Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Set in North Africa during the early days of World War II, Rick’s Café Américain is the cool place to hang out. Rick never drinks with his customers but observes the scenery. He’s acquaintances with the head of the French police, who govern unoccupied France in North Africa, Casablanca. Then Rick bends the rules when an old love appears with her husband.
Ilsa (Bergman) requests for Sam, the piano man, to play “As Time Goes By”. It’s a song Rick (Bogart) would recognize anywhere as it was their song in the days they were a couple in Paris. While in Paris, they agreed not to ask each other questions about their past and spent a time together in love. When the Nazi’s come to occupy France, Rick must leave because of some previous trouble he was in. Ilsa agrees to meet him at the train station before departure but she never shows up, leaving Rick to lose his trust in people.
The re-appearance of his past love troubles Rick as he doesn’t know the whole story why Ilsa left him. She and her husband are desperate to leave Casablanca, but exit visas are hard to obtain. Rick fortunately has these but is unwilling to give them up.
Casablanca is a classic, with many lines that have been told over and over again throughout the years. “Heres to looking at you, kid.” “Louis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” It’s another love story involving a woman in love with two men. The same basic story of romance is re-told hundreds more times over the next decades. The story line of Casablanca is what makes it different. It takes place during World War II and involves a couple trying to leave the country for safety. Not many movies these days revolve around that concept.
While I enjoyed the movie, I thought it deserved a “B” rating because it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. It had humor and romance, but the “who-does-she-really-love” game is not fun to figure out. The film focuses on Ilsa’s romance with Rick, but with her husband back in the picture, who does she really love? What could have made the movie stronger was a clearer conclusion, instead of it being a little rushed.
It’s still a movie worth seeing, and will probably always remain a classic must-watch.