Casablanca (1942)


2016.13: Casablanca (Blu-ray)

It’s really a crime against cinema that this film has remained on my to-watch list for so long. I bought it on Blu-ray back in 2013 (the receipt was slipped inside the case, as if I’d put it there to shame myself when eventually watching it years later). How I managed to miss ever watching it prior to 2013 though, on any one of its many tv showings over all the years before (or even afterwards, while the disc gathered dust on the shelf) will remain another mystery. Its strange how some such films slip through the net,  but in some ways it’s a good thing that such classics can still be discovered for the first time. I have to admit, this is a film that surpasses all expectations, it’s a wonderful film. Perfect even. Naturally it leaps into my list of fifty great films.

Naturally for a film as old as this one, and so well-known as this one, it is pointless describing the plot and anything positive I have to say about the film is utterly redundant. Surely all has been said. The script… goodness, the script is simply perfect, and somehow despite being set in 1941 hasn’t dated at all. It’s a genuine example of why a good script is the foundation of any good film. The film is perfectly directed and lovingly shot. The cast are perfect. Have used the word ‘perfect’ enough?

It’s one of those films that was made at just the right time, when just the right talent in front and behind the camera came together at just the right time. It’s a film that defies criticism, that seems perfectly formed- cinema magic, a timeless work of art. There’s not many films this good; masterpiece is an over-used term these days, especially regards films, but in this case it is more than justified, its essential.

cas2So anyway, now I can truly understand all the fuss. One thing I must just mention; Ingrid Bergman- she just glows. Her performance is just… priceless. The rest of the cast are no slouches; Bogart impresses, as does Claude Rains, but it is Bergman that steals the show for me. It’s a phenomenal performance from -incredibly- seventy-four years ago. That thought just makes me pause a moment. Seventy-four years ago. Good grief.

Thats the magic of movies I guess. Some moments, some performances. They are frozen in time forever, truly the nearest a human can get to immortality. In this film Bergman shines forever.

7 thoughts on “Casablanca (1942)

  1. I’ve seen this movie too many times to attempt recalling the number! It is a great one though and doesn’t lose anything on repeat viewings, one of the marks of a genuine classic.
    You’re right to talk about the perfection of the script, and I remember seeing a documentary on the BBC on screenwriting years ago. I can’t even remember who fronted it now – an American writer anyway – and he used this film as his example of how to write a movie, analyzing dissecting and referring back to it constantly.
    The last time I saw this was a few years ago (June 2013 or 2014) at an outdoor cinema screening here in Athens – a great setting and the crowd loved it.

    1. Watching Casablanca outdoors in the summer with a crowd of people sounds just wonderful. I’m incredibly jealous.

      And I would love to see that piece on screenwriting using Casablanca as an example of a perfect script, sounds like a fascinating doc. Maybe its on youtube, I’ll have to have a look.

  2. Ah, the old “receipt in the box” — many a time have I been subjected to its admonishment. Recently I was surprised to discover one that was far newer than I expected. That it was still almost two years old says more about my habits than anything else.

    Anyway, Casablanca — a certified classic indeed! It’s funny how some films seem to buckle under the pressure of their own acclaim, while others manage the seemingly impossible feat of not just living up to it, but exceeding it. Casablanca was one such film for me also. I realise now that it’s been roughly 10 years since I last (and first) saw it. It was a film I hadn’t seen for what felt like forever, and now a whole decade has slipped by since… I really should get round to revisiting it, because it’s more than merited.

  3. Pingback: In A Lonely Place (1950) – the ghost of 82

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