Film Reviews Cat

Casablanca (1942)


Casablanca is a classic Hollywood movie (typical old Hollywood style) from 1942 about a bar owner in Casablanca that for some reason can’t return to the US. He ends up in the middle of a world full of refugees, corrupt officials, thiefs, Nazis, and people from the resistance. In the middle of this tricky world he meets his ex-girlfriend from Paris again. Now you might think to yourself why you want to watch a movie that was shot almost eighty years ago, and that it must be outdated…Well you would be dead wrong for thinking so. The two big classic Hollywood movie stars that shine so bright in this film are Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman. However, the other actors such as Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Peter Lorre are also doing a great job. 

I would even argue that this movie is more relevant than you might suspect because the amount of right-wing populism is on the rise again, and the amount of people that try to cross borders (into the US, and Europe) is also still an ongoing situation. I believe that this movie really shows us, or rather reminds us, of similar humanitarian crisis situations. A situation in which people do certain things for a better future, or behave in a way to take advantage of the situation at hand. Therefore this film presents perfectly the protagonist Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) who is in the middle of all of this, and who tries to remain neutral. We see a very bitter, cynical, and a disillusioned man who gave up on his ideals. It is very moving to see that deep inside the protagonist there is still a man that beliefs in doing the right thing. And maybe that is something which is important to remember these days; when you are disillusioned, or in a situation which is utterly bad that you will find the strength to make the right decision, and take a stance even though it is easier to remain neutral and look away. In this way Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine personifies the hero that we needed so much in 2020, and also this year.

This film is not all about the extremely difficult situation during Nazi occupation. There is also enough humor in the film to lighten it up a bit. Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) plays the enemy, and the friend. his character exactly hits the balance between these two opposites and has some funny, interesting and original dialogue. Speaking about the dialogue, sometimes this movie has this typical old Hollywood dialogue which might seem overly/hyper dramatized to some. Especially during romantic scenes this becomes apparent, but this is the style of Old Hollywood (Classical Hollywood cinema), and you have to see it through that Classical Hollywood cinema lens to fully appreciate it. The other thing that I found very impressive was the flashback to when Rick and Ilsa met for the first time in Paris. The romantic scene shows a couple who are in love which is contrasted by all the hate/war in the background. The contrast is enormous but through the dialogue they integrate the background artillery sounds which makes the scene… maybe a little cheesy, but it works very well. Here again one sees the Old Hollywood setup for a romantic situation during war time. 

Another reason to watch this film is because of all the perfect camera shots that you will experience. One could stop at any given scene and admire the shot, setting, set, actors, and the lighting. I would even go as far as to say that every shot was made to leave an everlasting impression on the audience. And when combined with one of the most amazing actors of that time then this is truly the case. It will be very difficult, maybe even impossible, to come up with a more iconic Hollywood movie (pre-sixties) than Casablanca (1942). 

There are many reasons for you to watch this film, and if you already watched it then I advise you to watch it again this year because you might see this film with a different perspective. Overall, it is something very special, and entertaining to watch.

Director: Michael Curtiz 

Writers: Julius J. Epstein (screenplay), Philip G. Epstein (screenplay)

Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

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