“ Genre: Drama / Theatrical Release: 1943 / Director: Michael Curtiz / Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman ... / DVD released 01 June, 2006 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, PAL „
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~ The Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection ~
I haven't got this on a lone DVD, I own it on the Humphrey Bogart Signature Collection along with three other Bogie classics: The Maltese Falcon, High Sierra and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It also has a few Casablanca extras on a separate DVD which include Bogie's wife Lauren Bacall narrating a documentary on the actor, interviews with Ingrid Bergman and Bogie and Bacall's children, Isabella and Stephen respectively, about the film and its stars and a great 1980s Loony Tunes adaptation of the classic film! There are also two commentaries including one by a film historian and one by critic Roger Ebert.
When I put on the main Casablanca DVD and the piano version of As Time Goes By so beautifully plays along in the background, you're already introduced to the beauty of this classic without watching a scene. There is also an option to have Lauren Bacall introduce the film where the demure legend speaks of the film's greatness, her husband's influence as well as that of Bergman's.
This recommended collection is available on Amazon at just under £9 but Casablanca on its own is available at under a fiver, also on Amazon.
~ Casablanca ~
Casablanca itself it just over 100 minutes long and obviously is entirely in black and white. Being a classic and like most good old films it has been well restored and is easily watchable without interruption and with good mono sound.
Release Year - 1942
Director - Michael Curtiz
Production Company - Warner Brothers; shot in studios, USA
Casablanca is one of the most revered and successful films of all time - Hollywood or otherwise. Old or modern. With leading stars such as Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre, is it any wonder why? Mind you, when Warner Bros. made this, they made it on a limited budget with absolutely no intention nor inkling they were making a film to the magnitude of its public and critical success since.
Believe me, you don't have to be a black and white film fan like myself to enjoy this one. I'm easy to please in this genre and era of film but this is a sheer timeless masterpiece that spans all tastes and generations.
Its atmosphere is a style the viewer gets lost in from minute one; created by its famous Max Steiner soundtrack, built around the old Broadway standard As Time Goes By which is predominately featured throughout. Add that to its brilliant dialogue, the way those great lines are delivered by Bogart and Rains, in particular, and the iconic setting of Rick's bar in a truly exotic backdrop of the Moroccan port the film is named after. Although there is no particularly groundbreaking cinematography in Casablanca alas other great films of the decade like Citizen Kane (1941) or The Red Shoes (1949), this era's filming style certainly adds to its brilliance.
This is a film that is sprinkled with patriotism, humour (mostly courtesy of the brilliant Claude Rains), strength, doom, optimism, sacrifice and that resistant wartime spirit that can alse be found in films such as Since You Went Away, Mrs. Miniver and Hitchcock's propaganda-driven Lifeboat (all wartime era). Casablanca's love triangle is played out wonderfully by its three top billed stars: Bogart, Bergman and Paul Henried. We also have one of the greatest partnerships in screen history: Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. What is great about Casablanca, in particular, though, is it represents all sides and emotions from the war and intertwines about two or three plots into one.
~ So Where Does it All Begin? ~
We enter both the film and the city of Casablanca to the prominent sounds of the French national anthem, Les Marseillais.
We can tell that the Moroccan coastal town is French occupied by observing its language, which is mostly French and little Arabic influence (nowadays Moroccans linguistics are based upon level of education but in the film it seems to give you a rough idea of the increasing French influence during the war).
We are introduced to the city and to Rick's famous Café Americain, Casablanca's most popular nighttime gambling and drinking establishment and its mixed bag of locals as well as the most famous characters we become so enticed by - owner Rick Blaine (Bogart), resident jazz pianist and Rick's trusted friend Sam (actor and drummer Dooley Wilson), Captain Louis Renault (Rains), Signor Ferrari (Greenstreet), Signor Ugarte (Lorre) and Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt) being the prominent characters. It is this establishment that provides the main backdrop of the drama throughout the film.
A few miles away is the airport where many refugees dream of their opportunity to depart Europe and make their way to the USA, via Lisbon, Portugal. The film's lack of American actors and high number of real European immigrants give it a feel of authenticity. The airport and its revolving beacon light in particular, will also play a major part at the film and its dark, brooding cinematography unfolds highlighting the fears and tribulations of its characters; it shines in and out of Rick's Café's entrance at night like a person's torch.
Captain Louis Renault is the prefect of police in Vichy-run Morocco. A good guy on the whole, though who is generally friendly with Rick. Signor Ferrari is also a generally good guy who owns a bar nearby called the Blue Parrot but is friendly with rival owner Rick. Signor Ugarde is the man who gets and sells the letters of transits to make money, which prioritises him.
When two Germans couriers are killed, German officer Major Strasser is told by French commander Captain Renault that the man responsible is most likely to be found in Rick's Cafe. After all, this is where everyone congregates. This is where you'll find many people who want to escape to the United States.
Signor Ugarte asks of owner Rick to hide some transit letters, which he does. Only he knows, only too well, that the two dead Germans were carrying letters of transit. These allow holders to travel to anywhere on the planet, giving the bearers an exit from even any German occupied country.
Everything changes in the Vichy-controlled north African city when a strikingly beautiful European accented lady, elegantly dressed in a white dress, Ilsa Lund (Bergman) and her acquaintance, Victor Laszlo (Henreid) arrive in Casablanca and enter Rick's joint and take their seat at a reserved table. Rick is a bitter and cynical American expatriate and doesn't want to be reminded of Paris, where he met and fell in love with Norwegian Ilsa. She asks Sam to play As Time Goes By, he reluctantly plays it, prompting Rick to rush out and remind him of their pact about never playing that song ever again. Rick looks up and then sees Ilsa. A defining moment in the film. It is clearly a song that has belonged to the two main characters at the height of their relationship in Paris. Sam pushes away the piano in trepidation and leaves Rick and Ilsa to it; inevitably anticipating the awkward accumulation of the ex-lovebirds. After all, Sam knew Ilsa from Paris as well and made the journey to Casablanca with Rick.
Ilsa's somewhat fascinating acquaintance Victor, it turns out is an concentration camp escapee, a Czechoslovakian resistance leader and the pair are desperately after two letters of transit which will see them to safety in the USA. It seems that the two are loyal and devoted to each other throughout.
As Rick's mind returns to pre-occupied Paris after seeing Ilsa again, we are given a glimpse into Rick and Ilsa's past relationship but learn little. They fall in love and share their intimate moments in the French capital as the war rapidly takes its grasp on Europe and drives the likes of Rick across the Mediterranean via Marseilles to safety in French Morocco. He goes alone as Ilsa explains at the last minute, via letter, she cannot go with him without a word of reason. We share Rick's bitterness towards Ilsa and depression and how he struggles to come to terms with everything that is happening around him as we experience them reuniting in Casablanca later on.
He is cynical, lonely and miserable and I think that eventually we all share both sympathy and sometimes even his frustration and feelings in life. I think that the character of Rick Blaine is particularly easy to identify with emotionally as we've all been let down by people and lost our trust somewhat. There are many aspects to Rick's background that are initially mysterious and remain so, as Captain Renault and Ugarte try to speculate in the film.
"Does Rick have a criminal past?," Captain Renault so typically wittily asks. He likes to think so because that, he states, is the romantic in him. We know Rick remains neutral in the war but has history of fighting the Germans; hence if he had stayed in Paris, his life would have been in further danger as they entered the French capital.
With Rick's bitter and twisted feelings towards Ilsa, it will take many tears, reliving and persuading to get Rick to hand those letters of transit over as we board this journey of antagonism, lust and desperate exhortation as the war continues to spread and take a firm grip on Europe all whilst many home truths unfold, complicating Rick and Ilsa's relationship further. Victor Laszlo though, is not a bad man and the endless persuasion towards Rick from Ilsa to get her hands on the letters of transit are driven more by Rick's bitterness towards his past and Ilsa, and also his supposed wartime neutrality.
We learn more of the characters' past and present along the way and where Victor Laszlo fits into Rick and Ilsa's Parisian past as they fight their desperate attempt to board a plane out of Morocco to safety and as Ilsa and Rick's feelings towards each other unfold.
Popular scenes include the passionate out-singing of the Germans with a stirring crowd rendition of the French national anthem in Rick's Café, the German singing initiated by Major Strasser and in return the French anthem encouraged by Laszlo. Singing loudly above the others is the patriotic Frenchwoman Yvonne, Rick's latest flame, played by Madeleine LeBeau. She is instrumental in one or two scenes, including this one.
My favourite scene is a darkly shot and emotionally tense one involving only Bergman and Bogart, as Ilsa asks Rick to put his personal feelings aside and makes a tearfully threatening demand of Rick involving the letters of transit which are so crucial to the film's story line and the characters' futures.
Bergman's acting is so natural; she and Bogart act so well without even speaking. Her earthy Scandinavian beauty is perhaps at its peak, albeit Ilsa Lund was never her most glamorous role (although her bravest was perhaps that as an Englishwoman in The Inn of the Sixth Happiness with the incomparable Robert Donat). Bergman was taller than Bogart and preferred to be filmed from one side, as you'll notice in the film and her chemistry with Bogart is probably better than it is with Henried.
At the point as well, I'd only ever watched German actor Conrad Veidt in one film, a relatively obscure 1930s spy film called Dark Journey with Vivien Leigh. I already knew about Vivien since she is my favourite actress but it was difficult to fathom Veidt as an actor from that small film because the quality was so poor so this is quite a leap in film quality regarding both me as a viewer and he as an actor. He was a very talented actor who made a number of films in England. In real life he was on the side of good guys but in the film he plays a subtle baddie, the German commander who arrives in Morocco to find Laszlo.
There are spoofs and some of the filming, as only to be expected if you're open minded about older things, is dated. You'll only notice this if you really technically analyse films of course (check out when the scene when Rick is advancing to Casablanca and is soaking wet, he reads Ilsa's 'crying' note then he miraculously dries off as he boards the train with Sam).
Casablanca is so beautifully shot and the use of light is eerily effective throughout. Just watch when a moody Rick is sitting and drinking in the Cafe after the customers have disappeared, how the airport's torch-like beacon light from outside the Cafe cleverly rotates around Rick; serving him as a constant reminder of those leaving and remaining in Casablanca and emphasising the increasing unease in the film.
I first watched this a long time ago and my personal favourite thing about Casablanca, and this is a difficult choice considering there are few weaknesses in the film itself, is the then personal 'discovery' of Claude Rains; undoubtedly one of the greatest British actors ever. I'd already watched him in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) by this point but had taken little notice of him as I was 'discovering' Jean Arthur in the very same way as I did with Raines in Casablanca. My other favourite element of the film, which in my opinion has to be considered a massive key to its success, is the atmosphere in which it is shot. Its haunting score and use of lighting combine to make it a classic. Then there is the dialogue which is timeless in both its writing and delivery. It makes you wonder why more emphasis is not put on brilliant screenplay these days because it is crucial to the film's timelessness.
~ Other Quick Info ~
Like a lot of old films, there is quite a lot of alcohol or tobacco consumption throughout. Rick, in particular, does drink quite a lot whilst wallowing in his doom and gloom. I can think of three scenes involving a gun and twice where it is used and once where it is threatened but being older, there's no gore or real violence. Other than that, it is quite universally friendly and mild.
Soundtrack-wise, this film does prominently feature 1931-written standard As Time Goes By within its Steiner composition as well as the French national anthem but it also has a number of big band singalongs including You Got Trouble (Knock on Wood); which is joyously sang by Sam at his piano and the surrounding crowd in Rick's cafe. This film's soundtrack is available and chronologically contains all the major spoken scenes with the underscore as well as the singalongs and both versions of As Time Goes By: Dooley Wilson's vocal version and composer Max Steiner's orchestral rendition.
~ In Other Words ~
Casablanca retains a truly unmatched classic which, much like Gone with the Wind (1939), means it continues to be beloved by generation after generation: an unmatched cast, genius dialogue, unsettling yet beautifully shot setting, much loved characters, beautiful orchestration and a universal theme that each and every viewer could, and still does, relate to. Like a song that speaks to my soul, once I watch it, it is so atmospheric and enthralling that it continues to play over and over in my head days after watching it. I could talk about it all day but I think I have been on this one long enough. Casablanca will continue to be revered as long as time goes by.
I had watched this at school, as part of a Media Studies class once, but since then, had only really seen snippets of it here and there. As a result, I think I have had the wrong notion of the plot, and all of its intricacies. That is, until last week, when I watched it all the way through, no interruptions, and realised just how well worked it is.
Released in 1942 and set during the Second World War in the Morrocan town of Casablanca, it is very heavily regarded as one of the most neutral places in North Africa, during the War. Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, owner of the cafe/bar where most of the officers from both sides of the fighting gather. The town is rife with corruption, with the chief of police there, Vichy soldier Captain Renault (Claude Rains) the most corrupt of them all. When Rick's old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) walks in with the most wanted Ally, the Czech Victor Laszlo, seeking a safe way out of Africa to the US he is torn between his very neutral status and his emotions which reappear all over again.
Indeed, this is a classic film noir with twists and turns galore. There is suspense and emotion, romance and action, music and drunkenness, all of it interlaced with some fine music. When Casablanca was made, it featured an all star cast and some excellent people behind the scenes as well, but its reception, released during WWII, was never really anything special. It is only over time that the film has become one of the most iconic and quotable films ever (and misquoted as well, I might add).
What makes it so enjoyable is the acting. Bogart's smooth and calm exterior, as well as his charismatic attitude as Rick Blaine, make him an ideal lead from start to finish. You'd almost think he was born to play this role. Bergman is quite good as a femme fatale, leading her men merry dances as she struggles with her own emotions. People have lauded her performance, but while she is good, I felt it was a bit contrived, whereas the majority of the acting around her was more realistic. Rains is brilliant as the cheeky and corrupt police chief, fingers in pies everywhere, and Paul Henreid does a sterling job as Laszlo. They are all backed up very well by the various staff at Rick's, as well as the other inhabitants of the town and officers from both sides of the fighting. I loved the way they were held in neutrality due to the political status of Rick's, where he doesn't allow any politics to come into things whatsoever. In fact, the only time politics really enters into things in an aggressive way outside of the main plot is when the national anthems of the Germans and then the French are played in the bar. It dies down very suddenly afterwards, in a way that almost suggests that's it, the only aggressive motion to be had.
Dooley Wilson is also worth a nod. He plays Sam, he of the misquoted 'Play it again, Sam', a line which is never actually said. 'Play it, Sam': yes. 'Play it again': yes. But not all together. Wilson plays 'As Time Goes By' beautifully, and it's the iconic song that has become one of the most iconic and famous of all films. Sam has been with Rick since before they came to Casablanca, and he sort of acts like Rick's conscience on many an occasion in the film. I thought the pair of them bounced off each other quite well, particularly in one scene where Sam is telling his employer off, defiantly.
And then there are the quotes. Perhaps there's nothing special about them, but a lot has been made of things such as 'Here's looking at you, kid' as Rick says to Ilsa on a regular basis as 'their' saying; then there's 'Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine'; and of course the immortal 'Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship'. It's highly quoted film, and until i had watched it again, properly, I hadn't realised just how well written the plot was. Michael Curtiz directs it very well, the score is fabulous, the acting nearly perfect from all involved, and the overall feel of the film makes it hard to turn away from start to finish.
I highly recommend watching Casablanca. I'm really glad I watched it the second time round, as I don't think I appreciated it that much when I was younger and at school. It has a Universal certificate, but it's definitely more for an older audience, one who can understand or who has at least some knowledge of the war, from studies or general understanding. This is not essential, but it helps you to understand the plot laced with politics and romance. Highly recommended, and it's Bogart through and through.
This is one of the best three films of all time, not just because I say so, but because nearly every film list in the world says so. Sometimes it's first, sometimes second or third alongside Chinatown and The Godfather, this really is the black and white film noir masterpiece.
Starring Humphrey Bogart (who is surely the King of Film Noir) as Rick Blaine, the New York Born American Expatriate who opens a very profitable club in Casablanca during WW2, whilst it was under the control of Vichy. Ingrid Bergman plays the woman who hurt him, deserted him and disappeared for reasons unknown. And there is wonderful support from Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault, the French officer in charge of Casablanca, Sidney Greenstreet Signor Ferrari who wants to buy Rick's club and the wonderful Peter Lorre Signor Ugarte.
Casablanca is the place where those desperate to get away from Europe to the USA go, and if you know the right people, such as Rick Blaine or Signor Ferrari, you can escape. That's the basic plot that this is built on.
Signor Ugarte arrives at Rick's club with two 'letters of transit' that he obtained. These are the letters that are needed to escape, and are wort a fortune. He tries to sell them to the highest bidder, placing them in the care of Rick when he is arrested, but he never tells the police anything and is killed.
At this point, Rick's old flame Ilsa (Bergman) comes back into his life and he becomes bitter, remembering it all. It turns out that he and Ilsa were together in Paris, but just as they were about to leave she left him standing on the platform alone and disappeared without any real explanation. We now find out that the reason she left him was because she was married. She had thought her husband was dead, but it turns out he was alive, and she felt she needed to be with him as he was a resistance leader. She and her husband Lazlow now need to escape, and have and think that Rick can help them.
Setting his feelings aside, Rick decides to help and through the dark streets of Casablanca whilst trying to avoid capture and arrest, leading to surely on the the most riveting climaxes of all time with one of the most unforgettable final lines of all time.
This was Bogart's big break really, as before this he had been typecast as a gangster. It cemented his career as a leading actor, and he soon became the true King of Film noir. Ingrid Bergman is on top form in this as well. But there are so many actors to choose from it's hard to tell who steals it. It's just a classic film!
I must be one of the few ppl in the country, if not the world who a) has only recently seen this film and b) really does not see what all the fuss is about.
Everything about Casablanca suggests that I should like it. When it comes to films I am a hopeless romantic, liking nothing more than a good old soppy love story, the more unrequited or impossible the nature the better, and especially if set in the past in a time of war or peril. Casablanca is exactly that.
For those few people who don't know the story Casablanca is set during the second world war in Casablanca, Africa. This is a bustling town that is full to the brim of refugees trying to get out of occupied Europe, in particular France, and to safety. People are so desperate to get out they are selling jewellery or gambling to make as much money as they can to either bribe their way out or to buy falsified papers. One of the safe havens in the town seems to be Rick's bar, where dodgy deals and drunken card games are played out in a lively atmosphere with good old Sam playing along on the piano.
One night in walks Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) with her husband Victor Laszlo and it seems that she is no stranger to Rick (Humphrey Bogart). Cue some flashbacks of the pair of them happy and in love swanning around Paris just before the occupation. They planned to leave together except Isla never turned up, omething that had tormented Rick ever since. We don't find out at first why she didn't turn up but its pretty obvious the husband she is now carrying around with her has something to do with it.
We soon learn that her husband was in a concentration camp while she was swanning around with Rick and she thought him dead. As soon as she realised he wasn't dead she ran to his side, leaving Rick high and dry. Victor, being important to the resistance movement is trying to get them safely out of Casablanca and they enlist Rick's help, although it soon becomes clear that Isla is falling for Rick again and doesn't want to leave him a second time.
I have to say that I was most disappointed with this film. This might have something to so with the fact that all I have ever heard about it is that it is a classic and one of the best love stories of all time.
Admittedly there is a remarkable sense of sorrow and beauty in the film, particularly the atmosphere in Ricks's which makes you emotional thinking of the turmoil people went through in that time. However I felt no sympathy for Isla at all, in fact I felt pretty annoyed with her all the way through, I felt that she didn't really have a good enough reason to have abandoned Rick the first time, or to have gone back to her husband who she clearly didn't love. I felt very sorry for her husband Victor and Rick who she used through most of the film. Ingrid Bergman does look stunning in this film but that's about all.
Humphrey Bogart played Rick very well as the shrewd businessman tormented by his love for Ilsa and I did feel sorry for him.
I liked the fact it was in black and white as well, really added a classic air of mystery to the film.
All in all this was a good film but not the best love story I've ever seen. If people want a classic love story I would recommend others such as Gone with The Wind or Doctor Zhivago!
I'm not sure there is much to add to a critique of Casablanca not already said, nor much more original to say in awe and devotion of this classic... But i'm going to say my twopence worth anyway! The plot in it's most basic terms: Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), runs a bar in Casablanca during World War II. People come to Rick's bar to buy letters of transit to escape to America. One day he is approached by Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) who is well reknwoned as a rebel and his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) for two such letters. Ilsa is Rick's true love who left in Paris a number of years ago when the Nazi's invaded. Although devoted to her new husband a renewed love ignites between the two and they must make difficult decisions as to the course of the future. Humphrey Bogart plays his best in my view as does Ingrid Bergman. The script and performaces sizzle as does the magnetism between the two. Special mention should go to a sterling, and under-rated performace by Claude Rains as the corrupt official.
Ah, Casablanca, a strong contender for my favourite film ever.
It's a romance story, a war story, an intrigue story and a witty snark-fest all rolled into one. It has the always-fantastic Humphrey Bogart and the equally always-wonderful Peter Lorre, along with a host of other excellent actors playing intriguing characters.
The film is set (and was indeed made) during World War 2. The titular city has become a haven for refugees fleeing the tyranny of Nazi-controlled Europe, waiting desperately for permits to allow them to travel to the US. Bogart plays Rick, an American who owns a restaurant/club/casino and lives comfortably ... until an old flame (the stunningly beautiful Ingrid Bergman) walks back into his life.
They don't make them like this any more, and that is a damned shame. Every moment of this film is highly enjoyable, and you find yourself really feeling for the characters long before the film is out. This is especially down to the wonderful acting of everyone involved. You'll find yourself rooting for the good guys and hissing at the Nazis, guaranteed!
The script is excellent too, delivering a real zinger every few lines. Today's romantic comedy/romantic drama screenwriters could really stand to learn a thing or two from this.
The DVD that I have is a double disc special edition which comes with a veritable treasure trove of special features. Interviews, featurettes, commentaries, outtakes - even the Loony Toons spoof Carrotblanca. An EXCELLENT set of features that both entertains and gives invaluable trivia on how the film was made.
If you still haven't seen it, don't worry. It's on every other Christmas. Sit down, give it a watch. I bet you you'll want to get the DVD, and it'll be worth every penny, take my word for it.
Casablanca could possibly be the most beloved Best Picture winner of all time, and definitely stands as one of the public's favourite romantic movies. This film is well known for boat loads of cult performances, quotable lines, instant cliches and Hollywood magic and that's what makes this film one of the best from the golden age of cinema. This film is just one of those films every film fan has to see, i remember when i was just starting my passion for film and collecting film i looked at the academies choices of best picture etc and this was just one of those films that no matter what my interest in film was - i knew about it and thought that i had to see it. Whether you like it or hate it Casablanca will always be remembered as a symbol of cinema for a long time to come and i am happy that it will be.
Humprhey Bogart leads the all star cast who all play wonderfully significant characters from Sam the piano player to Peter Lorre's Hustler all the way round to Paul Henried's patriot against the Nazis. This supporting cast is just one of the reasons this film is so popular, even the extras are brilliant! which all adds to the lively, seducative and oddly appealing feel of the film that generates an atmosphere, especially for fans, that makes you just want to jump in and take a look around and mingle with the all the characters in Rick's Cafe. The whole cast may all have obvious roles but they all add something to the film which can't always be said for films these days - every character had a back story that i as a viewer wanted to know.
I wouldn't normally enjoy this sort of film, now that i have seen so many other films it's hard to see Casablanca as anything more than just a cliche. But it doesn't matter, it is a wonderful film with such wonderful morals and characters (We were all hoping Rick would do the right thing though you could never really tell his motives) that it just emerses you right from the start. It also had an attitude of wonder to its story telling, i has an almost incomplete sense to it. What happened to these people now that we now how the war panned out - where did Rick go? what happened to Ilsa? this all adds a bit of intrigue to the legacy which i love.
I don't think you can write a review for Casablanca and not add some of the delightfully quotable lines that were included: 'Of all the gin joints...' ,'Round up the usual suspects', 'Louis, i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship' and of course 'Here's looking at you, kid' - Brilliant.
Easily my favourite film of all time, and quite possibly the best film ever made...Casablanca!
What started as a cold piece of World War 2 propaganda has become one of the best-loved movies of all time. The on-screen chemistry between the leads, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is utterly spellbinding and there's not one bad performance in the entire film.
Telling the story of "Rick", a man with a troubled past and a personality as cold as they come (back when such a thing wasn't a cliche) and the ramifications of his old lover's return to his life, Casablanca is the ultimate tale of love, life and what it means to be a man. Especially a proud American during the War. Or even a proud Frenchman or German during the war. It is to the film's great credit that there are no real stereotypes. Even the "evil" German characters are fleshed out fully.
The film also carries an incredible undercurrent of humour, with Claude Raines taking the film from under Bogart's nose with his Captain Renault stealing every scene he is in. In keeping with this humour (often incredibly dark) is my favourite line in all of cinema; but I don't want to ruin it. Sufficed to say it comes from Raines at the height of the film's drama. In fact, this film contains so many classic lines that I dare you not to smile when you hear them spoken!
If you haven't seen this film; buy it, watch it...and then watch it again. It's a classic and you don't often here me saying that in a good way!
Director: Michael Curtiz
Length: 102 Mins
Actors: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
One word that can bring so many thoughts to mind. For me it reminds me of younger happier days, sitting curled up on the coach with a cup of hot cocoa and my dads famous grilled cheese sandwiches, and watching the story of a hardened cynic and his lost love.
WARNER CONTAINS SPOILERS
THIS PART IS SIMPLY WHAT THE MOVIE IS ABOUT. IF YOU WOULD RATHER NOT KNOW SOME OF THE EVENTS THEN SCROLL DOWN TO THE PART THAT SAYS: MY OPINION.
The film takes place in the Vichy-controlled (Vichy refers to French control under German supervision. Following the military defeat of France by Nazi Germany during World War II, France was occupied by the Germans but were still allowed some power. Vichy France, or the Vichy regime are the common terms used to describe the government of France from the time they were occupied till the Allies liberation of France) Moroccan city of Casablanca during World War II and focuses on a man's conflict between the love of a woman and the greater cause. He must choose between his love for a woman and doing the right thing, which is helping her and her Resistance leader husband escape from Casablanca in order to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a bitter, cynical American in Casablanca, who professes to be neutral in all matters. He owns and runs, an posh nightclub and gambling hall that is frequented by a mixture of Vichy French, Nazi officials, refugees, profiteers and thieves.
A man named Ugarte (Peter Lorre), arrives in Rick's club with two "letters of transit". The papers are like a golden ticket that allow the person possessing them free movement through German controled Europe and from there to America. The letters are almost priceless to any who wish to escape from the War. Ugarte plans to sell them to a man, who is due to arrive at the club later that night. However, before the exchange can take place, Ugarte is arrested by the local police, under the command of Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), a corrupt French opportunist. Unbeknownst to Renault and the Nazis, Ugarte had entrusted the letters to Rick because dispite Ricks disgust of him, he is the only one he trusts.
At this point in the movie the plot starts to really roll, as the reason for Rick's bitterness re-enters his life. His lost love Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) arrives with her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a fugitive resistance leader long sought by the Nazis. The couple need the letters to leave Casablanca to "reach America and continue Lazlos work."
So what will it be? How will the story play out? Will Rick help the only woman he ever loved but who disappeared from his life without a word?
Watch the movie and see....
For a movie that was never a big budget guaranteed success, it really surprised all involved, at the popularity it received. It does have a slight propaganda feel to it, but that was the norm for every movie made during the early 40s.
The plot is really quite simple there aren't many major turns and twists to keep you riveted to the screen, it is more of a character study, where you get involved with the two main characters and their love story. Lets face it we all love a tragic love story, its why those movies like Titanic are such box office hits, and it was no different 60 years ago.
So if you like to indulge in a nice tub of icecream and a box of tissues, on the weekend then this one hits the spot.
Its got everything it takes to make one hell of a love story.
Casablanca is the ultimate Hollywood classic movie; frequently being voted as one of the top romances and films of all time and it isn't all hype. It was nominated for several Oscars in 1944, winning the awards for best picture, director and screenplay.
Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, you're non typical American hero and owner of a bar in the city of Casablanca during the second world war. He entertains Nazis and French alike and proclaims to have little opinion on the European conflict. When Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) turns up in ex lover Rick's bar, in need of papers to enable her husbands escape from Casablanca, old passions are stirred between the couple. What unfolds is a riveting tale about a mans struggle between his love for a woman and doing what is right.
One of Casablanca's Academy Awards being for best screenplay you'd expect that aspect of the film to be pretty amazing and it is. The plot flows brilliantly and the dialogue is some of the most memorable in any film. There is probably no other movie that can be quoted so readily ( The Godfather being the exception) with lines like "Here's looking at you, kid" and "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine". Combine that with an amazing cast and brilliant direction and you've got yourself a classic.
Humphrey Bogart has always been a favourite actor of mine and he's at his best here with one of the most memorable characters ever portrayed on screen. Rick is a complex and reluctant hero; his relationship with Ilsa as portrayed in the past and present is very moving and convincing. Ingrid Bergman is just as brilliant as Ilsa and has one of the best, although misquoted, lines in history with "Play it again Sam".
One thing that makes Casablanca so unforgettable is the perfect, non sappy, ending with the best closing line ever. It's a romance movie that even the most reluctant viewer can't help but enjoy and admire.
In the past I've watched a lot of the critically acclaimed classics and been disappointed, nothing will ever convince me that Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time, but on this occasion I agree with the critics. Casablanca is a wonderful film, well worth the few pounds you can buy it for, from almost anywhere.
As a movie fan I feel that it is sometimes sacreligious to say that I don't like some of the acknowledged 'classics' of the form, although I do try to have my own opinions! Well on Thursday night I took my lady to the cinema for Valentines Day and we watched Casablanca. I was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen after having only seen it once a good many years ago on TV.
Initially I was happy - I love seeing old movies on the cinema screen and have seen quite a few in my time. However I was soon bored. I can't quite put my finger on why - the storyline is good - but I just couldn't seem to stay awake. It doesn't help that Ingrid Bergman, who is the female lead, has never been my favourite actress, and I can never warm to her on the screen. Humphrey Bogart is good in the lead male role, but then he's good in everything.
Well, what about the story? Made in 1941 the film features Rick, played by Bogart, running a bar in Casablanca which at the time was part of unoccupied France. Into his bar comes the great love of his life who left him some time before, but now she has reason for his help. The great romance between them is reawakened, but they must fight their feelings in order to do the right thing.
Of course, Casablanca is part of the movie canon, and must be watched if you consider yourself to be a movie buff of any level. Just be prepared to say that you don't like it if you find it as boring as I did!
26 November 1942, a day that probably means nothing to no-one (unless of course you happen to have been born on that particular day, but it will mean nothing to most other people) yet it's a day that should go down in history as the birth of a legend. It was on this very day that a film by director Michael Curtiz (Angels with Dirty Faces) was given it's world premiere in New York city. That film was the Humphrey Bogart vehicle Casablanca, a film that has since gone on to infuse itself into our culture in a way few films can truthfully claim. If imitation is indeed the greatest form of flattery then this particular film has a received more flattery than any other film in history, being the influence for countless films released since and the the material for thousands of spoofs in both the movie and video-game worlds. However we find ourselves today facing a very sad state of affairs; a time when most of our youth could quote half of Casablanca without thinking, but still can not make the claim of actually having seen it. They would claim that a love story will suck; which let's face it is generally true, or that any film without color is destined to have them snoring before the opening credits have ended. So instead of getting over these initial prejudices and actually watching the film even once, most youths are perfectly content with the many imitations out there; quoting the really famous lines in an attempt to sound cool and forgetting that a copy will always be degraded in quality, no matter how high the technology is. Yet the fact remains that real; die hard, movie fanatics will have seen Casablanca, and while they wont all have enjoyed it (Something I can grudgingly accept in small doses) most will have made sure to see it, purely because a movie fan who has never seen Casablanca is the equivalent of a book worm that has never read, a book. (E
nter your "I haven't seen Casablanca, actually" comments in the appropriate box.) So why is it that this particular film has become so popular among people who are usually so strict; that a romantic comedy is now so well respected that the mere suggestion of a Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez remake is tantamount to blasphemy? At a guess I would have to say that not only is it one of the few romantic comedies that is both romantic and funny; not only does it feature strong characters and unforgettable performances, but mainly I would say that it comes down to the progression of the films story, because Casablanca tells a story that; like it's main character, is pure nobility hiding itself behind a cynical shell. The events of Casablanca occur entirely within the confines of the colorful city of the title (well with the exception of a quick flash back around the halfway mark) and centers around a glitzy casino known as Rick's Place. This particular casino is run by the cynical ex patriot Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a man who; years previously, had enjoyed a torrid affair with the beautiful Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) which ended when she disappeared, leaving behind only one last note and turning Rick into the empty shell he is today. Yet the Nazi regime has come to Casablanca due to concerns that a freedom fighter named Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) is on his way and that Rick may choose to help him escape. However when Lazlo does show up in town he brings with him his wife who; fate would have it, is the very same Ilsa that Rick was in love with all those years ago. To explain why Casablanca works as well as it does will take a while though; it's not the kind of thing that can be adequately covered in a few short paragraphs because the film is such a pure marvel; a film that sees e
very one of its technical areas coming together in sheer perfection. That is why I will take the most sensible route, I'll start with the most basic reason for Casablanca's endearing success and then I'll move my way forward into the depths of the film. The simple reason is; and this is also the thing that most people will find to like about Casablanca, the fact that the film works as a genuine romantic comedy. It's totally unlike most other romantic comedies because not only does it not focus on just one of these areas, but it also develops both areas incredibly well, preventing the film from dissolving into an incoherent mess. The location design of Ricks place, the longing close ups of Bergman's teary eyes and the central plot all work as a romance, yet the film still succeeds at being funny, very funny. At one point Claude Rains Capt. Louis Renault is required to shut down Rick's place by request from the Nazi's. When asked to give a reason he replies "I am shocked, shocked to discover there is gambling going on here!" before a waiter comes over to him replying "Your winnings sir." This is the kind of joke that has been used many times since and so may seem a little lame to those who have never seen the film, but when you have seen the film you will be able to appreciate how this particular instance benefits from the perfectly timed reaction of Rains and the fact that the joke has been underplayed enough that it barely has time to register as a joke. This is just one example of the films humor, but there are many examples and all of them work equally well in combination with the romantic aspects to produce the perfect romantic comedy. Yet I cannot with a clear conscience imply that Casablanca is merely another one of histories romantic comedies, because as good as it works in that area Casab
lanca is so much more memorable than that. As any-one who has seen the film will testify; Casablanca features some of the strongest characters in the history of film and just as important are the actors who make these characters work. Who can forget Bogart's take on Rick, a character who is as far removed from the 2 dimensional heroes of todays films as is humanly possible. A man who can make the claim "I stick my neck out for nobody", yet have it countered by Lazlo's observation that he is merely trying to fool himself. That in his heart he remains a good man, even though he is hiding it from himself in this uncaring, cynical shell. Who can deny that it's Bogart that makes this role what it is, that his exuberance is the very reason that Rick Bane has gone on to become one of the silver screens biggest icons, remaining unchallenged for 40 years until Anthony Hopkins made Hannibal Lector the single contender. Bogart himself wasn't the best looking guy, he had an odd tone of voice that could have been considered annoying on anyone else, and yet with him it never did. He held such a sense of authority, an unmatched screen presence which made you believe that he was genuinely capable of getting the girl, thus adding to the power that was already on display during the films infamous climax. Far from being alone though, Bogart was joined by a group of people who can only be described as a perfect cast. Bergman's long stares at the camera could so easily have turned into a typical eye candy moment, and yet she has such a wide eyed innocence about her that she gives the role an emotional intensity that it could so easily have missed. Paul Henreid gives her husband a sense of strong will, determination to do the right thing at all costs beyond the unhappiness of his wife. A man willing to sacrifice himself if it would make her happy and
for the most part working as the voice of reason that constantly nags at Ricks cynical nature. Yet as far as I'm concerned the films best performer; after Bogart of course, will always be Claude Rains who played Casablanca's corrupt Police captain. A man willing to sell himself to the highest bidder, even willing to do favours for the Nazis whome he believes will win the war. Rains gives the role a sense of humor though, a cheeky humor that works in the spirit of the character, but also succeeds at making him endearing despite seeming to be such scum. Like I said previously though; my favorite aspect of the film is that it does have a noble story to tell. (needless to say I will be discussing the ending, you have been warned) While it initially comes across as a cynical tale, and by the end of the film the hero still doesn't get the girl, once you have finished watching the film it becomes obvious that the writers had a lot of faith in people. Louis, the corrupt police captain goes through the film appearing to be scum, a man who would sell his own mother down the creek if it would garner him with a little more success. Yet when the film reached its conclusion he utters another of Casablanca's immortal lines, "Round up the usual suspects." With that line he proves that he still has some humanity left in him thanks to a bond of friendship that he shares with Rick. Likewise with Rick, a man who has been broken down by the loss of the woman he loves, and in the end still fails to get her. Yet the point is that Rick is a man who could have easily left on that plane with Ilsa, he could have left Casablanca with the woman he loves and been happy forever. Yet he sees the bigger picture, he sees that his feelings are irrelevant and gives up the girl, but not only that, finally finds himself feeling content when he does this. It
's this faith in humanity that keeps drawing me back to the film because it's been pulled off in such a way as to appeal to a cynic like me, while at the same time convincing me that not all people are that bad. It's probably one of the only optimistic films that appeals to me because of that optimism, and for that reason Casablanca has gone on to become one of my favorite films. Disclaimer-I originally posted this review on the website movieweb.com
I am now the proud owner of a Panasonic XV10 DVD player which I recently picked up from Martin Dawes for absolutely zilch. We’ve rented our TV and Video for the last few years from Martin Dawes. £30 a month provides a high spec digital combination and the ability to upgrade at regular intervals without any hassle. I called into their shop in Shrewsbury the other week on the off chance that there may be some offers on, but was told by the very helpful assistant that the Panasonic TV/Video package we were renting was the equal of anything that they currently had in stock and to change would mean either a higher rental or a lower specification albeit on a newer model. He asked me why I wanted to change and I told him that I quite fancied a DVD player and had noticed that the current packages had one included. “No problem sir, I’ll add one to your existing contract.” “Hold on a minute I said, how much is that going to cost me?” “Nothing” he said “as long as you sign up with us for another twelve months”. Five minutes later I’d signed the documents and was busy trying to explain to my wife why I was carrying this box full of expensive looking electrical equipment when I’d supposedly gone off to buy a pair of shoes. Ten minutes later I was adding to my meagre collection of DVD’s with yet another bargain, this time from Woolworths. £7.99 for the DVD version of Casablanca, possibly the best film ever made. For those dooyooers who have never had the pleasure of seeing this wonderful film, Casablanca is set in the Morrocan town during the Second World War, a place filled with desperate people trying to flee to Lisbon and escape the invading Nazis. For those lucky enough to get transit papers, freedom awaits, whilst the rest just wait in the hope that something will turn up. At the centre of all this activity is Rick's Amer
ican Café, a local nightspot owned by Rick Blaine, a cynical, disillusioned and embittered American, who is an exiled loner with a very shady background played by Humphrey Bogart. One night, the Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo, played by Paul Henreid, drops into Rick's with his wife Ilsa played by the fantastic Ingrid Bergman. Unknown to Laszlo, Ilsa was the woman who had previously broken Rick's heart. Understandably, when Laszlo asks for Rick's help in obtaining some stolen Letters of Transit, the initial reply is lukewarm, however, as the situation develops, Rick finds he has to choose between love and his own happiness or the countless lives hanging in the balance The film is both timeless and magical and the acting is a real class, absolutely superb. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are awesome as the couple desperately in love but separated by circumstances. The oceans of emotion rolling across Humphrey Bogart's craggy face in the split second when he sees his one true love again, is worth the price of the DVD alone – acting at its very best. Ingrid Bergman is surely one of the most beautiful women ever to appear on screen and one of the best actresses too. Casablanca is filled with colorful supporting characters who make it humorous, melodramatic, intriguing and exciting. The supporting cast is superb and includes many major Hollywood stars of the era - Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson as Rick's piano playing confidant, Sam. The film’s settings are excellent and the fact that it is in black and white fits in perfectly and adds to the wonderful cinematography. And of course, the script is fantastic - Casablanca has more lines that have become classic quotations than any other movie I can think of . "Here's looking at you, kid", “Play it, Sam”, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" are some of many quotes whic
h have passed into legend. The film also has some great music. The song "As Time Goes By" is probably the most famous and many of you will remember it as the theme of a the sitcom starring Judi Dench, however to me it will always be from Casablanca and its effect is only matched by the amazing scene where the locals, led by Victor Laszlo, sing the Marseillaise to drown out the Nazi's own singing, a true reflection of the time the film was made. At the height of World War II, it looked as though the Nazis were going to take over the world. Casablanca symbolises an act of defiance against their tyranny that threatened to bring oppression to the free world. Whereas today the best films usually depend on the amount of expensive special effects and marketting, Casablanca is a masterpiece that was never trying to be anything but a low budget product of that wonderful Hollywood era. The DVD is a must for anyone’s collection, the picture quality is sharp and director Michael Curtiz's extensive use of shadows and moody lighting are incredibly evocative and dramatic. Chapter 13 is a bit ropy and slightly grainy but doesn’t really detract from the excellent overall quality of the DVD. The accompanying documentary is as usual slightly over the top but the interviewees, which include co-scriptwriter Julius Epstein and Murray Burnett who wrote the play the film is based on, talk about the film with real affection. One of the most interesting revelations is that the airfield at the end is actually a studio shot with a cut-out plane and midget mechanics to keep the perspective right. The main plus is the excellent chaptering on the DVD that means you can select from a choice of 36 classic scenes at a touch of a button like "Play it, Sam", "Of all the gin joints", "Here's looking at you", "We'll always have Paris", and many more. So, there you
are – excellent value for money, three ops in one. A big thumbs up for Martin Dawes, Panasonic Videos and particularly ‘Casablanca’, a DVD which has absolutely everything - adventure, an exotic location, memorable songs, cinema's most beautiful heroine, a truly masculine hero who remains a Hollywood Icon, an evil villain and a truly memorable romance. Buy it and play it - over and over again.
This wonderful film is now available on DVD and so can be enjoyed as many times as is necessary to appreciate just how good it is! Humphrey Bogarte is just the epitome of the suave sophisticate whose icy exterior melts when he discovers love. Yuck I here you cry - No I shout back - this is a film which though now a byword for war time romance has much more to offer. For this film is complex in a way which romances simpliciter rarely manage. The characters are much more than cyphers and though you stumble across more familiar lines than in a Shakespeare play this is (as with Shakespeare) because they are immortal. Lesser films are familiar because, you realise early on, you've seen it all before. Here the film is familiar even on its first watching because it is a great film and has echoes in many films that came after (not to mention advets, parodies, comedy scetches etc). Luckily it is also cheap because there is no demand so - only one copy each please and resist that urge to give it to all your friends and relations for Christmas!
Eastenders finished, there was nothing to look forward to on the TV so I scoured my video shelf and decided that I was in the mood to reacquaint myself with one of the all time cinema greats. I poured a large brandy and, snuggled into my corner of the couch, set about immersing myself in a different era. The story of Casablanca is one of old fashioned romance. Based around Rick's, the bar owned by cynical soldier of fortune Rick Blaine (are you still with me?!), played by Humphrey Bogart, it tells the story of the flames of romance that are fanned back to life when Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) walks back into Rick's life. Set in Second World War Morocco, Casablanca, under the control of the French was a jumping off point for Portugal and hence to America. All kinds of desperate people gather in the town trying to buy passage away from the horrors. Rick's bar is the main focal point for wheelings and dealings. Early in the film, he agrees to look after two valuable transit documents; a decision which will later present him with a horrific dilemna. The tale unfolds from the moment that Rick's former lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) arrives on the scene with her husband. The passion between Rick and Ilsa, the background to which is revealed via flashbacks, is reawakened but will he fan the flames or help to arrange their passage to America using the letters? No-one else can help. The leading actors are superb; Bogart has style of a kind which has long vanished. He is the type of rogue to charm a woman off her feet. Bergman has an incredible, timeless beauty that is suited to the part. The supporting cast of German officers, corrupt French police, bar staff, various clientele and ne'er do wells are all excellent. The film is loaded with famous quotes: "here's looking at you kid", "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship", "of all the gin joints..."
and most famously, the oft misquoted "play it Sam". The "it" of the quote is "As time goes by", wonderfully sung by Dooley Wilson. This film is one of the most wonderful romances ever. Set in a more naive period, it can be enjoyed by all the family as an all time great.
A truly perfect movie, the 1942 Casablanca still wows viewers today, and for good reason. Its unique story of a love triangle set against terribly high stakes in the war against a monster is sophisticated instead of outlandish, intriguing instead of garish. Humphrey Bogart plays the allegedly apolitical club owner in unoccupied French territory that is nevertheless crawling with Nazis; Ingrid Bergman is the lover who mysteriously deserted him in Paris; and Paul Heinreid is her heroic, slightly bewildered husband. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Conrad Veidt are among what may be the best supporting cast in the history of Hollywood films. This is certainly among the most spirited and ennobling movies ever made.--Tom Keogh