Posts Tagged ‘paul henreid’

This film is thought by many fans to be one of the most romantic films ever made. It stars Bette Davies as Charlotte Vale, a lonely, depressed woman, who is dominated by her (frankly, horrible) mother (Gladys Cooper). Psychiatrist Doctor Jaquith (Claude Rains) encourages her to stay at his sanatorium, where she gains confidence and changes from a frumpy old-before-her-time woman, to a glamorous lady. On a cruise, Charlotte meets Jerry Durrance (Paul Henried), and the two fall in love. Jerry is married with two daughters, but although he is desperately unhappy with his manipulative wife, he cannot leave her. Has Charlotte swapped one kind of unhappiness for another?

I had high hopes for this film – it is classed as a great romance, and a hugely popular movie from Hollywood’s golden era. And….I was slightly disappointed. I do think Bette Davis was superb, and Paul Henried was fine, but it all felt slightly flat. There was also a sub-plot with one of Jerry’s daughters, which seemed a bit pointless, and even sat slightly uncomfortable to me.

Also, I thought that Charlotte’s transformation from frump to fabulous was all very sudden, which made it hard to believe. Furthermore, her oppressive mother was so horrible that she came across as a pantomime villain! That said, I did like Charlotte’s sister-in-law Lisa Ilka Chase, and Claude Rains was as wonderful as ever as Doctor Asquith (I would actually have liked to have seen Charlotte and the doctor end up together).

As with all my reviews, this is purely my own opinion, and certainly this film is highly rated, and regarded as a classic. So don’t let me put you off watching it – it just wasn’t a film for me, I’m afraid.

Year of release: 1942

Director: Irving Rapper

Producer: Hal B. Wallis

Writers: Olive Higgins Prouty (novel), Casey Robinson

Main cast: Bette Davis, Paul Heinreid, Gladys Cooper, Claude Rains, John Loder, Ilka Chase, Bonita Granville

Read Full Post »

This film probably gave its stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman their most famous and celebrated roles.  In unoccupied Africa in the early days of World War II, Rick Blaine (Bogart) is a cynical and disillusioned exiled American, who runs a popular gin joint.  When Czech underground leader Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) arrives at his premises, he brings with him his wife Isla (Bergman), a woman who is well known to Rick, and who reawakens feelings that he thought he had put behind him forever.  Rick may be in a position to help Victor, but he has to choose whether he will use this position to his own advantage or not.

Have you ever watched a film that is called a classic, and been a bit let-down?  Well, this is not one of those films.  To put it bluntly, Casablanca is awesome.  It demonstrates the changes in people’s characters and lives that are caused by war, it has a beautiful romance at it’s heart (I cried a number of times throughout), and it’s a blindingly brilliant story.

I particularly liked the fact that Rick’s rival for Ilsa’s love, Victor, was not a bad guy – in fact he was an extremely good guy, who was fighting for people’s freedom and human rights.  It would have been so easy to have the audience rooting for Rick, by making Victor an unlikeable character, and it made the film all the more powerful for the script not taking this route.

The lead actors – Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid were just wonderful, and the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman was electric.  I also thought Claude Reins as the French officer, Captain Renault – a man who was loyal to whichever side served his own interests best, and Dooley Wilson as Sam, the piano player at Rick’s bar – were excellent.

Certain scenes stand out in my mind, in particular the ending, but I’m not going to reveal any details here as I would not want to spoil it for any first time viewers.

In short, this film is well worth all the accolades it received.  If you still haven’t experienced Casablanca, I strongly recommend that you watch it.

Year of release: 1942

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writers: Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch, Murray Burnett, Joan Alison, Casey Robinson

Main cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Read Full Post »