Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Incredible Suit's 30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge #4: Casablanca

30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge #1: The Shining
30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge #2: A Clockwork Orange
30-Minute Freeze-Frame Challenge #3: Blade Runner

This week's 30MFFC was the idea of Simon Kinnear, not just a The Incredible Suit viewer (and therefore already beyond criticism) but also a real, proper film journalist who doesn't just fanny about boring people silly with the interweb equivalent of a puddle of armpit sweat like I do, but is actually paid to witter about movies for Total Film.

Incidentally Total Film recently published a list of '600 Movie Blogs You May Have Missed', which was one of the worst things I've ever read, for obvious reasons, but The Incredible Suit does not bear a grudge against Mr Kinnear for that. The article's author Dan Goodswen, on the other hand, had better watch out for falling pianos from now on.

Anyway, death threats aside, let's get down to business. Mr Kinnear chose Casablanca, a film so good it deserves its own post, and one day I'll write that post. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

See what I did there?

Oh forget it.

0:30:00 Here's Sam contemplating his choice of piano stool location. Yes Sam, I think it would be better off on the floor too. While this looks lovely and all, especially considering it's in the middle of a tracking shot, I'm not sure you could market the film with it or hang it over your fireplace.

1:00:00 Here's Captain Renault and Rick exchanging timeless, slickly-written dialogue crafted by angels with typewriters made of silver clouds. However we can't hear it, and all we can see is Rick looking in the wrong direction. Bogey, you amateur!

1:30:00 Here's Rick, Ilsa and Victor meeting surreptitiously after office hours. Obviously this shot perfectly describes the mood of the story and is an abject lesson in top-notch cinematography, but in itself it just doesn't get the blood pumping.


This was a toughie, it has to be said. Casablanca is such a sublime example of near-flawless filmmaking that people should probably have just stopped making movies after 1942. While every shot of the film is a masterclass in composition and lighting, that's not what the 30MFFC is about. I know I didn't really think the rules through very carefully before I embarked on this abortion of a feature, but basically the chosen frames have to be good enough to use as promotional material or to stick on your wall, and Sam staring at the floor or Rick turning his head at the wrong moment is enough to result in a Fail.

If it's any help, if these three shots had come up instead, it would have passed:

So sorry Mr K. Casablanca is textbook excellence but the 30MFFC sticks its neck out for nobody.

If you've got a film you'd like to see go under the Suitoscope, or a rant about what an insult to art, common sense, taste and decency this feature is, let me know via the magic of clicking here


  1. Great stuff there from the 30 MFFC, always a highlight (I'm not sure what that actually says about this blog.....)
    Its time for some name dropping I am a friend, well acquaintance...erm I regard them as people I once met, of both Mr Incredible Suit and the suggester of this film, I even recommended this site to Simon I feel that this being the case I should say something relevant, however, I don't know what that should be. Any Suggestions? Please send a comment.

    Can I suggest you try Aliens at some point in the future. Its perhaps a bit obvious but its just the sort of mainstream action that could get this super blog into the home of millions. Failing that, it would just satisfy my curiosity.

  2. J Mac, consider it on the list, if only to imagine you shouting "Riiipleeeeeeeyyy!" as you read.

  3. Mr Suit,
    I understand you are a frustrated Jedi,so this might be right up your street?

    Ms So So Jeans

  4. Rick: Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.
    Captain Renault: Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects.
    How about a sentence test? Wind a film half an hour in and select the nearest whole sentence, one hour and so on.

  5. SSJ, surely it would make sense to promote from within? There are gonna be a lot of angry Jedis if one of their number isn't made Head Yoda.

    Tony, I like your style. When the viewers get thoroughly sick of the 30MFFC I'll consider the 30MSS(Significant Sentence)C.

  6. Mr Suit,
    I would guess - as someone who works with these sort of geeks, sorry, people - that your average Jedi is no leader. Sheep yes, leader no. I thought of you since you have shown evidence of having been in a shop that sells clothes dryers, a feat unknown in the geek world since they don't wash clothes. I suspect it may well have been the influence of Mrs Suit, but still.

    Ms So So Jeans

  7. It was Sainsbury's. I'd heard they had the Clone Wars Annual for a pound.

  8. Ideas for your next three or so 30MFCC..

    The Fountain
    Shaun Of The Dead

  9. Thanks Phil, I'll shove them on the list and see if they're brave enough to take on the challenge.