“Play it Sam. Play As Time Goes By.”
Starring the immortals Humphery Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, here is the timeless classic and one of the greatest films ever made. It’s a tale of romance, war, heartbreak and sacrifice.
In the early part of WWII, there was a path taken to flee Europe with the destination of America in mind. To get there, refugees had to get to Casablanca, Morocco, fly to Libya and then to America. But thousands of people are stuck in Casablanca, awaiting visas, caught in red tape. It’s a sweltering limbo and Rick’s Café is the most popular oasis.
Bogart plays Rick, owner of the nightclub. He’s a cynical man, keeps his distance and stays neutral to just about everything. Then one night Victor Laszlo, a rebellion leader who escaped from a concentration camp, and a slew of slew of Germans show up at Rick’s. Since Casablanca is unoccupied and neutral, the Germans can only keep an eye on Laszlo and make sure he doesn’t escape. Rick would stay out of all this, but Laszlo’s wife is Rick’s lover from Paris, Ilsa.
Rick and Ilsa’s relationship was short but passionate. It peaks just as the Germans invade Paris. When Ilsa didn’t show at the train station, where they planned to leave together, Rick is brokenhearted and forms his jaded, cynical shell. Now, he realizes he can control whether or not Laszlo and Ilsa can flee Casablanca. Should he punish Ilsa and appease the Germans all around him, or sacrifice his heart’s desire for a greater good?
Now, some people think Casablanca is the mushiest of the romances. The music is sweeping, the intimate close ups between Rick and Ilsa are touching and the story of their love can pull at your heart. But it’s not taken to the level of drippy, corny, puppy love (like Titanic).
The dialogue is timeless, Casablanca is famous for the immortal words of “Here’s lookin’ at you kid” and “We’ll always have Paris.” In fact, it holds a record five lines on AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes list.
One of my favorite scenes that isn’t mentioned as often as others, is when the Germans have taken over Sam’s piano and sing Die Wacht Am Rhein. Around the club everyone looks disheartened and remorseful, as if they’d just been invaded. Quickly, Laszlo tells the band to start playing La Marseillaise, the French national anthem. The whole club starts to sing along, they stand proudly, some with tears in their eyes, and drown out the Germans. It’s like watching a first battle end is joyful victory.
It’s a sad thing to think that in today’s film industry Casablanca would never work. In fact, legend goes that back in the ‘80’s someone sent Casablanca’s script to a few studios disguising it as “Everybody Comes to Rick’s.” Most people didn’t realize it was Casablanca and sent it back saying there was too much dialogue and not enough sex. For shame.
For those who don’t want to see simply because it’s old and in black and white, what’s wrong with you? Black and white is where the term “silver screen” comes from. It’s one of the greatest stories ever told. There’s adventure, romance, war, fugitives, heroes and villains! I believe their original trailer say’s it better than I ever could. This is a must see for all.