Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are having a lovely time in North Africa listening to piano music and wearing splendid hats. ‘Play it again please, Sam!’ they say, and he does! Hurray!! Outside, World War II is happening, which makes things exciting and fun.
SUDDENLY… the walls begin to move! The floor begins to judder! There’s a hideous wooden splintering noise! Is it their lovemaking? No! Is Sam’s piano horribly horribly horribly broken? No! The smell of dry rot fills the air. They look up…
‘Buenos dias, Muchachos!!’ says a scary Hispanic person wearing wooden clothes and sneering evilly, ‘Welcome to… CASA PLANKA!! THE EVIL SPANISH HOUSE OF PLANKS! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!’
Noooooooo!! Not Casa Planka!! They’re so afraid that their cool hats fly off and explode. Casa Planka is very much like one of those ‘Freaky Houses’ at fairgrounds with wobbly floors and staircases that don’t go anywhere, except everything is made of planks! Aaaargh!! There are planks everywhere! Big, massive, dangerous planks! None of the planks have been heat treated, so they’re rough and unpleasant to touch, and some of them obviously have woodworm. They also have maracas etc painted on them, because they are Spanish.
‘Plank you very much!!’ cackles the frightening Hispanic person, even though they haven’t said anything at all, then turns into a rough-hewn piece of skirting board and chases them into the planky drawing room.
The remainder of the film involves Humphrey and Ingrid having exciting plank-adventures such as bumping into planks and tripping over planks and having planks fall on them from a modest height, and occasionally eating paella and gambas, all the while attempting to find their way out of the murderous house! But all the planks look the same!! Will they make it? Will they find their hats? And will they be able to defeat ‘El Planko Maester’ and his pointy plank of doom??
CLASSIC LINES FROM THE FILM
“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful plank”
“Of all the planks in all the rooms in this huge evil plank-house of planks, she had to walk into that plank over there.”
“Plank you very much!!”
– The plank Ingrid Bergman limbos under in scene seven isn’t a real plank. The studio ran out of planks, so they had to use an ironing board painted brown.
– Humphrey Bogart initially refused to do the ‘Mundo Plank’ sequence because he felt it was against his character. In the end, he had to be bribed with chocolate.
– All the planks in the film are made of a special pine / teak blend, just for the sake of extravagance.
– Ingrid Bergman considered the scene where she has to walk on a really wobbly plank over a big river of screws to be her career-defining performance.
– Humphrey Bogart kept one of the planks from the set and reused it in every one of his movies from then on. In The Treasure of the Sierra Madre it makes an appearance as part of the treasure chest.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
“The most frightening and brilliant plank-based war film I have ever seen. A masterwork of filmmaking and carpentry.”
“If you like tension and wood, this film is for you!”
Very Good Movies
“I have now removed all the planks in my house, and my house has no floor, but it’s worth it because the nightmares have stopped. Genius!”
Super Film Super Times
WRITTEN BY WILL SEAWARD