102 Min. | Drama – Romance – War | December 1942
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Michael Curtiz
Staring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Casablanca Review: “Casablanca” remains Hollywood’s finest moment, a film that succeeds on such a vast scale not because of anything experimental or deliberately earthshaking in its design, but for the way it cohered to and reaffirmed the movie-making conventions of its day. Casablanca is the film that played by the rules while elevating the form, and remains the touchstone for those who talk about Hollywood’s greatness.
It’s the first week in December, 1941, and in the Vichy-controlled African port city of Casablanca, American ex-pat Rick Blaine runs a gin joint he calls “Rick’s Cafe Americaine.” Everybody comes to Rick’s, including thieves, spies, Nazis, partisans, and refugees trying to make their way to Lisbon and, eventually, America. Rick is a tough, sour kind of guy, but he’s still taken for a loop when fate hands him two sudden twists, a pair of unchallengeable exit visas, and a woman named Ilsa who left him broken-hearted in Paris and now needs him to help her and her resistance-leader husband escape.
“Casablanca” is a great romance, not only for being so supremely entertaining with its humor and realistic-though-exotic wartime excitement, but because it’s not the least bit mushy. Take the way Rick’s face literally breaks when he first sees Ilsa in his bar, or how he recalls the last time he saw her in Paris, “The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.” There’s a real human dimension to these people that makes us care for them and relate to them in a way that belies the passage of years. Overall, Casablanca is a great film.
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