Classic Hollywood. CASABLANCA. Yareah Review by Dewey Edward Chester.
Casablanca is an American romantic drama, Adapted from Murray Burnett and Joan Alison’s unproduced stage play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s. It stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid.
Set moments before Pearl Harbor, it focuses on a man torn between love for a woman, or helping her ‘Freedom-fighter’ husband escape Nazi Officials.
Filming began on May 25, 1942 and was shot entirely at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank. Although Casablanca was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be out of the ordinary. It was simply one of hundreds of pictures produced in Hollywood that year.
Casablanca had its premier on November 26, 1942 in New York City and won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Arguably, it has become the greatest Hollywood motion-picture ever produced. The memorable lines and persuasive theme song are the most iconic in the world:
1. “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
2. “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’ ”
3. “Round up the usual suspects.”
4. “We’ll always have Paris.”
5. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
6. “Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Particular attention was paid to photographing Ingrid Bergman. She was shot with softening gauze filters and catch lights to make her eyes sparkle; the whole effect was designed to make her face seem ineffably sad, tender and nostalgic.
The drama unfolds when American expatriate, Rick Blaine, is the proprietor of an upscale nightclub in Casablanca. “Rick’s Café Americain” attracts a varied clientele: French, Italian, Nazi Officials—-and refugees desperate to reach the still neutral United States.
Rick professes ignorance of these political matters, but he sold guns to Ethiopia during its war with Italy and fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.
Ugarte, a petty crook shows up in the club and boasts to Rick his possession of “Letters of Transit” obtained by murdering German Couriers. The letters will allow the bearer to travel freely around German-controlled Europe and are priceless to any refugee stranded in Casablanca.
Ugarte plans to sell them at Rick’s club that night, but under suspicion, he’s arrested by French Police Captain, Louis Renault, an unabashedly corrupt Official. Ugarte dies in custody without revealing he has given the priceless Letters to Rick.
Norwegian Ilsa Lund, Rick’s former lover, walks into the Café Americain and spots his pianist, Sam: “Play ‘As Time Goes By,’” she implores.
Startled when the song begins, Rick storms over, furious his order never to play that song has been disobeyed. He sees Ilsa, accompanied by her husband, Victor Laszlo, a renowned Freedom-Fighter. The couple need “Letters-of-Transit” to escape Casablanca before Nazi Officials can capture them.
Laszlo makes an inquiry, but Rick refuses to sell at any price, telling him to ask his wife the reason.
That night, Ilsa confronts Rick in a deserted café. When he still refuses to sell, she threatens him with a gun, and then confesses she still loves him.
She explains the reason she abandoned him in Paris two years prior, was because she learned her husband had not died in war, but injured. She left Rick without explaining, to tend to her ill husband.
When hearing this, Rick’s bitterness dissolves. He agrees to give her the letters.
Laszlo, aware of their love, unselfishly tries to convince Rick to use the letters to take his wife to safety.
When Nazi collaborator, Captain Louis Renault, arrests Laszlo on suspicion, Rick bribes him by offering up a bigger crime against Laszlo—–possession of “Letters-of-Transit.”
To allay Renault’s suspicions, Rick explains he and Ilsa will use the letters to travel to America, later. But when Renault goes to arrest Laszlo, as arranged, Rick double-crosses him at gunpoint, allowing Laszlo’s escape.
At the very last moment Rick also double-crosses Ilsa and makes her board the plane with her husband, nobly explaining she would regret it if she stayed with him in Casablanca: “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”
A Nazi Official, tipped off by Renault, drives up, alone. Rick kills him when he tries to stop the escape.
More police arrive; Renault pauses, then tells them to go and “round up the usual suspects.”
Renault then surprisingly suggests to Rick they join the Free French in Brazzaville, together. And as they walk away into the fog, Rick responds, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”