Thursday, May 20, 2010


And now for the most iconic film on my list. It took me some time to come up with these thoughts. Casablanca has become almost everyone’s favorite film. Still, I’m going to make some comments on it, as it’s my fifth favorite film.

When it was made, Casablanca was just another one of the films put out that year, but now everyone knows the snappy lines: “Everybody comes to Rick’s”, “Play it, Sam” (there was no again about it ever) and “Round up the usual suspects”. They’ve become a part of popular culture, but my interest came when Casablanca was still being shown as an afternoon matinee movie on television back in the 60s along with a lot of forgettable stuff on the same line-up. I don’t think I had ever heard about it; I just happened to see it in the guide and watched it with no expectations.

I was initially attracted to the character of Rick rather than the romance element. That’s how I saw myself in those days, the misunderstood loner who always lost out, but who kept on true to his code despite obstacles. In a way this is not a “love” story, but a story of right triumphing over “romance”.

There is a right above and beyond our emotions. That is a powerful message. It’s one that might not even have been put in the film were it made for the first time today. I wonder just who would have gotten on the Lisbon plane at the end? To do it any other way than what they did do it would have been to cheapen it into nothing.

Circumstances don’t change cases. The young Bulgarian girl who wanted to become a situational ethicist doing something bad so that it could ensure something good for someone she loved was shown to be wrong. All of her finer feeling of being so much older than her young husband would never have made her act good.

Sometimes, though, we innocently do wrong as Ilsa did in Paris with Rick when she thought her husband was dead. She wasn’t to blame for that, but she could not in the present time take it as an excuse for abdicating the right. Our past cannot force us to any wrong. Nothing gives such a license. In the end Rick decided for everyone and decided right. There were consequences to that choice, but he walked off the screen in peace and with a new mission in life.

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