Monday, October 10, 2011
CANON OF FILM: "CASABLANCA"
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Julian J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch based on the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s,” by Murray Burnett & Joan Alison
I have spent literal weeks of my life where I did nothing but watch “Casablanca.” I’ve probably seen it more than any other film, and there’s almost nothing I don’t know about it, and yet, it never fails to enthrall me. It was made as an anti-Nazi propaganda film, and for a while, the film seems like a movie about people on the run, and the underground that’s trying to get them out, and those trying to take advantage of them. Of course, if anybody actually analyzes the logistics of the movie, they’d know there’s about three or four dozen problems and discrepancies with it compared to the reality of Casablanca, circa 1941, but that’s irrelevant because that’s not what the story’s about, it’s just backdrop and setting. It’s about a man who once upon a time, was in love with a woman who left him in the rain, and has since become the most pragmatic of loners. Of course, I’m talking about Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who sticks his neck out for no man, making him very trustworthy to both cops and criminals alike. Underground deals go on in and around his bar, and a shooting isn’t a good enough reason to close Rick’s. Rick gets warning from Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), informing him of the presence in Casablanca of a French resistance leader named Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), who’s made it to Casablanca, and is in search of letters of transit to Lisbon, which is unoccupied, and they can board a ship to America. Those who have never seen the movie will be confused by the scene below: