Friday, October 30, 2009

Casablanca improves as time goes by

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.


  1. i love the Shakespeare comparison. Very astute. Why would anyone think it's an atrocity? It's not my number one film, but it's undeniably good.

    PS. What did you think of Gaslight?

  2. @Andrew - Oh, thanks! My English class just finished "Hamlet" and although it's kind of crazy, it's brilliant. Same goes to Casablanca.

    No one should think it's an atrocity...but in case someone does, well, I really have nothing to say to them.

    Gaslight is a great film. I thought it was somewhat predictable, but I kept wondering, how are they going to get him? Although Bergman got a well-deserved Oscar for her performance, Charles Boyer gave me the chills. He was a helluva villain...and that final showdown between Bergman and Boyer was epic.

  3. Glad to hear your class is picking up!

    One of the little things about CASABLANCA I dig is the little throw-a-way moments of humour.

    "I came to Casablanca for the waters."
    "What waters? It's in the middle of the desert??"
    "I was misinformed."

    One of my all time favorites - glad you dug it. I mighta had to stop following your blog if you didn't ;)

  4. "Casablanca" is the greatest movie ever made. I absolutely love it. It is, truly, a timeless classic.

  5. Oh, and I almost forgot!

    CASABLANCA has a bit more meaning to me these days, since two weeks ago I danced with my blushing bride to Dooley Wilson's "As Time Goes By" for our wedding song.


  6. @Mad Hatter - I absolutely loved the part where Rick looks at the dossier on him and asked, "Are my eyes really brown?"

    Congratulations! "As Time Goes By" is an excellent choice for a wedding song.

    @cinecritiqueamericain - It really is a wonderful movie, isn't it?

  7. Hey! I'm a film student too! Sweet :-) Your blog is really cool, I look forward to reading more. Oh, and I LOVE Casablanca. I remember watching it for the first time with my mom, again in several film classes. It's a classic for sure.

  8. @Sarah: I'm taking Film as an art elective in a public high school, so I'm sure you're learning much more than I am.

    Casablanca is lovely, right? Of course...

    I'm glad you enjoyed reading my blog!