CASABLACK by Christopher Leopold

CASABLACK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another half-whimsical, half-satiric, all-labored hodgepodge from the author of Blood and Guts Is Going Nuts (1977). It's 1942, and a Hollywood hack named Nad Klaf is heading for North Africa, determined to prove that he deserves credit for the storyline of the hit film Casablanca; he'll do this by re-locating the real-life model for the Humphrey Bogart character, a Casablanca croupier named Steve Wagner. But Steve is hard to track down because he's been busy since bidding farewell to the Ingrid Bergman character--he's assassinating a visiting Nazi general, serving torture time in a desert labor camp, recovering in a U.S. army hospital, killing the Vichy police chief, bedding various vamps, and discovering that beloved Helda (the I. Bergman character) is really a sleazy hooker. (He tells the Paul Henreid character: ""Can't you get it into your great stupid cranium that the lady's a whore? She sucks cocks for a living. Got it?"") This is dreary, strained material in itself; but, worse yet, it's delivered within a morass of mannered prose, murky subplots, quasi-history (the Allied invasion of North Africa, the internal disputes among the Free French), oafish parallels with the Bogart film (worst is an atrocious song instead of ""As Time Goes By""), and cameo appearances by Patton, Churchill, and FDR--who is fiercely anti-Gaullist, even pro-Vichy. A few WW II buffs with expertise in that particular slice of history may cotton to Leopold's de-romanticizing satire; but most readers--including even the most feverish fans of the original Casablanca film--will find this confused, unfunny, and mildly distasteful.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday