With all the exams and essays I've had to worry about lately, I've been a bit behind on the Thursday Movie Picks Meme hosted by Wanderer. This week, the theme is movies adapted from a play, which seems simple enough. Unfortunately there is a catch: they cannot be adapted from Shakespeare or a musical.
Technically, the original play on which it was based, Everybody Comes to Rick's, was never actually performed on stage, but it was originally a play that got turned into a film so it still counts. Casablanca could be seen as an early film noir, as well as a thinly-veiled allegory for America's involvement in World War II. Either way it is an amazing film. Humphrey Bogart delivers a great performance and his supporting cast is full of interesting characters. It's final scene alone has become very iconic, and with parodies and homages far too many to name.
12 Angry Men (1957)
Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)
I won't even begin to pretend I understand the source material at all. Apparently Anton Chekhov is an inspired taste, but this particular treatment from the director of My Dinner With Andre starring Wallace Shawn, a young Julianne Moore, and that girl who got kidnapped in The Silence of the Lambs is an interesting experience. It takes on the approach of a group of actors (who are only ever referred to by their characters' names) performing a rehearsal of a play in a run-down New York theater and casual attire. The result is that is becomes hard to tell where reality ends and the performance begins. Characters who appear to be acting casually turn out to be acting, and sometimes you start to feel like you're really seeing the play only for some small detail to ground you back into the reality.