Review 147: Casablanca (1942)
I have a bad habit of avoiding older films. I’ve never seen Gone with the Wind, and before tonight I’d never seen Casablanca. There are tons of films that I need to get to and after watching Casablanca I think it’s more likely I’ll go into these classics with a positive attitude. I knew a lot of the famous lines of the film, but I didn’t know anything else about it. Casablanca lived up to the hype and I have no shame in giving it the Must See rating for this obvious Classic.
Casablanca is an obvious classic
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is an American who fled occupied France during World War II to Casablanca in Morocco and now runs a popular saloon. He’s famous for being about as neutral as a person could be and always looks out for himself. Rick is warned by Captain Louis (Claude Rains) not to get involved with Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) who is wanted by the Germans. Rick figures it’s no big deal as he is more concerned with his own well being.
When Laszlo arrives he isn’t alone accompanied by Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) a former love interest of Rick’s. Rick is shocked to see her there and the unspoken history that is initially hinted out is palpable layered by her knowledge of Sam (Dooley Wilson), the pianist, who she requests plays her favorite song As Time Goes By.
The song’s notes bring Rick rushing to see why Sam would dare play that song, which becomes a frequent referenced element throughout the film. Along with Rick’s “here’s looking at you kid,” the song is a constant theme in the film. The love story between Rick and Ilsa is extremely compelling and the way it unfolds is great storytelling. Cemented by the choice Rick makes at the end of the film makes it easy to see why this film has lasted for so long.
Here’s looking at you kid!
Writing about a film like this has to fall more into the personal side of my writing. There is not much I can add to the many of reviews that have been written about this film. Yet, I’m extremely glad that I was able to enjoy a film like this. The story transcends time and could really be set in almost any location or time and would likely still be compelling. I’m not recommending Hollywood do that mind you, something are better left alone.