Battle Mountain teens dabble in film noir |

Battle Mountain teens dabble in film noir

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL bogart's face 1 KA 11-04-08

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Humphrey who? That’s how some teenagers might respond when Humphrey Bogart comes up in conversation. After all, one can hardly expect kids to be experts in film noir … right?

“I’ve always loved Humphrey Bogart movies,” 16-year-old Aaron Szindler said. “‘The Maltese Falcon’ is one of my favorite movies.”

“Personally I knew who Humphrey Bogart is, just because my dad had me watch ‘Casablanca,'” 15-year-old Jillian Kiss said. ” I love watching old movies.”

If Battle Mountain High School students didn’t know who Bogart was before, they certainly learned when they watched the movie star in the 1940s classic “Casablanca” at a student’s house few weeks ago.

The teens were preparing for their roles in “The Man with Bogart’s Face,” a play that debuts Friday at Battle Mountain.

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The play follows a man who gets plastic surgery to look more like Bogart. He changes his name to Sam Marlowe (the name combines two of Bogart’s most famous characters) and opens his own detective agency. The play takes place in the ’70s or ’80s, though it packs plenty of ’40s action.

“I punch a lot of people and I shoot a lot of people, and that’s always a lot of fun but I really like the dialogue,” said Szindler, who plays the Bogart-obsessed detective. “There’s just a lot of cool lines and fun stuff to say. A bunch of stuff is taken directly from the Humphrey Bogart movies that I’ve always wanted to say: ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’ and ‘You’re taking the fall.'”

Senior Sage Buchalter, 17, plays love interest Gena Anastas.

“She’s pretty cool,” Buchalter said of her character. “She gets to seduce people. She gets punched by Sam, and I also get to kill people.”

That sounds like a lot of action for one character, but it all makes sense in the context of this Bogart-esque world. There’s plenty of old fashioned drama, and even a case that takes the main character into a club full of belly dancers. Kiss plays a proper secretary, but her character gets caught up in the dancing.

“I have to attempt to belly dance and it’s fun,” Kiss said. “Especially when the other belly dancers close in on me. That’s when the claustrophobia sets in.”

Rebecca Jones, 16, plays an ex-Nazi villain in the show. Wearing a a severe bun and leather jacket as a costume, she does more heel clicking and bowing on stage than talking.

Is it hard for the teen to play a serious character the whole time?

“Not really,” Jones said. “I’m a pretty serious person.”

Suzanne Foster, an English teacher and play director, chose “The man with Bogart’s Face” for the fall performance.

“I just wanted something that was a little different,” she said. “It’s a comedy murder mystery. It plays to the strengths of students.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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