Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Oh man. I finally bought a copy of Casablanca, and watched it the whole way through. I'd never been able to see it before. The most I saw of it was in Screenwriting class, where we watched the beginning and the end, because we didn't have time to watch the whole thing. And I'll admit right now, I want to be Humphrey Bogart. The man is amazing. That said, how about this movie?
If you don't know about this movie, I hate you. You obviously have absolutely no knowledge of culture. There's lines so oft-quoted they ring throughout society. "Louis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship." "Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By." "I am shocked, SHOCKED! to find gambling going on here!" "The problems of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy, mixed-up world." "You're getting on that plane, or you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life." "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks in to mine." "We'll always have Paris." Ironically though, the most quoted line, "Play it again, Sam," is never actually said.

This movie is a Classic. The story of Rick in Casablanca, held as unoccupied French territory during the Second World War. It's all about him. Sure, there's other characters, but I think they all serve to reflect Rick, and help show his growth. When you first meet him, he's concerned about himself and his business, not with other people. You slowly see him open up, help other people, reveal his past, and then move past it to become a better person. This is pretty rare. Most characters in film tend to be one way, then have a revelation, and suddenly become a completely different person. That doesn't happen here. You see the changes, they're slow in coming, and they're justified. And in the end, he's still Rick, but just willing to stick his neck out for others, and be more outgoing.

This movie was masterfully done. Shots are never wasted on simple establishing of setting, they help to move things along. There are no wasted scenes, either. Every one is set on moving forward either the plot, Rick's development, or adding layers to the other characters and their interaction with Rick. Some of it's very subtle, as well. Such as when Victor finds out that Ilsa told Rick about being married, when Victor was trying to keep it secret. That pretty much lets everyone know that Ilsa still has feelings for Rick, and that Victor knows it, when he tells Ilsa that Rick said "If you want to know, ask your wife."

The story itself is also masterful. It's set against a giant backdrop of war, but doesn't focus on good vs. evil, or anything like that. It's about a man who loves a woman, and a woman pulled in two opposing directions by her heart. It keeps it on a human level. And it makes you care. If you're unmoved in the slightest by the characters in this movie, you have no soul! DEMON! YOU ARE A DEMON!

If you've never seen this movie, go see it! If you've seen it, go watch it again! And in the meantime, "Here's looking at you, kid."

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