Casablanca...I finally saw it.

My grandfather loaned me his DVD copy last week and I finally got a chance to see this 60 year old film.

My goodness, what a series of cliches! “Here’s looking at you kid,” “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”
I mean, what a hack job. They had a black piano player named Sam! It was shot in black and white! It’s like they stole these ideas from Screenwriting 101 class.

OK, in all seriousness, I liked this movie, though I thought it had even more potential than what came across on screen. I loved Humphrey Bogart. He was absolutely perfect for this role as he oozed coolness and self confidence all across the screen. I don’t watch all that many old films, but I’ve also seen him in the African Queen and he’s great there too.
Captain Louis Renault was wonderful. Despite being a corrupt officer, willing to allign himself with whomever pays him the most money, he still manages to come out as a good guy. “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” That made me laugh out loud.

But, I’m sorry, I really didn’t like Ingrid Bergman, her character, or the relationship she had with Rick. She plays a weak female, unable to confront either of the men she loves in the past or in the present. She nearly ends up hurting both of them because she is unable to come clean with her true feelings. What does Rick see in her anyway? She might have been fun as a “no questions asked” Paris fling, but why does Rick end up loving her? What is it about her character that would make a man like Rick fall that madly in love in so short a time? The screenplay never told us and Bergman never showed us.
I’m left to believe that it was love for the sake of the movie, but that can’t be right, can it? This is an all time classic love story. #7 on the IMDB list. What is it I’m missing about this relationship that everyone else gets or at least accepts?

I think part of my problem might have come from the fact that I knew the ending well before I saw the movie. I knew he doesn’t get her, that he lets her go in true moment of self sacrifice. I never questioned who would get the girl and perhaps that marred my enjoyment of the film, but that doesn’t change my question of why he was faced with this dillema in the first place. Just let her go and problem solved.

Dude, she’s Ingrid Bergman! Hell, I may be gay, but I ain’t blind–the woman was a luminous beauty, like moonlight on sand.

Ummm, actually…I’m with Ender, except I’ll go one step further. I had a difficult time following the movie because every single woman on the screen looked alike to me. I saw no luminous beauty that differentiated one woman from all of the rest. I kept poking my mother and saying “Is that Ingrid Bergman?”…“OK, now is that her?”…“Wait, maybe this is her!”

Feh. Utterly average, IMO.

She is a bit different in the Paris flashback then she is the club.

Do you see the allegory for the US entering the WWII?

I wondered about that too, but the second or third or twelfth time I watched it, I got the impression that they had more than just a fling in Paris.

Or maybe it’s because in those days, in books and movies, a sexual relationship was not entered into lightly. You just didn’t walk away from someone that you slept with – sex implied love, and love forever. Unless one of you was a slut or a sex fiend.

I think it was a Fredric Brown story, where the main characters (who barely knew each other) slept together once and the next day it was “darling” this and “darling” that and they were both thinking marriage. :eek:

It will always be a favorite. I really like old movies, because they offer us a peek at the past-in the case of CASABLANCA, we get to see the world of the early 1940’s-atime so remote from most of us, it may as well be Victorian England! What amazes me:
-people were so well dressed back then! Enery body in the nightclub wore formal clothes, and the men’s ties were tied just right!
-people were more polite
-answering the telephone was a formal exercise
-people drank a LOT in those daya-an evening at RICK’S probably included several bottles of champaign!
I wonder if the food at Rick’s was any good-I don’t recall seing anybody having dinner.
And, Rick and his black piano player (the late Dooley Wilson) appeard to have been good friends-something I didn’t think was possible for a black and a white man in the 1940’s.

Well… Here’s looking at you, kid!

Me too, and I tend to get carried away and wonder what happened, why things have changed so much.

It’s cool that you picked out those particular things – I hadn’t even thought of the changes in telephone manners. Any phone call used to be a big deal, and long distance was something very special.

Rick loves her because she’s young, vibrant, and idealistic–all the things that Rick is not. He’s a crusty old cynical gy.

If you want more of an explanation than that, you’re not going to have much fun with relationships in fiction. I mean, what the hell did Romeo see in Juliet?

For Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, I would have gone to war and taken on the entire Gestapo in Casablanca armed with nothing more than a Swiss army knife.

Well goodness, don’t even get me started on Romeo and Juliet. I consider that play one of his worst specifically because the relationship is so phony.

Let’s take another movie I recently saw for the first time: Swingers. Spoiler ahead When Jon Favreau meets Heather Graham, I knew there was a connection there. From the way the characters acted towards each other, the dance on the dance floor, to their quirks, idiosyncrasies, and overall outlook on life, I could tell that they would be a great couple to be with. Heather Graham had, what? 10 minutes of screen time at the most? Meanwhile Ingrid and Humphrey had over an hour and a half to convince us of a relationship and I didn’t buy it.

AuntiePam, if a sexual relationship isn’t entered into lightly, why did they make a big deal pointing out that they knew nothing about each other? They weren’t allowed to ask each other questions about their past and, from this, I guess we’re to infer that they’re soulmates.

Zebra, either I didn’t catch it or it’s not coming to me now. What allegory?

I will say I was impressed with the political struggles between the Americans, the French, and the Germans. In a movie made in the heart of WWII, I think it was an interesting choice to make the Germans the bad guys…but not too bad. They had redeaming qualities. It would have been so easy to portray the Nazis as monsters for propoganda purposes and yet they don’t. It made them more real, I think.

Don’t make me start thinking about their relationship – it’ll ruin the movie.

Okay then. Bogie is a pitiful romantic and Ingrid is a slut, and their liaison was blown all out of proportion to further the plot. How’s that?

Do me a favor and don’t watch Sunset Boulevard and tell me that Gloria Swanson didn’t really fall in love with Bill Holden, okay?


<< My goodness, what a series of cliches! >>

Same problem I have reading Shakespeare… he writes all in cliche.

wumpus nailed the relationship perfectly. And the reason that Rick and Ilsa agreed to ask no questions about the past is because both of them have had rather horrific things happen to them in the past (what happened to Rick, we never know) and neither one of them is ready at the moment to spoil the happiness that they’ve just found by bringing up old memories.

Ilse is the quietly sexy beauty whom one adores at a distance – and if vouchsafed the chance to become intimate with, steals one’s heart. Bergman’s performance was very subtle in this regard, and it took me several years after I first saw the movie to realize it – I had the same initial reaction as Ender – what’s she got, besides being gorgeous, to provoke that reaction in the male characters?

But at bottom, it’s the subtlety in Bogart’s role that “makes” the movie – the overtly hard-bitten, cynical man who is at rock bottom a romantic. He’s not so much in love with Ilse as he is in love with his romantic feelings towards her. And that, at rock bottom, is what moves him to the sacrifice he makes.

What Polycarp said. But a bit more. When they were in Paris, Rick was not quite the hard-hearted cynic he has become in Casablanca. There was a spark in him, maybe a bit more, that Ilsa kindled and made come alive. Then she mysteriously left and he became the Rick that we meet in Rick’s All-American Cafe.

Because of that moment that was Paris - one that transcends all logic, and the fragility that Ilsa manifests plus the war that seems to be seeking her out, he can’t help but be obsessed with her. What cynical, rough-edged, ex-pat could not.

EnderW, that Ilsa almost screwed up all three of their lives is, as you suggest, totally stupid. But let me suggest, that is why it is as real as it is. Many of the times I have fallen in love in my checkered past, illogically enough, lives got turned upside down. That’s the nature of the beast.

I think many like the film because we would like to think that given similar circumstances, we would make the same decisions Rick and Ilsa make (although we doubt we would).



Rick is America. He wants to remain neutral in the European conflict. Even though French, English and Sweedish people all plead with him to help and he even has a history of running guns and such he wants to stay out of it. When the Nazis grab the French man the English man says “I hope you’ll be more helpful when they come for me” to which Rick replies “I stick my neck out for nobody”. Finally the Nazis get rowdy in his bar (the American Cafe) he puts his foot down, tells the band to play the French National Anthem and starts to kick Nazi butt.

Iilsa went back to Laslo when she found out he was still alive for the cause. Remember Bogart says that their feelings don’t amount to a hill of beans?

Ilsa annoys me so much. She’s a weak person, constantly requiring a Big Strong Man to tell her what to do. I frequently want to reach through the screen, grab her by the collar and yell :“CAN YOU PLEASE THINK FOR YOURSELF JUST ONCE?!?!”

That being said, because Claude Rains is hilarious and Humphrey Bogart was the sexiest ugly man ever to walk the face of the planet, (Though I prefer him in To Have and Have Not) I do adore Casablanca.

You’re underestimating Ilsa. She left Rick and has stuck by Victor. Seeing Rich again re-kindles feelings she felt were long dead, but in the end she again leaves Rick to support Victor, a man who is engaged in very dangerous, but very important work.