Casablanca | dir. Michael Curtiz | rel. 1942
Film class is warming up. I'm still barely learning anything, other than some mildly interesting Hollywood gossip, but the quality of the films we watch have significantly improved.
After completely destroying the thirties for me in a matter of a few short weeks, my class delved into the forties. And boy, were things different. Great films, such as Gaslight and It's a Wonderful Life, entered my existence.
A perfect film, Casablanca, was rediscovered. I finally learned how to appreciate one of the most iconic classics of all-time.
I was thirteen when I first saw Casablanca. I thought it was decent, but I was barely paying attention. I was probably daydreaming throughout the entire film. I probably wouldn't have been able to summarize the plot for you back then if you asked.
There is just something about Casablanca. It just doesn't hit you that the film isn't really filmed in Casablanca. Or that Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are far from the picture-perfect Hollywood movie couple. Or that the plot itself is somewhat outlandish and coincidental.
Casablanca is like a great Shakespeare play: things don't seem absolutely logical or perfect, but there are just some great moments that cements itself in your mind forever; all those little things create this amazing whole.
Casablanca is a truly timeless film. It's as simple as that.
World War II has been portrayed on film countless times since 1942, the year Casablanca was released. The setting of Casablanca, a place where refugees once passed by in hopes of obtaining visas to travel to America, is exotic, intriguing, mysterious, and foreign.
An audience also loves a sentimental, tragic hero. Always have, always will. We all have this instinct to side with the underdog, especially when the underdog is a glorious cinematic character. Bogart's Rick Blaine fits the description perfectly.
Add a beautiful woman, a long-lost Parisian romance, a bar full of intrigue, several sentimentalists, some great, boozy jazz music--and you have a complete marvel of a film.
If you think Casablanca is a cinematic atrocity and feel no reason to reconsider, I have nothing to say to you. If you don't remember Casablanca being a great film, I urge you to reconsider. If you have never seen Casablanca, I urge you to see it now.