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> Monday, August 30th, 2010 > Lifestyles > Reel Views: Play it once Sam. Then
play it again and again
Reel Views: Play it once Sam. Then play it again and again
Click here to read more Interrobang articles written by Alison Gaze
Published: Monday, August 30th, 2010
From the opening scenes of wartime Europe to its heart-wrenching finale on a lonely airstrip encased in fog, Casablanca is the epitome of classic Hollywood cinema. Although the film has taken some harsh criticisms over the years for lacking in the creativity department and its director Michael Curtiz is well known for being nothing more than a cog in the machine of the American big studio system of filmmaking, in actuality that is what makes Casablanca so re-watchable and a truly timeless film.
Set in 1942 in the neutral nation of Morocco during World War II, the movie follows the story of Rick and Ilsa and their star-crossed love. The lead roles are cast to perfection with Humphrey Bogart taking on the role of Rick, and Ingrid Bergman bringing Ilsa to life on screen. These two titans of cinema are backed up by the no less impressive supporting cast of Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Peter Lorre. This combination of actors gives a depth and complexity to the relationships in the film not often found in movies of the big studio era, and in their interactions they bring to life the characters and experiences of Casablanca. The most notably dynamic of these is the onscreen interactions between Bogart and Bergman, whose chemistry feels so authentic that the audience is pulled completely into the film and its story.
Aside from the stellar casting Casablanca also features a story that is enthralling through and through. The film tells a timeless albeit heartbreaking story that surprisingly doesn’t conclude in the way the audience may be expecting. Casablanca follows the relationship between Rick and Ilsa from its humble beginnings in still - unoccupied Paris, through the frantic evacuation of the city during which Ilsa and Rick are separated. Then in one of the most memorable lines in cinema Rick notes that, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” upon seeing Ilsa in none other then his own “Rick’s Cafe American” in the European refuge of Casablanca, Morocco. From here on the relationship becomes vastly more complicated as the two lovers now face interference from Louis Renault, a captain of the French police, black market smugglers and dealers, the everlooming threat of Nazi occupation and of course Victor Laszlo, Ilsa’s husband who was a long-assumed dead hero of the French resistance. Throughout the film Rick and Ilsa’s feelings travel full circle in their love for one another, and although the film has a bittersweet ending it leaves the audience with a feeling of satisfaction that the right choice was made by the ever chivalrous Rick.
Regardless of how often Casablanca has been viewed by a person, the film retains its cinematic magic and appeal and is watchable time and time again. This movie is thoroughly entertaining, and upon first viewing you will indeed have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship with Rick, Ilsa and Casablanca itself that is sure to last a lifetime.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars