Everyone Should See Casablanca   

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Crystal has problems sleeping through the night. I too get up occasionally. Usually when I do she will be lying on the couch in the living room watching TV. Inevitably some old movie will be on. I often make a joke about the TV being broken, since it is only showing black and white. I have known for a long time, that Crystal’s preference is well made older movies. She explained to me that she used to watch them with her mom. Her mom would get excited and tell Crystal about all of the well known actors and explain the movie plots as needed.

I have always liked that about Crystal. She has an old spirit. She knows most of the old actors and the best of the old movies. As a writer she is drawn to movies with good, well thought out plots and good character development. Sadly, today’s movies all too often fall short. While I’m not as hooked on old movies as she, I totally agree that Casablanca is on the must see list.

Crystal’s Corner

I watched Casablanca recently.  I think everyone should see this award winning movie.  I understand it better now than I have in the past.  It would be a good idea to have my daughters, and my grandchildren watch it with me.

Because of our memoir, 150 Years of Marriage, and interviews with our parents, I have learned a lot about WWII.  Also, I have read many memoirs and historical fiction books about WWII, France and the Resistance. I know some French history and took French in Jr. High school and High school.  I have also watched numerous movies about WWII – some true stories and some from novels that were made in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  Through these films, you get a better picture of what real life was like during and after the war.

There is so much history referred to in this movie. Casablanca is the major port in Morocco in what was, at the time, called French North Africa. During WW2, there was constant tension between the indigenous French government and occupying German troops.  So there were French officials and German officials running the place.  There was a concentration camp on the island as well.  Casablanca was a place people went because they were trying to leave France.  The transition papers are a major topic of conversations.  There is a black market where people went to trade for what they needed to leave.

Casablanca is a humorous and serious movie with many famous one liners and the music is from the time period.  At one point in the movie, in the restaurant (“Rick’s Café Américain”), the German soldiers sing a German song that is pro Hitler and the Third Reich and then the French man who is married to Ingrid Bergman stands up and goes by the band to sing the French national anthem.  The entire restaurant joins in because they are French.  This causes quite a stir and brings a lot of tension into the scene.  It is what makes this movie great and also important.

Of course, as with any great and timeless movie, the acting is amazing. Humphrey Bogart played Rick, the restaurant owner, and secretly, a gun runner.  Ingrid Bergman played Ilsa, Rick’s now married ex-lover, who wandered back into Rick’s life for mysterious reasons. Together, Bogart and Bergman demonstrate what scene chemistry is all about. The part of Sam (played by Dooley Wilson), who is Rick’s closest friend and ally, is brilliantly portrayed.  He has some funny parts and lines in the movie.  Claude Raines, Paul Henri, and others add significantly as the plot develops.

So if a great love story, told amidst the backdrop of war and espionage, isn’t your cup of tea, don’t see Casablanca. However, you will miss an amazingly written and acted movie.  If you are into Academy Awards, it won three, including Best Picture.  Furthermore, it is part of our culture, which is why we should be having our young people watch it, and show it in history classes at schools. The history teachers then could explain all the WWII references and cultural understanding of the film. It would sure be better than lectures, reading the history books and taking tests.


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