Of all the gin joints...

One of the many unforgettable moments in Casablanca is the iconic line:

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

That is exactly as Bogart delivered it. He follows the Rule of Three, which means the structure of three phrases commenced by the word “all”, each time increasing in generality from gin joints to world, adds a certain impact to the line.

On the other hand, if he had delivered it without the last “all” in front of “the world”, the line would have been a perfect haiku.

Of all the gin joints
In all the towns in the world
She walks into mine.

That would have been at a slight cost to the Rule of Three thing he had going, but for mine the subtle resonances of the haiku would have improved it. I think “all the towns in the world” has at least as much impact as actively repeating the third “all” does.

What say you about the poetics of the line?

If, instead, he had held on to the increasing generality and said:

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, in all the universes (looks into camera), she walks into mine.

He would have blown. our. minds. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the “Rule of Three” version works a bit better; it gives the line increasing emphasis as the line progresses (all All ALL).

How would Shakespeare have written it?

Good question, but hardly fair since he wouldn’t have known of the haiku. He was aware, of course, of the power of the rule of three (“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…”), but he was also aware of the paradox of “liberating constraint” provided by rigid forms such as the sonnet.

I suspect had he known of the haiku, and realised that the erasure of one redundant word would create one, he would have done so. The reason is that the Rule of Three is a relatively trite and in a sense dilute poetic device (there are also poetical Rules of Two, and One, albeit that are perhaps less common and achieve different effects), whereas achieving something as relatively complex as a haiku would have been irresistible.

I am not a poet or a lyricist, but to me:

Of all the gin joints
In all the towns
In all the world

simply has (to me) a better rhythm than

Of all the gin joints
In all the towns
In the world

But perhaps someone who’s more familiar with iambic, trochaic and all those other terms I learned in high school and immediately forgot can chime in.

I think the three “alls” provides a nice rhythm. I’m not a big fan of haiku, which seem forced and artificial to me. And I think “all the world” implies a much broader scope than simply “the world”, and resonates even more when the world is divided by war.

Does Haiku really exist outside of Japanese culture and language? Also, Rick was drunk when he said it and was probably following the rule of four fifths of a quart. I like his line when Ilsa walks in shortly after he knocks the empty bottle over, “I saved my first drink to have with you.”

I kind of suck at iambic pentameter, but I think he would have kept the third all. However, I think “gin joints” throws the rhythm off. It’s supposed to go da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM. So:

of ALL the GIN joints IN all THE towns IN all THE world

…is just really awkward. You’re hitting the emphasis on all the wrong words. Substituting “bars” for “gin joints” works better:

of ALL the BARS in ALL the TOWNS in THE world

…up until that last syllable, which is only half an iamb, making the sentence end on an awkward downbeat. But this…

of ALL the BARS in ALL the TOWNS in ALL the WORLD

…works pretty well.

Just be careful if you walk into a djinn joint.

You should have heard it in the original Klingon.

[Stage direction - Don earring, pick up quill] :

“Forsooth, of all the taverns in all the urbicolous locales in all this fair land… Yon strumpet parades into mine.”

[Stage direction - Stab all occupants of the bar to death with the quill, drink poisoned gin, expire.]

Into my tavern has she come
When another would have done as well
Accursed gods, why was this so?

Of course there is no right answer to this, but part of my preference for the haiku version is that it is a better match for the mood of the speech. Haiku does downbeat melancholy very well, whereas the triplet form lends itself to a sort of rising crescendo that hints more at anger. Perhaps this makes Bogart’s melancholy more complex, but for me the paradoxical lengthening of the phrase in the haiku version in all the towns in the world lends itself naturally to a falling cadence which amplifies his misery. (The paradoxical lengthening I am talking about is when the actual shortening of the text by elimination of the third “all” forces the last two elements of the triplet to merge into one.)

I think he should have said

From Oslo there was once a girl
Who of all the towns in the worl’
'D and ev’ry gin joint
Should my own place appoint
To drink. It made my toupee curl.

On behalf of Shakespeare I must object. He rarely limits himself to “da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM”, and when he does it’s for comic effect. He often throws in extra syllables, or otherwise varies the rhythm, so the iconic sentence could fit into a Shakespearean iambic rhythm:

Of ALL the GIN joints in ALL the TOWNS in ALL the WORLD,
She WALKS into MINE.

The trouble is that the first line has six iambs, and the second has just two, so it’s not iambic pentameter, which has exactly five iambs per line – Shakespeare did rarely vary that by adding an iamb or having a short line, but it’s pretty rare, though he might have done it for dramatic effect in a case like this.

However, in the movie I do suspect that the iambic rhythm does add to the effectiveness of the line.

I agree with this scansion, although I’d scan it as:

in ALL the TOWNS
in ALL the WORLD
she WALKS in-to MINE.

Scansion isn’t a perfect science, though, but I would argue "JOINTS’ is at least a soft stress. I would also allow for interpreting a possible stress on “she,” but not really in the way it is delivered in the movie.

Anyhow, yeah, Shakespeare doesn’t keep perfect iambic pentameter. I really can’t think of any poet that keeps perfect meter through the poem–that would make it motonous and boring. The only poem I can think of off the top of my head that keeps perfect accentual syllabic meter throughout is Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,” which is written in iambic tetrameter. In my interpretation, the perfect, unwavering, lulling rhythm is there to underscore the tranquility of the scene.

As to the OP, I don’t like the rhythm of the haiku version. The original is, IMHO, far stronger.