Thursday, June 30, 2005

Everybody Goes to Rick's

Paul and I picked my four year old up from nursery after work yesterday afternoon as Jane was ruuning late. When she got in, and as we were setting off for Tooting she recommended that we eat at Rick's Cafe (122 Mitcham Road, Tooting, SW17 9NH tel: 02087675219). This had the unfortunate effect of bringing Bogie and Bergman's Casablanca to mind causing us to waste most of the next couple of hours trying to remember the name of the actor who played Capt. Renault. (It was, as any fule kno, Claud Rains.)

En route we had a pint in The Gorringe Park (London Road, Tooting, London, SW17 9JR) and then one in the The Railway Bell (284, Mitcham Rd, London, SW17 9NT), both of which were pretty disappointing, but then we bowled up at The Ramble Inn (Amen Corner, Mitcham Road, Tooting, London, SW17 9JG) which was great.

The Amen Corner address also had the advantage of reminding me of Welsh Born Icon Andy Fairweather Low (Cardiff 1948) so I serenaded any passers by with "Bend Me Shape Me", "Half As Nice", and "Wide Eyed and Legless" as we proceded from there up to the ever reliable Rick's where I enjoyed croquettes of Spanish ham with sauce vierge then char grilled rib eye steak, chips and green peppercorn sauce and a bottle of Rioja.

The only downside was that Paul, fresh from the Claud Rains triumph, decided to regale me with a tidal wave of Casablanca trivia and demand that I publish it here.


After shooting, the producers wanted to remove "As Time Goes By" as the song identifying Rick and Ilsa, but couldn't manage it becaue Ingrid Bergman had cut her hair very short for For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) which was shooting at a distant locale and she therefore could not re-shoot already-completed scenes that had used "As Time Goes By".

The final scene includes midget extras as aircraft personnel walking around a model cardboard plane, because of budgetary and wartime rationing constraints.

etc. etc.

I don't know where he gets it all from. I've looked at the Trivia for Casablanca (1942) page today however and found a great modern story.

In the 1980s, this film's script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, "Everybody Comes To Rick's". Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was "not good enough" to make a decent movie.

There is more poignant stuff as well.

Conrad Veidt, who played Maj. Strasser, was well known in the theatrical community in Germany for his hatred of the Nazis, and in fact was forced to hurriedly escape the country when he found out that the SS had sent a death squad after him because of his anti-Nazi activities.

Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany.

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