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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From 1942, comes a romantic historic drama directed by Michael Curtiz movie based on the stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. It's early Dec. 1941, American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner of an upscale nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco that attracts everybody from Vichy French, Italian, and German officials; to refugees desperate to reach the still neutral United States; and those who prey on them. Rick stands as an allegory to U.S polities at the time trying to stay neutral and not involves himself into the war affairs. I also think it's cool to point out that Humphrey Bogart himself was a decorated war veteran, and this is reflected in his performance. It wasn't until a former lover Norwegian Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and her Czech Resistance leader husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) came into the bar looking for a way to escape Europe, where he states to question his beliefs. While most people know Casablanca as the exploration of the universal themes of love and sacrifice, people that look more into it viewed it as a political allegory about World War II. Ilsa can be seen as the wealthier of Europe who were able to escape due to their wealth, but whose warnings and pleas were dismissed in the late '30s and early '40s. Victor represents the poorer people of Europe who weren't able to escape and whose discovery prompted the change in attitude. When he appears, Rick finally grasps the true nature of what Ilsa is asking him. The film is set in Dec. 1941, the month in which the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That attack changed the course of American history, awakening the nation from political neutrality and thrusting it into the midst of World War II. By Illsa showing up, Rick become a symbol for America to take a stronger stand against the Axis Powers. The film also tells the story of another transformation, that of the local French commander of Casablanca, Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains). Claude Rains is the second best actor in the film besides Bogart. He plays the role so well. Louis begins the film as a pro-Vichy Nazi-appeaser but winds up a committed partisan of free France. Scenes such as Captain Renault throwing away the Vichy bottle it was meant to shown a rejection of Petain's puppet government. Even the great line near the end, 'I think this is a start of a beautiful friendship' stands for United States becoming allies with the French into stopping the Nazis. There is a great scene in the middle worth checking out, where the Germans start singing and, to combat it, the other patrons start singing the French national anthem was a truly moving part. The use of shadows and lighting makes this movie into one of the greatest film noirs. The use of the spotlight that shines from a tall tower and lights up the city of Casablanca reminds people that they are always being watched. It was a great use of light to represent fear and a threat. The music by Max Steiner was just amazing. The song "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld had been part of the story from the original play; Steiner wanted to replace it, but Bergman had already cut her hair short for her next role and could not re-shoot the scenes which incorporated the song, so Steiner based the entire score on it. So, without Bergman cutting her hair. We wouldn't have that theme. The theme of Sam's piano is the symbolic heart and soul of Rick's Café. All the guests want to sit beside it, because they want to forget their worries by listening. The piano suggests purity, which may be why Louis doesn't even think to look there for the letters of transit. I love the smart dialogue. The exchange between Rick and Louis were funny and brilliant. There is a few criticizes that need to be address. The usual conspiracy-theory gang likes to say that this movie was just propaganda. I didn't care if it's pro-Allied propaganda, it was a good movie. Some people think its basically a rip-off of a previous 1938 movie called Algiers. The writers took the character of Rick from the unproduced play, the theme "As Time Goes By" from a failed early 1930s musical and even parts of the dialogue were cannibalized from other unproduced scripts. It's doesn't bug me because it was mixed so well. I honestly don't see how the line 'Round up the usual suspect' is famous. It seems very not important from the rest of the best one liners. I believe Ingrid Berman delivering lines acting was mediocre at best. Her eyes did most of the work. Paul Henreid was indeed a stiff. Henreid did not get on well with his fellow actors and it shows. His character seem plain compare to the others. I didn't like how the movie treat the German actors in the film. The German actors had to keep curfew, as they were classified by the US as enemy aliens and under restrictions. They were frequently cast as Nazis in war films even with the fact that there weren't any uniformed German troops in Casablanca during WWII. Then there is the colorization controversy. Don't see it in color, its work best in Black and White. Trust me. Overall: The story itself is straightforward a realistic romantic movie with political allegory. The film's lasting enchantment is due to its dramatic conclusion and the theme of the inescapable past. The plane theme works because it was the escape of such memories. If you don't get onboard and see Casablanca. You might regard it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"This is a beginning of a beautiful friendship" that is how this unforgettable and everlasting movie, which talks about love, friendship, loyalty, intrigue, and survival ends. The play takes place in the city of Casablanca, and even though we are unable to see the city (because the action takes place mainly in Ricks' bar), the life of the city is present. On one side are refugees waiting to escape from the horrors of war, and on the other are those who still enjoy nights full of gambling and entertainment, or smuggling and enrichment. The love story is started in war Paris, and revived through the memories in the currently more peaceful Morocco. The fact that love is stronger and larger than any other living thing, and subordinate to world events, is show in the decisions Rick (H. Bogart) makes. Although the movie is black-and-white, it even more emphasizes time events. There is also a color version of the film, but it feels like something is missing. If you have a chance to watch it, you shouldn't miss this masterpiece. And if you have watched it... Play It Again Sam.
It's that kind of cynicism that makes this old-time classic endearing to a
modern day audience. "Casablanca" is a noirish melodrama set against the
back-drop of WWII and Europeans fleeing to America by way of French Morocco.
What's so refreshing about it, in spite of its classical love triangle
theatrics, is that is never places romantic love on a pedestal. It realizes
that in a world of uncertainty where neutrality is the biggest crime, there
are more noble things than love.
This movie is sited by many critics and viewers alike as one of the top three greatest films ever made. It's easy to see why. It contains probably the greatest dialogue ever written for the screen. It stars two screen icons in their greatest roles and a superb supporting cast. It's directed by Curtiz with a complete lack of pretension. There's nothing overtly artistic about it, or any sign that anybody involved was trying too hard. Essentially this was a gathering of classy professionals who set out to accomplish one thing: make an entertaining film. In the process, they might have made the greatest. Unlike so many of the other classics of this period, you never have to view it "in context" to appreciate and enjoy it. Rock solid entertainment anchored by smart writing cleverly cast and competently directed translates well in any day and age. Play it again, Sam, and it gets even better As Time Goes By.
Everyone remembers 'As Time Goes By' (the song that only stayed in the film,
so popular culture has it, because Bergman had cut her hair for 'Joan of
Arc', and couldn't retake scenes using another tune) but there is much more
to this world-weary romance.
Bogart, of course, was hardly the usual romantic movie hero. Which is possibly what makes him so perfect for Rick, in his Casablanca nightspot, on nobody's side. He spars with Claude Rains (the crooked police captain) and Sidney Greenstreet (a rival bar owner) like a trooper, has a quiet contempt for Paul Henreid (a freedom fighter) and Peter Lorre (a thief), gives Conrad Veidt (the Nazi Major) as good as he gets, is on the level with employees Dooley Wilson and Cuddles Sakall.
Through all this, truly loves Ingrid Bergman (the beautiful Ilse, the love of his life). It is their story, but not the story you might expect. This is the secret, I think, of 'Casablanca' and its lasting success. From the moment we see the map and the film title to the 'beautiful friendship' line at the end, we're hooked. Every performance is a lasting joy.
If all films were made like "Casablanca" it would be a perfect world. Very rarely does a film move its audience the way that this film does. The movie deals with a romance that just cannot be because of numerous circumstances. World War II is quickly turning the planet upside down and many Europeans are making their way to Casablanca to get visas to escape the Nazi regime. Paul Henreid and wife Ingrid Bergman are among the many who have made the odyssey. However, trouble springs up when they must go through Bergman's old flame (Humphrey Bogart, Oscar-nominated). More trouble arises with French military official Claude Rains (Oscar-nominated) and his strained relations with the Nazis. It is a heartwrenching film that dominates because of an outstanding screenplay, amazing direction by Michael Curtiz, and superb performances by all involved. A great movie. 5 stars out of 5.
Every thing positive everyone has ever said about this movie is true. Still
compelling after all these years, one of my top ten movies, I can go back
and watch every few years.
This movie works on every level, drama, love story, suspense, but most of all it is a war propaganda movie. Pro war, pro allies, anti Nazi, even a little anti French, this movie was made smack in the middle of WWII when the outcome was still in doubt and designed get the public behind the war effort. It sure was more fun then those 'Victory gardens, paper drives and gas rationing' and other techniques to get public support. It is impossible for a film made for this purpose to stand the test of time, but Casablanca has, and that's why it is such an incredible film.
Lauren Bacall was wonderful as Ilsa...in a parallel universe. Too bad
it was Ingrid Bergman who ended up with the role, I just couldn't buy
the Bogie'n Bergman love story and would have loved to see Lauren
instead! So I gave this movie a 4, as soon as I was done watching.
Because Bergman failed to convince me and I cringed at their Paris
scenes. I mean Bogie, romantic?! Are you kiddin' me?! (I was even more
shocked to see Bogie smile!) I was bored through the story, the men's
thick black eyeliner looked like an ethnic joke, their white eyeliner
was a little less distracting, but I've seen worse, so I decided what
the heck, I'm 1/4th through this movie might as well keep going since
it's not like it's starring *insert your most insipid actress and
buffoon of an actor here* And OK, since I'm well-endowed in the
"suspend disbelief" department, I'll pretend I'll buy Ingmar Bergman or
whatever as the love interest.
Since some of the dialog was amazing, I thought I'd actually give this a 7. For effort. Plus the "last night was so long ago/tonight? I don't plan that far ahead" exchange was awesome. (I'm gonna have to memorize these lines, I'm sure to use them sometime!) And the music was not bad. So what the heck, it doesn't deserve a 7 but I'm not in a bad mood tonight and it's Christmas, right?! But what the **** happened to "Play it again, Sam!"? I never once heard it and I felt ripped off throughout the movie! I heard "Play it, Sam" Who misquotes a movie, really? OUTRAGEOUS!!! Just for that, I felt like I needed a refund, and let me tell you, that 7 was quickly turning into a 5. Plus I'd seen the final scene, the Bogie/Bergman exchange, final scene, it says so on You Tube. Right? So who cares, I already know how it ends.
It wasn't the final scene after all! WTH??! After years of believing that's how it ended, now they ripoff the ending too by adding some insipid action? Couldn't they have been done at that scene since it's *supposed* to be the only end anyone cares about? (After all, it's the only one "they" ever show!! What else could there be, really?!) Well, in the end--and sorry to put it this way if you kinda like this film--but what do you think I could possibly give this sorry little B&W film maker's menial effort of a wanna-be movie? Well, if you should know I only gave it a mere TEN! That's right! Was I glad I stuck with it till the end! It got better and better until it became one of the best movies ever! I didn't expect the surprise ending, that's for sure! Blown away!
This one is definitely worth a re-watch sometime soon, minus my "Dancing-with-the-Stars-judge-raising-score-on-a-panel-every-5-secs" attitude. I don't think I've ever seen a movie where I went from "who gives a c^^p about you?" to absolutely blown away by the characters and their turn of events. In a sense I went from caring about Rick just about as little as Rick himself did to making a 180 degree turnabout. Sort of like Rick did at the end! Amazing!! And Ingrid Bergman was indeed good, certainly not my first choice for Ilsa--still would have loved to see Bacall--but she held her own. Here's looking at you, Kid! It's like after the movie was over, I came to the realization that I had been a Rick of sorts throughout. And the movie took me through my own 180.
Does everyone feel like this when watching this movie? Is it supposed to turn us all into Ricks and then flip-flop us around leaving us utterly dazed and not knowing what hit us there for a second? Or is it just me? It almost felt like a spiritual experience! Almost! It was simply amazing! 10/10. Come what may, I'll always have Casablanca in my DVD collection!
I saw this movie in college 20 years ago with over seventy 18-23 year old
fellow students. And the audience reaction was like the movie just came out
yesterday. Here's a movie that assumes that the average audience has
intelligence. And the tons of laughs were all in the right places for the
right reasons. Twenty years later, I can still hear the laughter and
applause...and the cheers; especially for that now classic closing
If more black and white classics were given this kind of DVD treatment (the recent 2 disc release), then I'd own more black and white classics. Bogart's brilliant portrayal was ahead of its time and no one else but Bergman could of been Elsa. Same for Rains, Henreid, Sakall, Veidt and EVERYONE else. Perfect cast, perfect acting.
It's a shame most people will never see this with an audience because this is a crowd pleaser if ever there was one. So the next best thing is the quality and care that was put into the new DVD. Believe it or not, this makes a great "at home" date flick. And even have a few friends over...but not the 'chatty' ones. There's just too much to miss if so and so starts to "yackitty! yackitty! yackitty! during the many (& there are many) priceless and subtle moments. This movie deserves full attention. And the nice thing is...you pick up more the 2nd time seeing it (& 3rd, 4th...etc).
My favorite line (no way am I repeating it or any others) is Rick's "poor salesmanship" rejection. This one film has more great 'one liners' than some hundred movies put together. And it still seems as fresh today as when...well; when I saw it the 1st time.
It's not that "they don't make em like this anymore" applies to 'Casablanca' because most movies, for every year, in every era (since the 1920's); aren't very good. It's always the very few that rise above the heap, every year; especially when you take into account that over 100 movies are made every year. But 'Casablanca' represents a sample of damn fine storytelling for that particular era that time has proved to be...timeless.
A 'must see' for most movie lovers (but not the 'yackitty' ones).
10 out of 10!
(Can't wait for Bogart's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"s 2 disc DVD release next month. Another sample of just how brilliant Bogart's acting is.)
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!!
Roger Ebert said this about "Citizen Kane," "If I were ever stranded on a
desert island and could only watch one movie "Citizen Kane" would be the
one." I feel the same way about "Casablanca." I think it has a much
story line than "Citizen Kane" and it didn't need inovative camera shots
make it a truely unique movie experience. And, it has some of the best
dialoge ever written in a movie.
Strasser: Why did you come to Casablanca?
Rick: I came for the waters.
Strasser: This is the desert!
Rick: I was misinformed.
Score one for Rick!
They don't write them like that any more!
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