Saturday, April 26, 2008

One of my favorite scenes from the movie "Casablanca"

Annina: Monsieur Rick?
Rick: Yes.
Annina: Could I speak to you for just a moment, please?
Rick: How did you get in here? You're under age.
Annina: I came with Captain Renault.
Rick: I should have known.
Annina: My husband is with me, too.
Rick: He is? Well, Captain Renault's getting broadminded. Sit down. Will you have a drink?
(Annina shakes her head)
Rick: No, of course not. Do you mind if I do?
Annina: No.
(Rick pours himself a drink)
Annina: What kind of man is Captain Renault?
Rick: Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so.
Annina: No, I mean is he trustworthy. Is his word ...
Rick: Now just a minute. Who told you to ask me that?
Annina: He did. Captain Renault did.
Rick: I thought so. Where is your husband?
Annina: He's at the roulette table, trying to win enough for our exit visa. Well, of course, he's losing.
Rick: How long have you been married?
Annina: Eight weeks. We came from Bulgaria. Oh, things are very bad there, monsieur. A devil has the people by the throat. So, Jan and I, we, we do not want our children to grow up in such a country.
Rick: So you decided to go to America.
Annina: Yes, but we don't have much money, and travelling is so expensive and difficult. It was much more than we thought to get here. And then Captain Renault sees us and he is so kind. He wants to help us.
Rick: Yes, I'll bet.
Annina: He tells us he can give us an exit visa, but we have no money.
Rick: Does he know that?
Annina: Oh, yes.
Rick: And he's still willing to give you an exit visa?
Annina: Yes, monsieur.
Rick: And you want to know ...
Annina: Will he keep his word?
Rick: He always has.
Annina: Oh, monsieur, you are a man. If someone loved you very much, so that your happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the whole world, but she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?
Rick: Nobody ever loved me that much.

The Rick in that scene was played, of course, by Humphrey Bogart. The actress who played Annina was Joy Page, a 17-year-old high school senior when she got the part of the woman who faces having to sleep with the corrupt police Captain Renault (Claude Rains) in order to obtain the exit visas needed to escape from Casablanca to America. Rick winds up letting her husband win at roulette so he can buy the visas.

Although studio head Jack Warner liked her in the film, he never signed her to a studio contract nor did he cast her in any other Warner Brothers films. In 1945, she married actor William T. Orr, who later headed Warner's television department and was responsible for developing such series as "Maverick," "77 Sunset Strip" and the pioneering "Cheyenne," television's first hour-long western.

I only learned this morning that Ms. Page died last week, apparently from the complications of a stroke and pneumonia. She was 83.

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