What makes Casablanca an essential WWII movie?
Although it doesn't dwell much on France's situation after being conquered by Germany, it does convey the uneasy plight of "unoccupied" Vichy France and French Morocco. The Moroccan city of Casablanca is represented as a messy and wild place where anything can happen, as confirmed by such dialog as "human life is cheap in Casablanca" and "no one is supposed to sleep well in Casablanca." Many characters in the movie feel trapped in Casablanca which they liken to a prison, an idea expressed by a character who says with a desperate sigh, "I will never get out of here, I'll die in Casablanca." The city presents a threatening peril for many of the characters of the movie whose ultimate goal is to leave for Lisbon in order to reach the secure land of America.
That doesn't exactly qualify this as an "essential" WWII movie, but once you factor into the equation the fact that it is one of the most enduring films of all time with more famous quotable lines in it than any other, it certainly belongs in anyone's library.
A few of the famous lines from Casablanca...
- "Here's looking at you, kid."
- "Round up the usual suspects."
- "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
- "...you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
- "We'll always have Paris."
- Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- "Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake." (often misquoted as "Play it again, Sam")
Casablanca: easy to enter, but much harder to leave, especially if you're wanted by the Nazis. Such a man is Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), whose only hope is Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a cynical American who sticks his neck out for no one, especially Victor's wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), the ex-lover who broke his heart. Ilsa offers herself in exchange for Laszlo's transport out of the country and bitter Rick must decide what counts more - personal happiness or countless lives hanging in the balance.
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
Related Scanning WWII dates...
- 25 May 42: Warner Brothers Studios begins filming the movie Casablanca
- 26 Nov 42: The Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman film Casablanca premieres in New York
- 23 Jan 43: The film Casablanca is released to the public
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