Casablanca (4/26/12)

CasablancaMovie One Hundred One

Behind Citizen Kane, Casablanca is seen by many to be the greatest movie ever made.

First off, if you haven’t seen Casablanca already, shame on you. It’s a must-see film. Casablanca is one of those films that seems entirely effortless. The actors deliver their lines flawlessly and the script itself lends cinematic history with more memorable lines than any other film. When someone says “here’s lookin’ at you, kid” you know that Humphrey Bogart said it in Casablanca. To see Casablanca is always a treat, but to see it on the big screen was absolutely amazing.

The plot of Casablanca centers around Rick (Bogart) who owns an aptly named club, Rick’s Café Américan. Casablanca is a sort of refuge city since it is still controlled by France, not Germany, with many people leaving to the US from there. Soon Rick comes face to face with an ex-lover, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), and her fugitive husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). As Rick and Ilsa reconnect over their lost love, tensions rise around Laszlo between a French and Nazi officer (Claude Rains and Conrad Veidt, respectively).

As for the restoration, also available on Blu-Ray, it is remarkably well done. For the 70th anniversary of the film, the picture is crisp and the sound is clear. To see this, we actually skipped out on one of the films from Ebertfest, but it was well worth it. I was concerned that Casablanca would not have held up as well as I remembered, but my fears were assuaged within minutes. While very specific to a period in time, Casablanca is timeless.

There is not much I can say about Casablanca that hasn’t been said 1000 times over in the past 70 years. It’s a film that rewards multiple viewings but never gets tiresome.

I give it 5 “As Time Goes By“s out of 5.

Links:

Rotten Tomatoes

IMDB

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23 responses to “Casablanca (4/26/12)

  1. I was lucky enough to have seen the restored version of “Casablanca” in a theater. It was amazing. I really wish more old classic films would have theatrical re-releases so we can see the films as they were meant to be seen. Home video is just not the same.

  2. I would love to see the restored version in a theatre! I have to say, I was highly impressed with the quality of the Blu-Ray though.

    GREAT flick. Definitely in my top 5 for life.

  3. i’ve read more than one commentary that suggests that the claude reins character is gay and has feelings for rick, which is why he eventually makes the choice that he makes at the end of the film – avoiding spoiling the ending there. he does seem rather effeminate.

    also, suggestion – and of course you should always feel free to ignore any suggestion on your own blog. consider writing your reviews as if your audience has never seen and knows nothing about the film. that will happen. and those people might swayed by your opinion to see it if you share a little more about the film instead of saying that there’s nothing left to say that hasn’t been said. it’s not true that there’s nothing left. what is always left is what YOU have to say.

    i know there are occasions when someone is considering a film but doesn’t know enough about it. for example, take the movie “big fan.” if i say it’s about football, and someone doesn’t like football, they might have no interest. but if i give more detail, that it’s about a rivalry between philadelphia and new york, and someone is from either philadelphia or new york, now they might want to give it a peek.

    • Hm, interesting point about Rains’ character. I hadn’t really considered that as even a possibility, but it does make sense.

      As for your suggestion, I thank you. I had a tremendously difficult time writing about this film mainly because I like keeping my blogs fairly short and consistent in length. I usually try to give a paragraph synopsis of the plot, or at least the set up for the plot but I struggled even with that for Casablanca because it is fairly complex right up to the final frame and I didn’t want to gloss anything over. It is a very valid point, though. I will be mindful of it in the future.

      Story time – One of the main reasons I began writing this blog was because I lost my father in January. For years, he and I would exchange thoughts on movies we had watched and given recommendations to each other. While I had decided to track what I was watching for 2012 before his passing, I wanted to fill the void of briefly discussing films with someone. When I write a blog, I treat it as if I’m writing to him, and with movies like Casablanca, I struggle because I know my father had seen it several times in his lifetime. If I was speaking to him, I could just say “oh, I watched Casablanca” and he would say “great film!” and that would be that. For most films it’s easy enough to take myself out of the equation and write, so I hope that comes across for the majority of my posts.

      • i had a similar connection with movies and my mother, who passed away 27 years ago tomorrow. can’t forget that it was may 12, or that it happened to be mother’s day too.

  4. Casablanca is miss spelled in your title. Just a heads up.

    Once again – great review. I think this deserves to be higher than Citizen Kane – it’s just more of a movie in my mind. Kane is great, but this is the one you can watch on a loop. I honestly have no desire to see Kane again. I know what it meant for cinema, but it isn’t Casablanca. If you want to see another great Bogey movie you should check out Key Largo. That’s probably my favorite. I could do a whole blog based off of him. He was cool before cool was cool.

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