Robert Borelli

StoneCastle Productions  Murder Mystery Play 2   


Murder on the Back Lot, The Final Scene


  Synopsis of the play


Murray Burnett is just a little different than most everyone else in New York these dark days of 1940, as War dominates all aspects of Citizens lives from Newspapers and Billboards to Radio.  With a Nation about to face extreme sacrifices, Murray knows that he will feel a sense of guilt  spending the $50,000.00 received from selling his play “Everybody goes to Rick’s” to Warner Brother’s Studio. He is invited to a shooting party, that is a film shooting party. He wonders if he should attend the party. In Murray’s mind, some may characterize him as a “War Profiteer” for writing an anti-war play and selling the Movie rights for significant pieces of silver. Murray hopes that the movie version of the play, which the Producers at Warner Brothers named “Casablanca”, will reinforce the absurdity of War and portray it for what it really is; an opportunity for powerful men to obtain more power.  He waited for an invitation to do the re-write for the movie since he was the natural choice. When the cast was announced, he was thrilled for he knew, they were the exact types of actors he envisioned when he wrote the play, especially Humphrey Bogart as Rick. Boggie has an unconstrained arrogance for authority and would certainly be in Character to utter “I stick my neck out for nobody”. Murray agreed that a very shy and sensitive leading lady in Ingrid Bergman would smooth out Boggie's rough edges. Murray also knew some of the crew on the project. He had been friends with George James Hopkins, the Set Director, and is fully aware of  his descent in Hollywood circles.  Murray also knew of the volatile reputation of the Director Michael Curtiz, a German who hates American Actors. A declining set director coupled with a volatile director, a very sensitive leading lady, and a no nonsense leading man, will make Casablanca a brilliant film or a hellish nightmare. But Murray will not be a major player in this brilliant film or hellish nightmare. No! he will only be a spectator.  Ah Yes! Rewrite would have been nice. but alas! No invitation ever came, until now, An invitation to be only a witness, at the closing curtain of “Everybody goes to Rick’s”.


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