My Favorite Movies #78 – Casablanca

Casablanca - PosterCasablanca


Directed by Michael Curtiz

Netflix says… In this Oscar-winning classic, American expat Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) plays host to gamblers, thieves and refugees at his Moroccan nightclub during World War II… but he never expected Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) – the woman who broke his heart – to walk through his door. Ilsa hopes that with Rick’s help, she and her fugitive husband (Paul Henreid) can escape to America. But the spark that brought the lovers together still burns brightly.

  • Everyone comes to Rick’s.
  • And everyone seems to be all cloak and dagger…
  • Casablanca is the stopping point for everyone trying to smuggle themselves out of Europe. Stop off in Morocco, clean up your identity, then head to America to escape Nazi occupation.
  • And Rick’s Cafe Americain is the place to go to make sure you get where your’e going.
  • Rick has some power on his side. With a look he can make sure someone enters a room or is blocked from one.
  • And then there’s Sam… he’s playing the piano and singing some of the most popular songs of the day.
  • You know, they never once say, “Play it again, Sam,” in this movie? Where does that even come from?
  • Rick makes it clear that he never sticks his neck out for anyone when Louis warns him that his police will be making an arrest at his club on behalf of the Nazis.
  • Louis also warns Rick to make sure that Victor Laszlo, a fugitive leader of the Czech Resistance, does not receive an exit visa.
  • But Rick never gets involved, right?
  • Enter Ilsa, the wife of Victor Laszlo… and Rick’s ex.
  • How freakin’ gorgeous is Ingrid Bergman, btw?
  • She manages to keep her arrival in Casablanca quiet until she gets Sam to play “As Time Goes By,” which Rick has forbidden to be played.
  • Of course, this sets Rick off… and he sees that Ilsa is in his place.
  • Everyone comes to Rick’s.
  • Rick remains incredibly diplomatic with Ilsa and in meeting Laszlo, but under the surface, there’s turmoil.
  • Fantastic acting on Bogart’s part.
  • In a flashback to happier times, we see that Ilsa and Rick were once very much in love.
  • When the Nazis marched into Paris, they make plans to meet at the train station and book it out of town.
  • Only Ilsa never shows up…
  • Sam meets him with a letter she left behind. She loves him but can never see him again and he can never know why…
  • So Rick leaves France heartbroken and alone.
  • Well… he has Sam.
  • Late at night, when Ilsa returns to Rick’s place to apologize, he’s too drunk to be polite.
  • The next day, they run into each other and it’s Rick’s turn to apologize. And Ilsa admits that she was married to Laszlo, even when they were together in Paris.
  • It might be a little off topic, but Louis is fairly despicable.
  • I’m not going to spoil all the details of why Ilsa left Rick in Paris or how it all works out for Laszlo to escape Nazi custody.
  • But I’m sure you know the ending… I’m not sure, if I’d been in Rick’s shoes, that I’d have had the strength the force Ilsa to board that plane.
  • If you’ve never seen Casablanca, do yourself a favor and watch it. It ranks much higher on the AFI’s list than it does on mine, deservedly so.

Now that things are back on a normal schedule here on the old blog, I’ll have another movie next week: Enemy of the State.

One thought on “My Favorite Movies #78 – Casablanca

  1. Pingback: My Top 100 Movies | The Confusing Middle

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