Thursday, February 28, 2008
"Casablanca", is arguably America's best loved movie of all time. Winning best film of 1943, Casablanca is a classic tale of lost love found again and then put at a risk of being lost once again.
The movie is a film for anyone who has ever had a heartbreaking choice to make, film goers who enjoy unpredictable endings, and for anyone who has lost a love. You can't say it doesn't have "classic" written all over it i mean, it's a World War II tale AND an extremely intense romance. It's truly hard to watch true love unable to bloom in a world gone crazy. The setting in the movie is it's World War Two and the Nazis are dominating Europe. France has just been take over and thousands of refugees have fled from the Germans wanting to escape to America. But they must go through many cities including Casablanca, Morocco. Casablanca is controlled by two worlds; controlled by the occupied France and by the German Third Reich. Here is where we meet our faithful Rick(Humphrey Bogart), one of the few refugees who has voluntarily stayed put in Casablanca and who claims to have loyalty to no one but himself. There are hints that show that he hasn't always been as self interested as he proclaims to be, but we see the Rick who only does favors to those who might offer them in return. It's only when Ilsa(Ingrid Bergman) and her husband Victor Laszlo(Paul Henreid), a Czech resistance leader, arrive at Rick's Cafe that Rick's vulnerability and true loyalties become obvious. Although we can see the true love between Rick and Ilsa, the director, Michael Curtiz, for sure surprises the watchers by the twisted ending that show the unselfish side of our beloved Rick.
The theme of true love always reoccurs throughout the movie. From the innocent couple trying to make their way to America and Rick saving the wife from pleasing Captain Renault(Claude Rains) in an un-moral way to the reunion of Rick and Ilsa. Thinking that their love was true, the two were set on going to Marcille to get married because they loved each other, but the absence of Ilsa proved to him that their time in Paris had been a joke and nothing else. But if it is true love, true love will come back which in this case it did. Ilsa returns to Casablanca unaware of the presence of Rick there and their meeting upon sight leads them to know that their love is true and that their time in Paris was not fake. Although the saying goes "True love conquers all" in this case it does not. The way the screen play writers Julius J, Philip G, and Howard Koch wrote it in a way that no one expect it to happen. The ending totally goes against how Rick had acted throughout the entire movie which obviously would cause a ruckus and surprise to the watchers. I personally did not see the ending coming and I guess in true love you have to sacrifice things for those you love . Another theme or symbol in the movie was the main love song shared between the two main characters Ilsa and Rick. "As Time Goes By" seems to show the true emotion on each of the characters face. When it's first heard in the movie by Ilsa, her face seems as if it's hidden by a shadow and seems like shes looking into the past. Where in the past, the song represented their love for each other, in the present it is just a pain to hear, to remind them of the past and that is shown when Rick gets completely drunk and remembers their time in Paris.
The acting in the movie was pretty amazing, one could feel the sarcasm dripping off of each line Rick had said and you could feel the harshness of the German soldiers in the bars. What was really interesting to me, and the reason i believe it holds audiences almost spellbound in it's successive viewings, is the connection between the horrors of World War Two and almost half of the actors in the movie. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Sidney Greenstreet(who played Signor Ferrari) had lost a son in combat, and a number of the cast members had fled Europe to escape the ravages of a Hitler regime. Even the evil Nazi character Major Strasser(Conrad Veidt) had left Nazi Germany to escape almost sure internment and possible death in a concentration camp. Personally i feel that all of these experience had only made the movie even better and that because of their personal experiences their role play of each character was better portrayed as well.
Overall the music in the movie was well developed. Throughout the sad, depressing but romantic parts they had the main love song by Frank Sinatra "As Time Goes By" and throughout the movie they had diegetic and nondiegetic sound. They had Sam(Dooley Wilson) playing in the bar on his piano and then when suspenseful parts were displayed the nondiegetic music was in play, especially in the opening scenes when they are looking for suspicious characters and the lead up to the chase and then final gunshot was very nicely played.
In conclusion, i thought Casablanca was an outstanding movie that really took me by surprise and a for sure movie that i would rent once again. The film received eight Academy Award nominations and won three: Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director and I personally think that the movie deserved more! :]]