Posted on 12/14/09 01:25 PM
Even with its hokey gunshots and terrible kissing, One of the Greatest of All Time. A truly character driven movie with a story that takes those characters on a believable and emotional ride through the internal struggle of Humphrey Bogart's Rick.
Bogart shows his abilities by giving us the Two Ricks: Casblanca Rick all dour and smart ass remarks; and Paris Rick,who is carefree, happy and strangely naive. I truly believed that Paul Henried;s Victor Lazlo was a man driven by the deire to do more for his fellow man than for himself. Ingrid Bergman, to be honest, is the weakest of the main characters, but she radiates from the screen so strongly that I forgive her.
The supporting cast is one of the best of all time, and particularly for the era, just dynamite. Dooley Wilson, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lore have smaller, nuanced roles that help give the movie a believable backdrop of characters that transcends the lack of atmosphere. Conrad Veidt's Major Strasser is wonderful. A villain who you do not agree with, but you do not hate. He was engaging and meancing all in one fell swoop.
Claude Raines steals the show as Capt. Louis Renault. How could a womanizing, crooked, low life be so delightful. Perhaps it is a flaw in the movie, but he is so very good that it never registers that way.
And there is nothing like the bittersweet ending. Everyone gets away, but what about Rick's heart? We are left to wonder just what Ilsa wanted in the first place.
Pushing seventy, Casablanca is a film that stands the test of time. Not as technically worked as Citizan Kane, not as atmospheric as Gone With The Wind, it nonetheless deserves to be in the Pantheon of Movies everyone must see.
That being said, kids today often lose sight of the power of great performances and stories that, while timeless, come across as dated and hokey to those who lack the discernment to see beyond the black and white oldie and see a stunning acheivement.
As Time Goes By, I hope the Hollywood powers that be realize that some things should never be remade.
My favorite scene is when Strasser interviews Rick. The major hands Rick the dossier the nazi's have put together on him. Rick looks over it and says "Are my eyes really brown?"