Question: I thought that it was pretty obvious that Barb Wire (1996) was based on Casablanca, with Pamela Anderson in the Bogart role, but my brother says I'm crazy. I think he just couldn't see past Pam's assets to the plot details; is there some official word that it's a Casablanca takeoff?


Answer: Well, now, let's see. The year is 2017, Barb (Pamela Anderson) owns a nightclub in Steel Harbor, the last free zone in a futuristic American police state. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Axel (Temura Morrison), Barb's ex, walks into hers with his wife, resistance leader Cora D (Victoria Rowell), in tow. The government is out to kill Cora, and the retinal-scan-resistant contact lenses that will ensure her safe passage to Canada are in Steel Harbor. Hmm, that sounds a whole lot like Casablanca (1942) to me, with Anderson in the Humphrey Bogart role, Morrison in Ingrid Bergman's part, Rowell in the place of Paul Henreid, Xander Berkeley playing a variation on the Claude Rains role and Steve Railsback's sadistic Colonel Pryzer replacing Casablanca's evil Nazi, Colonel Strasser (Conrad Veidt). Oh, and the contact lenses are standing in for Casablanca's "letters of transit." Official word? No. But believe me, you're not the only person to have noticed, just as your brother isn't the only person who couldn't see past Anderson's bountiful talents.