Of all the lousy sequels in all the world...

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The Independent Online
YOU MUST remember this ... Rick Blaine, the Humphrey Bogart character from Casablanca, was once a small-time Jewish gangster in East Harlem, who had an affair with a senator's wife and ran off with his boss's fortune. As for his lost love, Ilse Lund, she went to Prague with her husband, Viktor Laszlo, to plot the assassination of the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.

Excuse me?Just in case you thought too much time had gone by since you saw the film, rest assured that the details are not part of the 1942 Hollywood classic. They are the backbone of a sequel published yesterday by Warner Books, the arm of the studio that released the film. Michael Walsh's As Time Goes By picks up where Michael Curtiz's film left the characters and takes them on a rollicking adventure of espionage, international intrigue and Nazi-baiting.

The unresolved love story between Rick and Ilse (Ingrid Bergman) remains the pivot, except that by the end it is no longer unresolved. Viktor is dead, a victim of the Heydrich assassination plot. Rick and Ilse get together and wind up back in Casablanca.

"I think it's terrible, just disgusting, beyond the pale," said Aljean Harmetz, the author of a book on the making of Casablanca. He told The Los Angeles Times: "This material has resisted sequels for almost 60 years."

One fan from New York fumed on the Internet: "Why muck with a classic of one medium, try to force it into another, and then make matters worse by telling us what happened after the fade-out?"

Don't play it again, Sam.