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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No film captures the classical Hollywood style quite so well as
"Casablanca." The film seamlessly combines romance and intrigue in its
exotic location, remarkably conveyed by mere studio sets. The black and
white cinematography is perfect for capturing and adding mood to the
smoke filled rooms, war torn city streets, and foggy airports that
compose the world of this film. Despite seeming a product of its time,
"Casablanca" is truly a timeless piece of entertainment. It would be
futile to recount the plot here. Even those who have never seen the
film are likely to be aware that "Casablanca" is the film where Ingrid
Bergman is forced to chose between old lover Humphrey Bogart and her
resistance leader husband (the often overlooked Paul Henreid). Bergman
as Ilsa Lund, the center of the love triangle, is magnificent here. She
communicates with such ease the very different types of love she feels
for each man in her life, and we sympathize with her struggle. Of
course, Bogart too created a legendary performance as café owner Rick
Blaine. Seeing him transform from the man who will stick his neck out
for nobody to someone content with making a great self-sacrifice is one
of the joys of the film.
Bogart and Bergman are leading players among equals however, and are rightly matched by numerous character actors, not the least of which is Claude Rains. In his portrayal of French Vichy officer Captain Renault, he hits the perfect notes to show off both the corrupt and goodhearted sides of the character. He also gets to deliver some of the film's best comedic one-liners. Another unforgettable actor is Dooley Wilson as the congenial piano player Sam, who of course provides the quintessential rendition of "As Time Goes By". Director Michael Curtiz certainly does these fine actors justice. The film has some striking visuals too. Be on the lookout for the raindrops on a letter which look more like tears, and the symbolism provided by a bottle of water towards the film's end. Viewers aware of the many troubles that plagued the production of "Casablanca," should be amazed at the manner in which the film as a whole is able to so greatly transcend the sum of its parts.
When you pause and really consider it, "Casablanca" is a much simpler film than many others also hailed as classics. It was based on an unremarkable (and unproduced) stage play, shot on a modest budget, and released with the thought of the natural appeal it would carry for its wartime audiences. And yet it has endured so long beyond that. Much has been made on the subject of reading "Casablanca" as a political allegory, with Rick representing isolationist America, Lazlo the Free French, so on, and so on. This rightfully compels the film student in me. But in all actuality, the romantic in me is much more captivated by the story of three little people caught up in the problems of a crazy world. The nuances of the characters, the sense of urgency ominously hanging over every scene, and the tear jerking story of love lost, found, and lost once more in the name of a bigger cause are the elements that stay with us. For me, as well as countless other film lovers around the world, the first viewing of "Casablanca" proves to be the start of a very beautiful friendship.
What makes Casablanca the greatest?
The detail. After Ugate is arrested Rick moves forward and picks up a small glass that has fallen over.
When Sam is playing 'As Time Goes by' and Rick is drinking to forget (the famous scene) he involuntarily moans from within. He shows the man's heartbreak - the reactions of emotion running through a body broken by booze and sorrow.
This is acting and film making at it's very finest.
The inner decency of Rick is moving as is Ingrid Bergmann's tear filled eyes - but the throat catcher is the singing of the Marselliase and Yvonne's impassioned 'Vive La France!'
This was war time, and the film makes us remember what it was all for. Hollywood should look at the script - how simply it is constructed - and learn - there is a public worldwide that wants scripts of this quality about real people.
There are literally hundreds of comments about this movie on IMDB. Many of
exhort its greatness. I don't disagree with them.
But I'd like to add a suggestion to those of you out there who haven't seen this film. I'd like to tell you HOW to watch it.
The people who made this movie didn't think they were producing a masterpiece. Bergman left the shoot disgusted. The screenwriters were on salary for Warners, writing half a dozen movies a year, and this was just one more. Bogie was punching the clock in the middle of a workhorse career.
So as an audience member, you can't sit down expecting gilded greatness.
Don't have a Casablaca party. Don't watch it on your first date, hoping it will lend that "Romantic Touch." Don't watch it as part of your "I need to watch the Best 10 movies of all time" Film School project.
Buy this movie on DVD. Have it at the ready. And then, one Friday night, when your plans fall through and you find it's 10:30pm and there's nothing on TV that's any good, open a six pack of beer, or pour yourself some wine, and watch this movie in a darkened room.
The characters in Casablanca are absolutely devoid of sentimentalism. Every one of them sees the world without a hint of rose color in their lenses. As Rick says, "Three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this big old world." If you're in a mood where you understand what he's saying, watch this movie and it will transport you.
There is no single movie that deserves to be called the best movie of all time. Because movies, when all is said and done, don't amount to a hill of beans. They are meant to entertain us, not for us to worship THEM.
But no movie has ever known this fact like Casablanca.
If you watch Casablance this way, with no expectations, with no "hype," you might catch 10 percent of its greatness on one viewing. And that will be enough to start you on your way.
Happy viewing, kid.
Love and sacrifice during WWII underlie the story about a café owner
named Rick (Humphrey Bogart), and his link to two intellectual refugees
from Nazi occupied France. Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and Victor Laszlo
(Paul Henreid) seek asylum here in politically neutral Casablanca and,
like other European refugees, gravitate to Rick's upscale café, near
the city's airport, with its revolving searchlight.
Rick is a middle-aged cynic who also has a touch of sentimentalism, especially for people in need, like Ilsa and Victor. The film's story is ideal for romantics everywhere.
Much of the plot takes place inside Rick's café, an ornate nightclub with archways and high ceilings. Rick's is a gathering place for an eclectic mix of patrons, from locals to those who have arrived from countries throughout Europe. It's this deliciously international ambiance of Rick's café that renders this film so appealing, with a variety of interesting accents, clothes, and uniforms. And, of course, there's Sam, the piano player, who plays all the favorites, including "As Time Goes By".
All of the film's technical elements are excellent including the script, with its colorful characters, like the debonair Captain Renault (Claude Rains); and Signor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet), the articulate and portly "leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca". And a minor character that made an impression on me was the guitar playing female singer at Rick's (Corinna Mura), whose beautifully operatic voice was an unexpected delight in this smoke filled saloon.
The film's dialogue, though substantial, is clever and lively, like when Captain Renault observes Rick escorting an intoxicated woman out of the bar: "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that; some day they may be scarce".
High-contrast B&W lighting renders a noir look. And that pounding score at the film's beginning is stunning; it evokes a feeling of far-off adventure.
"Casablanca" differs from traditional noir films, mostly as a result of its ending. Rick must make a choice between his own interests and the interests of others. The choice he makes enjoins viewers to a sense of courage and optimism, an individual's example of proper collective behavior in the war against Nazi Germany.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie opens up a gateway to the genre of early romance with light
drama. Now it is near impossible to find a movie that was made not for
the money, not to win awards, but for the people.
At first I thought that this movie was over hyped, but when I sat down and watched it, I realized that the hype was true. This movie delivered everything it promised and then some.
The characters were perfect. Believable, realistic, and you felt like you could relate to them in a way. Humphrey Boggart was the best example. His witty yet sarcastic remarks are still known as some of the greatest lines of all time. My personal favorite being "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." While the movie did start out slow, it quickly picked up and was able to hold my interest. It was dark, yet was able to throw in light humor without upsetting the balance of a scene. Since it was dealing with a serious issue, which at the time was an incredibly important matter, they had to find a way to deal with the issue without upsetting the balance of the film. A feat that they managed to do well.
There are many memorable scenes in the movie, but my personal favorite is the very end when Rick has to watch Llsa fly off. It is painful for him, but he knows that her staying would only hurt both of them and due to his character he is able to keep his emotions inept, while conveying in his new friend, Louis.
As for changes, I would make none. This film is a masterpiece and wanting to make changes is like editing the Bible or adding finishes to one of Leonardo DaVinici's paintings. As the saying goes 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' I was only 12 when I first saw this film, but I gained much watching it. I learned that while you may not want to do something or say goodbye to someone sometimes it is necessary for the greater cause.
This is a movie I would recommend to anyone who wants drama, romance, comedy, memorable dialogue, or just an all around good feeling. This is a movie I will continue to enjoy for years to come.
Casablanca (1942), pretty close to perfection. A movie that brings out the best script from both heart n brain, a tough combination. Does a perfect job in blending the political scenario of that time (World War 2) and the ever pervasive love matters. Just 102 minutes movie but each second is entertaining. The clever-stylish dialogues keep it alive throughout. The chemistry between Bogart and Bergman from their very 1st shot together, looks very natural. I wonder why they don't make such well developed movies today. Before watching the movie I did some other viewer comments saying it is all so boring but one thing they might be missing is that these were the movies from which directors used stuff again and again and that is why they look boring to us. But I guess we should at least respect them for this. A keeper, 10/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Casablanca is still the greatest movie of all time! Its stars shine,
there are memorable lines, quite a few which have been repeated
elsewhere or even become the titles of movies themselves, there is
superbly artistic and notable cinematography, heartfelt romance,
inspiring and touching music, heroes, swelling feelings of sentiment
and patriotism, and it is in no way too long, too weird or different.
Just an all around great movie, and even for the few of those who can't
agree that Casablanca is the all-around greatest movie of all time,
they perhaps would at least agree that it has all the elements and
plenty enough of what it takes to be putting up an honorable fight to
claim that top spot, and most definitely should be on any critic's
short list of greatest movies, if they expect to really be taken
Time seems to date some movies badly, while it has worked greatly in favor of some movies, like Casablanca. It was made in the day when color was rare, yet, used black in white so well that it seems to be a great example of a movie that should have been filmed in black and white, even if doing such were to have cost more than color. The false looking backgrounds in its Paris automobile scenes in particular, although perhaps not so intended, has actually been used as a purposeful technique of dreamy recollection and such, in a few more modern day films. And again, even though perhaps not intended at the time, and even though the entire movie was made in studio, the fact that the Paris scenes are the ones that look so particularly fake is appropriate, since, at that very time, those scenes had to be fake, as Paris wasn't available, because it was under German occupation. There is no understating that this movie was a part of the arsenal of democracy itself, its story, themes and passion are set in the very center of what was then the raging battle for the world in what would become the single most defining event of the 20th Century, World War II. Every actor in the film, the director, the producer, and anybody and everybody working on the film or in any way involved with its making, were, in fact, at war with Nazi Germany.
There is no need for a learned critic or professor to explain this or anything about the movie, anything about its producers having used some new technique, some new technology, or any particularly notable new style of cinematography to just enjoy Casablanca. It's very touching in its story of human relationships and it is so noted for its black and white cinematography that some of its most ardent fans consider any colorizations of it sacrilege, even among those of us not generally opposed to the idea of colorization. And, it is the story of its times. Its depiction of challenged French patriotism brings tears the eyes of many a repeat viewer time and time again, when The Marseilles is sung. There are lines that people repeat, songs that even today people sing and whistle. In terms of just all around sheer entertainment, the movie is petty much as good as it gets. It is not only difficult to come up with a suggestion of what movies of the 20th century could be considered as good, it's impossible to find any movie that has anywhere near as many people thinking of it as the greatest movie of the 20th century. It's as if a clear majority think it the greatest movie of all time, and as for what other movie is even a contender to Casablanca's claim to the title, well, there is no clear single contender. I doubt fans of Casablanca could even form a majority as to what the second greatest movie of all time is. Even if all those who have another movie in mind could have a run-off to determine their party's candidate, it wouldn't matter, as Casablanca already has 65% of the general electorate locked-up. Although all-time is far from over, it's safe to say that Casablanca is now the for-all-time greatest movie of the 20th Century. Its as if Indiana Jones was involved in some battle, in the middle of some war, that we were actually passionately involved in at the time, with our entire economy geared towards the goal of winning that war, against actual Nazis soldiers, rather than the theatrical Nazi-ish soldiers that Indiana Jones was having problems with. Except Casablanca's actors are legendary movie icons. The dialogue is superior. The musical score is among the best of movies, as memorable as even the best of musicals, only Casablanca isn't a musical. Just as the main song of the movie is about a fight for love and glory, exactly what the entire free western and allied world was engaged in at that time, so the viewer feels where they stand in their heart of hearts. The viewer relates to the characters, and anybody familiar with history who believes in freedom and democracy isn't just cheering for our characters in the end, we truly feel as if we are on their side! Had the allied battle been lost, Casablanca may very well have quickly become a controlled, discarded and forgotten piece of illicit war propaganda. But as things turned out, it's Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, along with Dooley Wilson, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and many others, starring in the greatest roles of their careers in what clearly still seems to be the greatest movie of all time. Casablanca's being part of the patriotic effort itself, is perhaps one of its greatest advantages in cementing its claim as the greatest movie of all time, and this is a concrete advantage that will only continue to strengthen and harden, "As Time Goes By."
Out of all the films that are considered classic milestones in cinema how many fully deserve that status?? Not that many, let me tell you but Casablanca absolutely does! Casablanca has become history itself, a legendary production that'll live on forever. And it should! This film is essential viewing for everyone who ever showed interest in cinema. Every sequence in Casablanca is brilliant, every character is intriguing and every setting is breath taking. Especially when you're watching it for the first time you'll be surprised how much you actually know about it already. Multiple ideas, lines and sequences were so influential and important to cinema, that they have been used numberless times afterwards. You might even say that cinema would have looked completely different if it wasn't for Casablanca. It's a brilliant love-story with irresistible film-noir and comedy aspects. The entire script - line by line - is pure nostalgic and some of the dialogues originally shown here grew out to become pure historical art. This intelligent movie also depends a lot on its superb cast, of course. Bogart portrays a terrific character here a performance that yet has to find its equal. His brute and heartless portrayal of Rick is fascinating, especially because you soon find out that he is in fact just a hurt romanticist, heart-broken by a girl who's about to show up again. This girl (the stunning Ingrid Bergman) is practically the most marvelous lady who ever appeared on the big screen. Thanks to her natural charm and beauty, Bergman makes the most out of Ilsa. Film-noir stars Claude Rains and Peter Lorre supply the film with terrific supporting characters and a right amount of humor and parody. It's amazing how this film combines so many different genres successfully. The cruelty and drama of the war and the rise of the 'Third Empire' is mixed with comedy and romance in a unique way. It cannot be denied Casablanca is pure perfection and everyone should appreciate it. This film isn't to be missed by anyone, whether you're young, middle-aged or retired this film will move you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bloom said of Shakespeare that he invented humanity. Films will always have less depth than poetry, but they can have a similar, profound effect on popular culture. Movies are seldom about life, but life is often about film, the few films that find the groove.
This film invented -- to a substantial degree -- what it meant to be a post-war American. It is not so much that it was perfect, but that we have remolded ourselves around it, as part of the victor's healing.
I recently saw some other Bogart films (like `Treasure'), and they amazed me in how poorly they worked. How mannered his acting seemed.
We have beautiful faces in other films, even this face (which we still have in Isabella). But nothing seems to compete for the certain archetype of passionate commitment, of pathetic yearning, of immature desire, of refugee desperation.
The interior sets -- and how they are photographed -- show a definite post `Citizen Kane' influence. In fact, one can see much of the Mercury Player flavor in these characters, particularly Greenstreet.
But you know, this film has so melded with dreams that you don't need to screen it.
To have lasting appeal in the past, present, and future, that defines a
classic. As for my humble opinion, I believe there are two things which
enable a filmmaker to create a classic that people hold dear:
identifiable elements that are not so far-fetched from our own world
and a profound message that continues to inspire and strengthen us with
age. Bearing this in mind, it's understandable why the acclaimed
Casablanca is a beloved work of cinema and counted among the great
classic films. A romantic, patriotic, and idealistic movie that
continues to stand the test of time and enchant present generations.
Derived from an unpublished play that surprisingly went nowhere, Casablanca is as beautifully photographed as it is narrated. The central focus is a timeless relationship between two characters played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, without whom there's no doubt the movie wouldn't be as memorable or appealing. A loving relationship between Rick Blaine (Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Bergman) in Paris tragically ends because of the outbreak of the War and leaves Rick a heartbroken and apathetic man. It drives him into hiding away from the world's problems in his café in far off Casablanca. But the fires of a lost passion are rekindled upon Ilsa's unanticipated reentry into his life, their fates forever entwined. Ilsa explains to Rick that something greater than the both of them had begun to unfold in her relationship with Victor Laszlo, the hero of the Resistance. She appeals to the sentimental heart and the patriotic spirit that rests within Rick's cynical exterior. His former self revived, Rick grants his lover and her husband passage to America in one of cinema's most memorable finales, as they say farewell outside of a plane, all for the sake of the cause they fight for. The rest is cinematic history!
I find it hard to believe that no one expected anything grand to come from Casablanca during the course of its development. The film is handled with great care, having a strong script and outstanding performances. Humphrey Bogart brilliantly portrays a hero, ranging from a broken man with little to lose to a redeemed figure who is changed for the better in the end. As Ilsa, Ingrid Bergman conveys a very warm and tender nature. And of course, the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman is top-notch and deeply moving.
Countless are all the classic moments and dialogue that even those who have never seen the movie can recognize. One of my favorite scenes takes place during the second meeting between Rick and Ilsa. Upon entering the café, Ilsa seems bathed by an almost heavenly light, symbolic of Rick's salvation. Another sequence that lingers within me is when the crowd singing La Marseillaise drowns the Nazi anthem out. Both scenes illustrate the crux themes of the movie, of how much hope a loving relationship can provide and how justice will prevail over evil if we all stand united.
Casablanca is not a movie that's to be marveled for technological achievements, but something infinitely more meaningful. For the leading characters, their relationship meant hope, which was exactly what was needed throughout the bleak time that was World War II. Casablanca is a movie that encourages viewers to follow their hearts and to take a stand for the many. No matter how insignificant you may seem, making a difference is never impossible. Those who have thought that Casablanca would never go far, let alone be hailed as a timeless classic, could not have been more wrong. I expect I'll be asking Sam to play it again soon!
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