Casbah (1948)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Drama, Crime Drama  |   Release Date - Apr 1, 1948 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Casbah is a musical reworking of the Pepe Le Moko story, and while making a musical of said story is not in itself a bad idea, making it with Tony Martin in the role was a mistake. Certainly the mistake lies not in Martin's singing; he has all the voice that one might want for a musical such as this, and when he is lifting that voice in song, Casbah is in good shape. But Martin doesn't have the acting chops that the part requires, and while he has a presence, it's not enough to carry the story. Like Les Miserables, however, Casbah is really the story of two men, one of whom is bound and determined to catch the other, and in the pursuer, Casbah is considerably luckier. Peter Lorre is wonderful as Slimane, the officer who is determined to get his man. He underplays beautifully, stealing scenes with a sly glance, or imbuing even simple phrases with meaning simply by the way he tilts his head. On the distaff side, Yvonne De Carlo and Marta Toten are stunning in looks; De Carlo is fine dramatically, Toten not quite so much. Harold Arlen and Leo Robin's four-song score is marvelous, and the Katherine Dunham dancers are a lively distraction.