Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

"Casablanca" Remake Greenlit as Last Remaining Cast Member from Original Dies at 92.

"Casablanca" Will join Ghostbusters Ben Hur Batman & Spider-Man as a recent movie remake


August 19, 2016

Madeleine Lebeau born as Marie Madeleine Berthe Lebeau in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France on 10 June 1923.

Madeleine Lebeau, an actress known best for her role as Rick's girlfriend in the classic film "Casablanca," died May 1. Coincidentally, a remake of one of the three most romantic films of all time is in the works. Paul Feig, who recently directed Ghosbusters, has been asked to direct it, but has not yet signed.

The French actress played the jilted girlfriend of Rick in the legendary film. LeBeau is seen singing "La Marseillaise" while tears well up in her eyes as the French citizens drown out the singing of the Germans. The video of that sequence is embedded below on this page.

Lebeau and her first husband fled Paris in 1940. Her first Hollywood role was in the movie "Hold Back the Dawn," which starred Olivia de Havilland. She also appeared in "Gentlemen Jim" with Errol Flynn. After the end of World War II, Lebeau moved back to France, where she continued her acting career in her native country.

As you probably know, Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film set in North Africa during World War II. It was directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's.

The film stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid.

Madeleine LeBeau played Yvonne, Rick's soon-discarded girlfriend. The French actress was married to fellow Casablanca performer Marcel Dalio until their divorce in 1942. She was the last surviving cast member until her death on May 1, 2016.

Casablanca focuses on an American expatriate who must choose between his love for a woman and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

Story editor Irene Diamond convinced producer Hal B. Wallis to purchase the film rights to the play in January 1942.

The original film was shot entirely at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, with the exception of one sequence at Van Nuys Airport. The Santa Monica Observer has learned that New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Brothers will be making the modern reshoot. A Director and cast have yet to be hired. A film script is in the works. Perhaps this time Humphrey Bogart's role will be played by a woman, and the central romances will be lesbian. I don't actually know that, but it would be consistent with Hollywood tastes.

Although Casablanca was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything out of the ordinary. It was just one of hundreds of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. Casablanca was rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier. It had its world premiere on November 26, 1942, in New York City and was released nationally in the United States on January 23, 1943. The original movie was a solid if unspectacular success in its initial run.

Casablanca did account for three Academy Awards – Best Picture, Director(Curtiz) and Adapted Screenplay (the Epsteins and Koch) – and gradually its reputation grew. Its lead characters, memorable lines, and period piece theme song have all become iconic and the film consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films in history.

Casablanca also featured Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.

The term "remake" is generally used in reference to a movie which uses an earlier movie as the main source material, rather than in reference to a second, later movie based on the same source. For example, 2001's Ocean's Eleven is a remake of Ocean's 11, while 1989's Batman is a re-interpretation of the comic book source material which also inspired 1966's Batman. In 1998, Gus Van Sant produced a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho.

Madeleine Lebeau appears about 40 seconds into this sequence where the Marsaillaise is sung at Rick's Place.

With the exception of shot-for-shot remakes, most remakes make significant character, plot, genre and theme changes. For example, the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair is centered on a bank robbery, while its 1999 remake involves the theft of a valuable piece of artwork. The 1999 remake of The Mummy was viewed primarily as "a reimagining" in a different genre (adventure). Similarly, when the 1969 film The Italian Job was remade in 2003, few aspects were carried over. Another example is the 1932 film Scarface which was remade in 1983 starring Al Pacino; whereas the setting of 1932 version is the illegal alcohol trade, the characters in the 1983 version are involved in cocaine smuggling.

It's an open secret that Hollywood greenlights Remakes because they don't like to take risks. There is a guaranteed audience for yet another Batman, Ben-Hur, Total Recall, Ghostbusters, or When Harry Met Sally remake. In some years, the theaters are filled with remakes, for this accounting reason.


Reader Comments

AntiqueFlyer writes:

Very interesting article...I did a quick search on the topic, now about a year and a half later, and come up blank on this actually happening. Mr. Alioto, would you be willing to follow up on this story and contact me? I have a special interest in this because I own one of the few remaining, flying Lockheed 12A aircraft in the world. My plane is a real-life Casablanca plane, being documented to have flown Charles de Gaulle in North Africa during WWII. If New Line is going to make a remake, it would be super cool for them to do it with a real-life Casablanca plane on film. Check out the plane/history at And if you could check your sources for status and get in touch, it would be much appreciated!

Packgurl writes:

Soooo excited for this. Melissa Mcarthy is gonna rock it so hard, people won't even remember the patriarchies old misogynist version.


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