Thoughts on “Casablanca”

So, as part of my new schedule I carved out an evening a week to watch the growing stack of movies that I had bought and never bothered to watch, as well as some that I wanted to rewatch. One of those was “Casablanca”, that I found for a good price in a store — it might have been a “Bestsellers” type store that closed and has now, no kidding, been replaced by a sock store — and figured that people rave about the movie and so it was probably time for me to watch it and see if it was as good as people say. So for my first run at a movie it seemed only appropriate to watch it.

Yeah, it’s as good as people say.

The movie, for the most part, is emotionally-charged and dramatic exposition. There’s very limited if any action and most of the movie is people talking about things. What is happening now. What happened in the past. What will or might happen. A movie like that could be boring, but Casablanca makes it work with great performances and interesting character interactions that keep us interested in what they’re saying and in finding out what happened and how it’s all going to work out … even if we already know the ending. The movie takes the time to establish that Rick is a cynic but also someone who deep down wants to help people — he constantly claims that he’ll stick his neck out for no one but people constantly point out that he is willing to do that at times, and the only case where he clearly doesn’t is one where the guy got himself in trouble and is someone Rick doesn’t care for either — which allows us to see his dilemma and yet completely understand how the movie ends. Even the police captain is presented as someone mostly amoral but whom we can see would be willing to ignore Rick’s actions and help him out at the end for various reasons. As all the character motivations work, we can simply enjoy the interactions between them and the rather minimal plot, which is there only to provide a reason for everyone to come together and to set-up the final character climax.

About the only thing I dislike about the movie are the musical numbers. I didn’t find the singer that great a one, and the musical numbers are okay at best. “As Time Goes By” works the best, but only because that’s a theme for the movie and effective as that.

I would definitely watch this movie again, and it’s made me wonder if I should look for other classics and try them out as well.


4 Responses to “Thoughts on “Casablanca””

  1. Tom Says:

    One of my favorite movies. It was inspired by the French film ‘Pepe le Moko’ and its remake ‘Algiers’. As for a recommendation? Try ‘The Third Man’. Roger Ebert said it was like the exhausted aftermath of Casablanca and for him embodied the romance of going to the movies. That last shot..superb.

  2. New Year Accomplishments Update | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] them in the future). It was a mix of movies I had never watched and ones that I had, as I watched “Casablanca”, “Jumanji”, “Paradise Hills”, “King Kong: Skull Island” (which […]

  3. “I Could Never Get Past the Title” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  I’ve developed a mild interest in watching some of the classic movies that I never got around to watching, and when I found this one on sale for a reasonable price […]

  4. Is it Worth Reading? | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] classics for the elements that made them classics, but for the ones I’ve done lately — including the first movie in “Casablanca” — it’s also worth looking past them as classics and assessing them as things that are […]

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