Well, I just saw Casablanca for the first time. I was first expecting the movie to be about a white mansion in Mexico or Spain because of the name; I didn’t even think of the country. I was obviously mistaken but very impressed with the movie. Before the movie started, a few of us talked about what it was about this movie that made it special. F John mentioned how this movie was a great one, but it seemed to hold something special for girls. I wanted to see if that was true, and if so, find what that something extra was.
Even as movie that was made in 1942, Casablanca was a superb movie. It had action, romance, comedy, and suspense; all qualities that I adore in a movie. Compared with The Public Enemy, which we watched last week, the advancements made in the film business within those eleven years is unbelievable. We went from scratchy sound and picture, still cameras, and the feeling of watching a play instead of a movie to advanced lighting, sound, and picture, moving cameras, and a movie-like atmosphere. The quality difference between these two movies is like the quality difference between the first three Star Wars movies and the three most recently made.
The movie quality isn’t what made Casablanca such a classic, though. It is the story and the characters. I never realized how many lines had been taken from this movie and into our culture; lines such as “Here’s looking at you, kid,” and “I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” I nearly laughed out loud when the scene where Ilsa is found in Rick’s room trying to get the papers because that is the very scene used in the anti DVD pirating ads. So, I’ve been introduced to some parts of Casablanca without even knowing it! Apparently, this movie is a big deal; it is cool.
So how about Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick; what makes him so cool? When we are first introduced to Rick, we are already drawn to him. Running his club with a suave aura, Rick seems mysterious, together, and independent. He seems to know everyone and everything that is happening, but he is also not very involved. He is the man behind the curtain watching things go and pulling the right strings. Through the movie, it seems that Rick grows in character, going from a man who “sticks his neck out for nobody” to someone who risks everything to see that Ilsa and Victor get to America. A drastic change! I don’t think he experiences this change during the movie, though. I believe he was always that character who would secretly help others. Even in the beginning, when he didn’t drink with customers or help anyone, he agrees to hold Ugarte’s high-clearance papers which he stole from two German officers after killing them. Rick may have let Ugarte get caught, but he also kept the papers and didn’t sell them immediately after for his own profit. If he was found in possession of those papers, Rick could get into serious trouble. As the movie continues, we see Rick help peole out, such as letting that family win in gambling so they could have enough money to get to America. So, I don’t think that Rick develops through the movie; I think that he just becomes more apparent as a “romantic and sympathizer,” something completely against how he tries to appear. This secret softness and heart for the underdog, along with his confidence and straightforwardness, is what makes Rick, and Bogard, so cool.