what became of his biological father. Purlease!
Mr Warner, no, no and thrice no. Please don’t make the film. It will be an abortion. The leading actors and actresses that appeared in it are all dead, as is the director, Michael Curtiz. Please let a classic stand there as a beautiful and much-admired stand-alone statement about love, loss, death, war and sacrifice all with a deft touch of humour- “round up the usual suspects”!
You have been quoted as saying "There will be flashbacks, but it's a film about the next generation; a son going back to find what happened to his parents. I wouldn't want to touch the original for the world."
But of course you can’t break the link between what you will produce and the original. The latter will be tainted and besmirched by any sequel. The uncertain end at the end of the original was a brilliant semi-cliff-hanger, and one of the films greatest charms. You will compromise the original by shooting and showing a successor that cannot and will not surpass the original.
There have only been a few films where the sequel has been better than the original. Godfather II and … well.. possibly The Two Towers if you see that as a sequel. The Hobbit will of course be dreadful, and every Hollywood remake of Japanese horror films have failed to capture the edgy Asiatic fear seeping out through the originals.
Meanwhile, the piano used in the Oscar-winning film is expected to fetch more than £650,000 when it is sold next month at auction in New York. Mr Warner, you may also know that Humphrey Bogart's son, Stephen, thinks it would tarnish the memory of the famous film. "There are certain films, like 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Gone with the Wind' and, of course, 'Casablanca,' that need to stay as pristine and perfect as they are," he told the NY Post in a piece about Warner's campaign for a sequel. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
You’re not the first to propose a remake or sequel of Casablanca. In 2007-8 there was..Madgablanca. Yep. In an attempt to rid herself of the title of the queen of crap movies, Madonna wanted to remake Casablanca. Produce it. Maybe even direct it. Not only that, but of course she wanted to star in it. Thank God that one died a death. And your proposal should too.
Mr Warner. Please accept that some things cannot be bettered and should be left to shine like a beacon on the movie firmament. Casablanca is one such film. Now go and commission some new film from some new untried writer and director. Dare you!
An Open Letter to Cass Warner, Hollywood Producer Planning to Remake the Classic Film Casablanca: Don’t Play it Again Sam!
Dear Mr Warner.