Veteran actress Madeleine LeBeau (8 1/2, Angelique), who was the last living cast member of 1942’s Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart (The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep) and Ingrid Bergman (Notorious, Autumn Sonata), has passed away at the age of 92. LeBeau starred as Bogart’s mistress, Yvonne, in a role that mirrored her own experience as a European refugee at the height of the Nazi occupation. LeBeau had made her debut in France with a film called Girls in Distress in 1939 before fleeing with her husband to Spain. They eventually entered the United States with temporary Canadian passports and went to Hollywood to find work. Both LeBeau and her husband, actor Marcel Dalio, were cast in supporting roles in Casablanca, and LeBeau would make two more films (Paris After Dark, Music for Millions) before returning to France following the end of World War II. She would continue to work as an actress until her retirement from the screen in 1970. LeBeau died on May 1st in Spain after breaking her hip.
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Continue reading →