Casablanca: As exciting as the landing at Casablanca!
In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining a Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan.... Written by Gary Jackson
January 23, 1943
Casablanca is another film firmly placed in my top 10 all time favorites.
I think as time goes by, it gets better and better upon viewing. I want to be Humphrey Bogart as Rick, heartbroken and all. The character of Rick Blaine should be listed in the dictionary under cool. Or as the topic of a book, How to Grieve Like a Tough Guy. As a guy, if you have ever had your heart broken this film is a must. Bogey’s tough guy with the heart of gold is what makes this film so great. The night club owner in a town of lost souls; sitting at a bar, drinking, chain smoking, commiserating over the one that got away. He has his buddies there, Sam and Louie to get him through it. As men, its how we grieve. We sulk, we drink hard, we seek the comfort of our buddies. And how could you not commiserate over a woman as beautiful as Ingrid Bergman. A woman torn between two men. One in order to satisfy the greater good of the war, or another to satisfy her inner desire for passion, romance and great sex. I think its the most resounding true to life element of the story, both now and then. Does the girl elect to take the successful, admired father figure or does she go with the bad boy with the heart of gold. Romantic comedies have beaten this concept into the ground to get material. It would be hard to remake a such a classic and iconic film like Casablanca without coming off as campy or ironic. Do you shoot it in black and white? Do you set the story in a new time and place? What about a Rick’s Café Americana in a galaxy far, far away?
I like to imagine several renderings of this great story. Who in today’s actors would you use? First off I don’t see may others who could pull off Rick as well as George Clooney, or maybe Ryan Gosling. I could see either Scarlett Joe as Illsa or to go with a more European flair Marion Cotillard. But only if I could cast Leo as Rick and recreate the chemistry they had in Inception. Victor Laszlow I think would be played well by Michael Fassbender. Craig Robinson I think would be fun as Sam, ad a little levity to the role. Its fun to dream up theses scenarios but I probably would be upset with any retelling.
For now I will just continue to enjoy this Hollywood Classic time and time again.
This film defines the term “classic”. And it defines a handful of phrases that we use often and perhaps, like me, didn’t realize was from this wonderful movie… “play it again, Sam”.
Again I am proven wrong on waiting to watch this wonderful movie because I don’t like “old black and white movies”. Thank goodness Matt encouraged us to hit up the AFI 100 list so I would open my eyes to this gem. Bottom line, all of us have had our heart broken. It’s been happening for decades (let’s face, since the first man and woman I bet there was some heartbreak). I enjoy watching heartbreak films such as Swingers and The Break-Up (yes, I love the look on life from Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau) and I’d add Casablanca to the list. How men and women handle break-ups and seeing each other again is always an interesting tale.
Throw in the stress of the Nazis spreading in Europe and it increases the pressure of what to choose — love or life?
The scene in When Harry Met Sally about the ending of Casablanca now makes more sense (again, duh Jaclyn). Should a woman choose practical or passionate? When someone says they want the best for you, do they really mean it? Would your ex put you on the plane because “it’s best for you” — or would he/she hold on to you as long as they could?
Everyone should see Casablanca, and from the woman’s perspective, it is a must. Let’s add the characters from Casablanca to our discussions about how the ladies of Sex and The City or Golden Girls would handle a situation… I think Bogart & Bergman bring strong arguments to our relationship analysis.
If you haven’t seen Casablanca, it’s time. Cuddle up to your couch (and honey and/or puppy) and you won’t be disappointed. Even if this is your 99th time watching it, go for it. You will not be disappointed.