Not a Movie Snob - Casablanca

Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 05:00 PM

"Damn those husband's getting in the way of true love"

Casablanca (1942)

The main problem I have with Casablanca is that Ilsa is a skank. First she's married, then thinks her husband's dead so she hooks up with Rick. Okay fine, she thought her husband was dead, so no foul play, technically anyway, you do get the sense her husband's body didn't have time to cool before she moved in on this Rick guy.

Then her husband is revealed to be alive still and she leaves Rick, appropriately very melodramatically, standing on a train platform in the rain waiting for the girl that won't show. Okay good, she did the right thing and went back to her husband. Then she and her husband show up at Rick's place in Casablanca and after a little cat and mouse between her and Rick, she's practically wrapping her legs around him in a fit of desire. Meanwhile her husband, the guy who's risked his life time and time again to get her from Nazi occupied places to the United States, is back at the hotel. I mean, if Ilsa had lingering feelings for Rick, the moment she realized who's bar it was that she was in, she should have grabbed her husband and ran the hell out of there.

The point I'm trying to make here is that, for a movie that has been touted time and again as a masterpiece of the cinema and the most romantic movie of all time, Ilsa's being a harlot pretty much obliterates any chance of a romantic emotional connection and what you have left is a (great) story of a certain set of papers that will grant anyone who is in possession of them access to America and away from the Nazi's and the war that rages on on European soil.

I will say Bogart is fantastic, as is Claude Rains, Peter Lorre, Dooley Wilson (whose Sam is by far the most likeable and entertaining thing about the movie) and Ingrid Bergman, despite her character being a douche. The aforementioned story involving the transportation papers is great, the look of the film is pretty much the definition of the term 'silver screen' and not just because it's in black and white. And the ending, again not as romantic as most film historians would have you believe, is touching on Rick's part and an ending worthy of the whole of the film.

Casablanca is fluff, but the kind of fluff that is handled in such a way that the fluff becomes its charm, that takes talent, behind and in front of the camera. It's just too bad Hollywood didn't have more respect for the sanctity of marriage even back in the 1940's.

Rating: **** 



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