So I must say I have seen Casablanca a few times. I mean it’s number on on AFI’s 100 Passion, so how could I not? But despite my numerous viewings, I must say that I continually find things to make me enjoy the movie even more.
So basically, Rick (Humphrey Bogart) is a closed off club owner in Casablanca during the second world war. Many people visit Casablanca as a stop from German controlled Europe to America, however this journey can be more difficult than expected. One of these people attempting to reach America is a ex love of Rick’s named Ilsa (played by Ingrid Bergman) who wants to make the trip with her husband, Lazlo, a resistance leader against the Germans. I personally don’t understand why you would ever marry Lazlo after you’ve met Rick. Lazlo isn’t nearly as funny, and isn’t even half the man Humphrey Bogart is in a suit. But whatever, it’s not my decision to make.
This movie is a perfect combination of funny, thrilling and romantic (emphasis on the romantic). And that’s what it’s so loved by everyone. Did Casablanca reinvent the cinematic wheel? No. The acting isn’t anything extraordinary, the filming is fine, and the lighting has the wonderful film noir thing going on, but isn’t going to change the way you look at the world. Yet the film is nothing less than iconic. When dissecting the movie into its individual parts it’s nothing tremendous, but together they work perfectly. It complete encapsulates the Golden Age of Hollywood, and who wouldn’t want to watch that?
Also I think the script is perfection. The movie has six pieces of dialogue in AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes, and there are plenty more amazing lines in the film. I mean sure, you could absolutely call them corny, “We’ll always have Paris”, but in the moment with the lighting and the smoke and the sideways hat it all makes sense, and it creates something special. Even if some of the lines were not originally intended, apparently the line “here’s looking at you kid” wasn’t in the initial draft, but Bogart would say it frequently when teaching Bergman poker. And the final line “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” was dubbed over by Bogart, a month after filming had ended.
At the time of its premiere, Casablanca wasn’t considered anything special, but in retrospect, it has become this icon of cinema, and when I watch it, I remember why. And I think that concludes my love letter to Casablanca.
Rating: 5 out of 5 times Bogart rocked the title hat.