Tag Archives: Claude Rains

The Set of 400: #74 – My Favorite Roulette Wager on 22

Today! Because there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade –

Casablanca (1942)

Directed Michael Curtiz (x2)

Starring Humphrey Bogart (x3), Ingrid Bergman (x4), Claude Rains (x2), Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet (x2), Peter Lorre (x3), Conrad Veidt, Madeleine LeBeau, Dooley Wilson, S.Z. Sakall, Leonid Kinskey, John Qualen (x2)

Okay, okay, I can hear what you’re thinking:

“Oh, Casablanca? Like the greatest movie ever made is on this guy’s list? Oh, edgy choice, Joe. Way to go. Who’s in your top 100 favorite bands? Let me guess, The Beatles? Great work. Why the hell do I keep reading this thing?”

“What new is he gonna say about Casablanca? Oh, wait, I’ve got it – that the songs are great. That seems like the fun new spin he’ll throw on this. I mean, he put Evita on here, so clearly he focuses way too much on music. Maybe he’ll tell us what a great movie star Humphrey Bogart was. Maybe he’ll quote that whole final scene on the tarmac. Maybe he’ll just drown us in 500 words about Louie kicking that Vichy bottle. My goodness – Casablanca! What an asshole!”

Total doofus

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The Set of 400: #370 – My Favorite Wine Cellar Key

Today! Because I am married to an American agent –

Notorious (1946)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman (x2), Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Moroni Olsen, Reinhold Schunzel, Ivan Triesault

You’ll meet some people in your time spent discussing movies who live and die by Hitchcock. I am not one of those people. No, this isn’t his only appearance on this list, but many of his most popular, highest regarded films won’t pop up here in the days to come. I don’t know, I thought his later films either silly or admirable but not lovable. Feel free to write in and complain when the list is complete, and not a day before, Birds fans! That shit is ridiculous!

I have always really enjoyed the weirdly caustic romance of Notorious, though. It’s a deep-intrigue, double-crossing tale, with this exquisitely strange relationship between Grant’s government agent Devlin and Bergman’s shattered mole Alicia at its center. It’s not a will-they-or-won’t-they romance like the word makes you envision; it’s more a will-they-be-able-to-or-will-they-die sort of love story. Claude Rains is terrific as the object of Berman’s faux affections, and was nominated for an Oscar for his work, along with the excellent screenplay by the great Ben Hecht. As you will see in days to come, I’ve always preferred the straight crime or espionage Hitchcocks to the horror/psychological terror Hitchcocks. Not exclusively, but pretty close. Again, bitch if you like, Psycho-heads, but that is some silly hokum you’ve embraced right there. Continue reading

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