Casablanca; or, Bogart is Cool.

Watching Casablanca again tonight on Turner Classic Movies.

While talking to Victor Laszlo in his office, Rick throws something with his right hand towards the table in the background. This is a ringing noise. What was it?

I’ve always thought it was his key. It’s his private rooms, certainly he locks up, and, of course, unlocks.

After my earlier fiasco re TCM, I stand ready to be corrected. :slight_smile:

You, sir, need a hat. :wink:

I just tossed the DVD in and reviewed the scene in question (just before the “La Marseilles” scene). It’s clearly not a key as Frank suggests; it’s something much smaller, like a paper clip, that Bogart is fiddling with while listening to Lazlo is rationalizing with him as to why he has to go to America. Bogart does a lot of fiddling with stuff and other naturalistic behaviors in his roles, so this isn’t particularly unique for him. Bogart cultivated cool while Steve McQueen was still in diapers, but the character of Rick is a total dupe in Casablanca, and gets played like a fiddle by that manipulative strumpet Ilsa. Curiously, I was watching The Caine Mutiny earlier today, in which Bogart plays a particularly uncool Captain Queeg.

Obligatory trivia note: Conrad Veidt, who played the contemptible Major Strasser in Casablanca, spent most of his short Hollywood career playing various cartoonish Nazis, even though he was feverently anti-Nazi, married a Jewish woman, and emmigrated from Germany because of the rise of fascism.


'plant got it in one: Bogart is cool. He might be my favorite actor ever, and it’s precisely because of that sense of cool.

-Marley, who has a hat almost exactly like the one in Johnny L.A.'s link (except it has a feather)

She doesn’t seem particularly manipulative when Rick gives the letters of transit to Laszlo.
Thank you for your reply. :slight_smile:

You, sir, have been gravely misinformed.


But only Bogey could be so cool doing it! :wink: And frankly, I can think of many worse things (most of my entire life, now that I think about it) than being played for a fool by Ingrid Bergman (or her daughter). That woman was ssssmmmmmoooooookin’!

One of my all time favorite movie scenes is in The Maltese Falcon where Bogey threatens to ball peen hammer a guy.

BTW, Bogey’s cigarette case holds two packs of smokes.

Got one. Still ain’t cool.

Casablanca is the epitome of cool films. Perfection in every frame.

I once read that Bogart was a great guy to hang out with unless he had had a few too many drinks. Then Bogart started to think he was Rick and he was insufferable.

Actually, I think that was the wife he was married to when he made Casablanca. (Friends said that they knew the party was over when she put her drink down, pointed at Bogey and said, “You. . .” at which point folks bolted for the door because they knew flying objects were coming.)

He tosses two items that direction. Before he tosses the first one, he is playing with something in his hands. He makes a twisting motion, as if separating something. My guess: toothpick or something similar, twisted or broken in half. Paperclip, maybe, though I don’t know what paperclips looked like in the early 1940s.

To figure that out, I just downloaded from Netflix. Wasn’t intending to watch the whole thing, but found myself again watching every bit of the movie from beginning to end. Still my favorite movie of all time. :cool:

But that’s exactly what she wants, and she gets it despite her past shabby treatment of Rick. All that teary soft-lens stuff just emphasizes her skill at manipulation. She even leaves Rick feeling like he’s made the noble sacrifice for her, while she heads onto the US with her influential husband, who will no doubt go onto a successful career as a diplomat, author, and lecturer. A more skilled long con grifter one can scarcely find.

Of all the major characters in the film, only Captain Renault is forthright and honest; when he shakes women (and perhaps men?) down for sex when they can’t afford to buy their way out of Casablanca, he lets them know what he expects, and he keeps his word. “He always has.”

Far from being the romantic, hopeful story that most people interpret, this is a deeply cynical film. I could go into greater depth, but that’s a topic for a different thread.


Mayo “Sluggy” Methot. She once held a gun on Bogart, and on another occasion allegedly stalked Lauren Bacall. She suffered from depression and alcoholism, and died alone in a hotel room in Portland in the early 'Fifties.


Horsepucky, Sir. Horsepucky!

Is this you? :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed-it is a great movie…but the plot is pretty stupid: Victor Lazlo escapes the Nazis-who want Capt. Renault to arrest him. Why don’t they just kill Lazlo? The "letters of transit " were signed by General DeGaulle-who was Degaulle in 1943? Why would a Vichy official care about letters signed by DeGaulle?
Rick is an enemy alien in Casablanca (the USA declared war in 1941)-why doesn’t Capt. Renault arrest him?
Major Strasser is Renault’s superior-why doen’t he just oder Lazlo’s immediate arrest?
Finall, the “Lisbon Plane”: wouldn’t Strasser just have the control tower order the plane back?
And…the final scene: a french officer is giving meteorological instructions to the cotrol tower “allo…radio tower…ceiling unlimited…”=what was this arrangement?
Of course, the lines are classic:
(Capt. Renault): “Major Strasser’s been shot-round up the usual suspects” :smiley:

Would it have been so hard for her to meet Rick and explain the situation (“My dead husband escaped from a concentration camp and…”) rather than send this shitty, completely vague note at the railway station that doesn’t explain anything? And notice how wherever she ends up she always manages to hook in with the most influential, financially secure male in evidence for the situation. In pre-invasion Paris, it’s Rick, the successful entrepreneur, soldier of fortune, and sometimes gunrunner; a valuable skill in wartime. Before and after, it’s Victor, the charismatic leader for whom people give fortunes and die. And she certainly seems to have every man–even the sated Captain Renault is taken with her, although he’s pragmatic enough to know that she regards him as just another lily pad .

Her calculated advance on Rick upstairs in the cafe–at first threatening to shoot him, then melting into his arms,“Oh, Rick…if you only know how much I loved you…how much I still love you…”–is all the evidence needed to demonstrate her deviousness. She knows Rick too well to expect him to toss Lazlo to the Nazi wolves, thus appealing past his libedo and straight into his inner desire to be the mature, utimately good-hearted man who will do the noble thing, albeit in a way that makes him believe that he’s being the better man. (We’ve already seen this; despite his cynicism and treatment of Yvonne, he tears up German checks, tosses Nazi collaborators out on their arse, and finances Bulgarian newlyweds to go to America.) It’s abmirably brilliant, but ultimately as manipulative as the antagonist in a David Mamet film.

She’s a nasty bit of work, far more so than Phyllis Dietrichson or Cora Smith, although Kathie Moffat might giver her a run for her money. She’s a real architect of manipulation, and Rick is just one of her many tools. I’ll take Anna from The Third Man over her on any day; she may be wrong about who she loves, but she’s devotedly wrong and not swayed by the easy path of getting her needs from an easily manipulated, clueless man.


They think they can eventually get information out of him.

The U.S. and Germany weren’t at war when Casablanca takes place. ‘It’s December, 1941. What time is it in New York?’

Could have to do with the supposed sovereignity of the Vichy government.

Strasser was dead. Before he was shot, he had a gun on him.

When filmmakers put aviation into their projects, they often get details wrong. My dad was in the FAA, and he would take weather observations. He was in Flight Service, and not in the control tower. The control tower is for controlling traffic. I don’t know how it was 70 years ago in a foreign country. Another error is that it was foggy, but the report is ‘ceiling unlimited’.