Martini time 

Casablanca and cocktails at the Lon Chaney Theater

click to enlarge Casablanca and cocktails at the Lon Chaney Theate
  • Casablanca and cocktails at the Lon Chaney Theate

Thanks to the Belle Starr Restaurant and Bar, located in the historic City Auditorium, Springs moviegoers can now enjoy Martinis and a Movie on Friday evenings. The movie for the Dec. 24 soiree is Casablanca, featuring one of the most memorable love matches in cinematic history between Humphrey Bogart (Rick) and Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa).

Set in Casablanca, Morocco, during World War II and filmed in 1942, the cat-and-mouse spy game/love story takes place in Rick's saloon. Ilsa's a stunning dame on the run from Nazi agents with her lover Victor Lazlo. Throw in the quirky prefect of the local police, Captain Renault, the two-bit parasite Ugarte and the stoic but loyal piano player Sam, and you've got a movie filled with enough one-liners to make the theater's namesake, film legend Lon Chaney, green with envy.

From "play it again, Sam" to "round up the usual suspects" to "here's looking at you, kid," the film is rife with material for the noir cinephile. Tit-for-tat dialogue between Rick and Ilsa has melted many a romantic heart. After the first time I heard Bergman's voice pleading, "Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time," I found myself fishing my heart out of my shoe. Annual viewing of the film over the course of your entire life should be required for every red-blooded American, while misquotations of dialogue should result in the revocation of citizenship and immediate deportation to Canada. Avoid deportation with a martini and a movie. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

-- Aaron Menza

Lon Chaney Theater in the City Auditorium, corner of Kiowa and North Nevada; Friday, Dec. 24, 8 p.m.; $8 includes martini, hors d'oeuvres and movie; doors open at 7 p.m. with cocktails served until 8 p.m. Call 385-6598 for more.

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