Best Film of All Time #6 — Casablanca
Review Written by Jennifer Kiley
Posted Created On 15th January
Posted On Friday 6th December 2013
SPOILERS SPRINKLED THROUGH REVIEW BUT ENDING NOT GIVEN AWAY
“Here’s looking at you kid.”
There are so many memorable lines and scenes in the film Casablanca.
Casablanca (1942) – Directed by Michael Curtiz
Starring: Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Claude Raines as Louie – (Head of Police/Rick’s Friend), Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo, Sydney Greenstreet as Ferrari – Proprietor of the night club The Blue Parrot.
Just one of the fifty films a studio would make each year back in the day. Casablanca was just one of those films thrown into that collection. Who knew it would spring forth and become the success that it is. Today, it is considered one of the top romantic films of all time.
Won for Best Picture Oscar 1942. One of the most universally admired films ever made. On most lists of the greatest films of all times. Even people who don’t like old films or black and white films love Casablanca. Roger Ebert said he doesn’t think he’s heard of any negative reviews of this film ever. All the characters are all good except the Nazis. Vichy are the French who collaborate with the Nazis.
Rick’s Cafe Americain in Casablanca in French Morocco, where everyone went for entertainment or to hang out for a drink or to go to the back room where there is gambling going on. Here, in Casablanca, some may obtain exit visas but others may wait and wait and wait. At the beginning of the film, you find out that some couriers were killed in the desert and robbed of exit visas. Officials wanting to see a man’s papers, causes the man to freak out, his papers are not in order, so he runs and is shot and killed because he didn’t halt when ordered to.
Life is meaningless in Casablanca.
When Louie, the head of the police, is asked by Major Strasser, what is being done about the murder of the couriers, his answer is: “We’ve rounded up the usual suspects.” No one likes Nazis and the head of the Nazis in this movie doesn’t make them any more popular and maybe makes them even less popular. The Marseillaise is the present day French National Anthem. Remember that when you watch Casablanca.
Ugarte shows up and talks to Rick. Wants to have a drink with Rick but as a rule he doesn’t drink with any of the guests of his night club. Ugarte likes to brag to Rick. He just is looking for Rick’s approval but knows that Rick despises him but he is the only person that Ugarte trusts. Rick does finally seem impressed with him. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out why.
Ferrari wants Rick’s place. He is always trying to buy it. It’s the best place in town. Sasha hangs out there and is sort of Rick’s girl friend and is a bit of an alcoholic. It’s understandable she wants to drink the times are during the 2nd World War and it is making everyone edgy and the French are being ruled by the Germans.
Louie and Rick get involved in a conversation and Louie asks why Rick came to such a God Forsaken place like Casablanca. Rick’s a smart ass and says: “It’s for the water.” But, of course, it is a desert. Rick’s is permitted to stay open because he just doesn’t want to get involved. But he has in his hands something that a lot of people are looking for but no one has any idea what that is. Louie tells Rick there is a famous patriot of the war headed for Casablanca. A member of the Gestapo, Major Strasser, is expected at the club. He is a thoroughly disagreeable Nazis but then what Nazi isn’t. That I may say often.
A major happening occurs at Rick’s but he reassures everyone to settle down and get back into enjoying themselves. Rick actually sits down with the Nazis. The Nazis make mention about invading New York. Rick warns them about staying away from certain sections of New York. They may not be safe. They start in talking about Victor Lazslo being on his way. Rick assuring them that he doesn’t plan on getting involved.
Victor Laszlo and Ilsa Lund eventually show up as expected and walk through the cafe and take a seat in the night club. Expect that many will be approaching Victor fairly often because of his importance and how nervous they make the Nazis. Ilsa starts asking about the piano player and who owns the Night Club. Louie tells her it is a man named Rick. Major Strasser is introduced and acts like the ass that he is. Starts applying his power over Laszlo.
It is evident that Ilsa and Victor are close but at this time we know nothing of their relationship other then they are traveling together. Victor leaves her at table to meet a man at the bar and finds out about Ugarte.
Ilsa wants to speak to the piano player. His name is Sam and she asks him to play some of the old songs. There is a sadness between Sam regarding Rick. She wants him to play a the song “As Time Goes By.” Sam sings the song for her. Out comes Rick telling Sam he’s not suppose to play that song. Rick sees Ilsa sitting at her table. The last time Rick saw Ilsa was in Paris when the Germans marched in to take over the city. He was unnerved seeing her again. He was so not himself that he actually had a drink with all at the table breaking his precedent of not drinking with guests of the night club The Americain.
Later back in his rooms, Rick has a bottle, and tells Sam he is not planning on going to bed. He thinks Ilsa is going to show up. Sam isn’t going to leave his boss alone. He starts getting maudlin. “Of all the gin joints in all the world, she walks into mine.” He wants Sam to play “As Time Goes By.” Sam doesn’t want to open the wounds.
Flashback: Paris with Rick and Ilsa driving around in a convertible. then down by the Seine. In the hotel drinking champagne. “Who are you really and what were you before and what did you think?” Ricks asks. Ilsa’s response: “We said no questions.” All the best lines in these scenes. So many to write down and remember. She reveals an answer without the question. Watch the movie to find out what she told Rick.
Outside, newspapers are being passed around. The Germans are coming I believe are the headlines and what they are saying in French over the microphones. There is a lot of action going on out in the streets.
The most famous line is spoken by Rick toasting champagne with Sam and Ilsa: “Here’s looking at you kid.” Everything is falling apart. “Where were you ten years ago?” Rick said he was looking for a job. For some reason there is a price on Rick’s head but no one knows why. It’s time for everyone to leave Paris. Their suppose to meet at the train station from where they will be leaving. Ilsa loves him so much and the war, she hates that in just the opposite emotion. She thinks that they will be taken apart. “Kiss me as if it is the last time.”
It’s raining at the train station. With three minutes until last train leaves. No Ilsa but Sam and Rick are waiting. There is a note from the Hotel. Fade Out Paris Train Station as you watch the rain wash the ink off of the note in Rick’s hand.
Fade In: Rick’s Rooms enter Ilsa. She wants to talk to him, to tell him a story. It’s about a girl who meets a man, a very courageous man. She looked up to him. She thought it was love. Who did she leave him for? Laszlo or others in between?
Victor and Ilsa meet Strasser at Police station. Strasser guarantees Laszlo will never receive an exit visa. His only way to leave is to be a traitor to his people. Do you really think he is the type of man to be a traitor. Nazis have no sense of integrity so they do not understand an enigma like Victor Laszlo. An important person to their leaving has been reported to be dead.
Rick visits The Blue Parrot and talks with Ferrari, who wants the letters of transit. He tells Rick he thinks he knows where the letters are. Rick purposely left his club so the police would have a chance to ransack it. Louie’s men were impressively destructive at Rick’s Place in order to win points with Major Strasser. Louie blows with the wind. He is with the Vichy. The Vichy being the French who go along with the Nazis and reluctantly support the French. The French who are loyal to their own country feel betrayed by the Vichy.
A young woman comes to Rick to plead for some help. She will have to sleep with Louie if her husband doesn’t win enough money so they can afford a visa. If they use only the money they have there would be nothing left. Louise fully expects her to have sex with him if the money isn’t won. Louie sees that the young woman and Rick are being obvious about conspiring. They are all in the backroom where the gambling goes on. Louie is an odd duck. Louie accuses Rick of being a rank sentimentalist.
Victor has a visit with Rick. The Underground tell Victor all sorts of very impressive things about activities that Rick was involved in during the war.
In Rick’s Cafe, the Nazis are singing about the Fatherland. It is so despicable to the French in the club that they have a singing competition. Guess who wins. Strasser is not very satisfied. He tells Louie to find an excuse to close Rick’s. He tells Rick the reason is because he is shocked that gambling is going on in his club.
Strasser just keeps getting creepier when he threatens Ilsa.
Later Ilsa and Victor speak about the letters of transit and what Rick said about asking his wife why he won’t give up the letters.
Ilsa goes to Rick’s rooms and tries to get letters from him. She wants to tell him what really happened in Paris. The feelings between them, have they been buried or are they gone? The truth comes out. She had no hope that Victor was alive when she was in Paris with Rick.
Victor and Rick talk. They are not that far apart in what they believe.
Louie and Rick talk about letters. Louie doesn’t like Strasser.
Approaching the final few scenes of the film. Cafe Americain is still closed by order of the Prefect of Police. Ferrari has taken over the Cafe. Louie thinks he is at Cafe to arrest Laszlo but Rick surprises him and makes him call the airport to tell them that there is to be no trouble about two letters of transit. Everything is building up to the excitement of what is all going to culminate in some of the biggest surprises yet in the film.
Best closing scenes in any movie and best closing lines. Memorable til the final line.
For the rest of the film and to fill in all the spaces that I have left out, you will need to find a copy of this film on DVD or streaming from online or whatever source you are able to find to watch the whole thing and to see how it ends. It is a thoroughly amazing film to watch. It seems the perfect film in detail, dialogue, scenes, settings, storyline, acting and durability. It has all the perfect elements and the best acting. Filled with sentiment and sacrifice. I first saw this film when I was in my 20s. It was such a surprise that I did not see it when I was a kid. It is understandable for older children and a fascinating film for all adults.
The following videos do have SPOILERS so watch them if you have seen the film already or if you don’t mind seeing scenes before seeing the film. I am sure a great many of you have watched this film. But if you haven’t, it should be on everyone’s’ film list as a must see. The sheer acting alone and the love story and the screenplay is brilliant. The cast is to die for. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman play the leads. They are two of the finest actors of all times. Worthy of anyone’s time to find out how great they are in Casablanca.
No one had any idea what a remarkable film this was going to turn out to be. The special benefit of this film is you get to hate the Nazis and you get to curse them out without impunity. It has the most classic lines of almost any film ever made. Enjoy the videos and seriously consider locating this film if you haven’t seen it and find it so you can watch it again. “Here’s Looking At You Kid.” —Written by Jennifer Kiley
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