Friday, September 3, 2010

1943: Casablanca

Oh, where to begin?  This film has become so ingrained in American culture that many of the lines are familiar: here's looking at you, kid; play it, Sam; of all the gin joints in all the world, she walks into mine; this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship - to name a few.  The relationship between Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund is considered one of the greatest onscreen romances of all time, despite the fact that (gasp!) they don't end up together!

While this film is probably most well-known for its famous lovers, there is actually a lot more to it than that.  Every minor character is intriguing, every plot twist thought-provoking.  The soundtrack is perfect, and the settings - particularly the contrast between Paris and Casablanca - greatly add to the film as well.  The writing is witty and clever (despite a few cheesy lines), and obviously full of catchphrases. The casting is almost too good to mention.  All of the performances are magnificent, and I can't see anyone else in any of the roles.

Though the film is dated by its World War II setting, its themes of love and patriotism still strike a chord with audiences today.  This is the epitome of a timeless classic, so it's appropriate that its theme song is "As Time Goes By."  If it seems like I'm praising it excessively, it's probably because I am, but in my opinion it deserves all the praise it can get.  The first time I saw this film I didn't fully appreciate it, but every time I've watched it since - and I believe this was my 6th time - I've noticed something new.  There are few movies that I like more every time I watch them, and this is definitely one, which is perhaps why I am praising it so profusely.  But seriously, even if it's not your kind of movie and even if you don't like it, you should watch it anyway just to improve your cultural literacy.

Next up: Going My Way

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