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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.
When people ask me what is the best movie of all-time is I don't flinch, I just say "Casablanca". It has everything a great movie should have: romance, sacrifice, wonderful lines, a memorable song, incredible acting (even in the smallest roles) and it is one of the few non-film noir movies filmed in the B&W era that I wouldn't want to see refilmed in color (that is in definite contrast to "I Know Where I'm Going!" which begs to be refilmed to show the beauty of its vistas). But the key that makes everything works is the ending. I don't think the ending that exists in Casablanca could be filmed today and though most have seen this movie (or any of its parodies) I don't want to give anything away. But I encourage you to compare the ending of this movie with the endings of other romantic movies such as "An Affair to Remember", "Sleepless in Seattle" and even the most recent animated "Sinbad" movie. Contrast their endings with Casablanca's ending and you see how Casablanca resonates. Many movies have tried to emulate the ending of Casablanca but it never quite rings true because hollywood movies aren't allowed to have this ending yet the only ones who try are either independent or anti-hollywood.
Everyone, for as long as I can remember, has harped on about how good this
film is. Now I'm quite a cynical person, so for a very long time I avoided
it, not wanting to jump on the ever popular band wagon. Well, a while ago
happened across a cheap DVD version of it and thought (for some unknown
reason) why not?
We (me and the wife) put it on one Saturday night and sat down with some wine.... ....we now have 3 Bogart films and are looking out for more.
If you don't like the sound of this film, give it a try. I was shocked at how good it was! Honestly, I couldn't have been more surprised if in The Great Escape instead of digging out they ended up building sandcastles and thinking "this is jolly good fun, lets stay here instead". It really is that good!!
I can't see what to write here, since so many people will be moved by this film and write something about their experience in seeing it, often time after time, "As Time Goes By". This is a freeze frame of American war propaganda at its highest point, with an array of America's greatest filmmakers collaborating at the beginning of World War II, right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is a work that will always be seen and be honored as the epitome of world film-art that it is. Don't take anything for granted when you watch this movie. It all has to do with time, place, and character. It's so easy to get embroiled in one or two of the character's performances that you'll miss half of the film. It's an amazing film to watch multiple times.
I discovered this movie about 15 years ago. I'm 33-years-old and had never really been one to go back and watch old black-and-white movies. The first movie I ever really remember going to see at the theater was Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was in love with the movies from then on. Oh, sure, I'd gone to the drive-in in rural Alabama and had seen various movies. But I had been too young and immature to really appreciate them for what they were. But when my uncle took me to see Raiders, I was hooked. For years, I considered Spielberg's masterpiece to be the best movie ever made. But then I happened to get hold of a VHS copy of Casablanca and checked it out. WOW! Moviemaking had been redefined for me. This movie has it all. Bogart is such an incredible presence. I think Harrison Ford is our modern-day answer to Bogart. The story is so straight-forward and so cool ... the backstory about the romance in Paris is great, perfectly handled. The one-liners are unforgettable, and the songs are enchanting. This is the whole package, alright. Perfect movie.
After who knows how many viewings, the scenes with Claude Rains still are the most entertaining for me. Rains would have stolen the movie, if the rest of the cast had not been so good. He has many of the really good lines. We have two love triangles in this film. The classic Rick--Ilsa--Victor one and the more interesting Rick--Ilsa--Louis. The non-traditional ending is one of the most satisfying in films. As Louie says, "Who is Rick? Why, if I were a woman, and I were not around, I should be in love with Rick". Just a beautiful friendship.
Me and my pals were talking for a long time about hiring Casablanca. So when
I saw it on the library for free, I of course took the chance to lend
The big day arrived - we were going to see the most classic movie of all time. And what an experience it was to se the movie. I mean, the movie was superb right from the start to the end. A MASTERPIECE! Very great performance by the actors too! A must see...
Favorite quote(s): Ilsa Lund: Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.
Sam: I don't know what you mean, Miss Elsa.
Ilsa Lund: Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
Sam: Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Elsa. I'm a little rusty on it.
Ilsa Lund: I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum... Sing it, Sam.
Sam: You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply / As time goes by. / And when two lovers woo, / They still say, "I love you" / On that you can rely / No matter what the future brings---
Rick Blaine: Sam, I thought I told you never to play---
My vote: 10/10
Yes! Yes! I agree! Casablanca is an excellent movie. Action, adventure,
romance, patriotism--"Play La Marseillaise. Play it", Nazi villains,
idealism, and yes comedy--"I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on
this place. Your winnings sir." It is indeed one of the most quotable
ever. It seems everyone has a line worth repeating, however Bogey has the
But what about the music? It was Max Steiner at his best!
PS Besides "As Time Goes By" and "La Marseillaise" name at least one other song either played or sung during the movie. No fair going to the video.
What can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said? It is one of the best films I've ever seen. Usually when I see a movie that is as highly regarded as this, I perversely try to not like it. This one, however, is impossible to dislike. Peter Lorre gives one of the most memorable performances of his career, even though his screen time is roughly four minutes. Claude Rains is at his unflappable best, and has many of the most memorable lines in this film. Humphrey Bogart plays the type of character he does best, the bitter drunk. Ingrid Bergman is absolutely breath-taking, and not in an ugly baby way. I would recommend this to anybody.
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