“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
There are so many immortal words (do words die?) from ‘Casablanca,’ that it’s hard to pick just one phrase to remember. On top of that, it’s hard to decide where to begin writing about a film that has so many different things going well for it. But I guess I wouldn’t be much of a (self-appointed) critic if I didn’t try. So here goes.
Well for starters, there are the aforementioned classic lines. In fact, ‘Casablanca’ is one of the better scripts you will ever see, and not just because of some of the lines. The conditions in the city of Casablanca create a complex web of varying interests. It’s the middle of WWII, and the city is a hub for people trying to escape Nazi imprisonment. So naturally, it’s a place of interest for the Nazis as well. At the center of it all is Rick (Humphrey Bogart), a local bar owner. He has to play a very difficult game; he wants to help who he can but can’t overplay his hand for fear of retribution from the other side. As if that wasn’t complicated enough, in walks Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), a former flame of Rick’s, with her husband Victor (Paul Henreid), a leader of the French underground resistance. Add in to that a few other characters of varying interests and you have quite the powder keg.
Obviously, in order to create so many characters with gray areas of national and personal interests, you need a cast to match. As you might imagine, everyone is game. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains each give career-defining roles. (For anyone remotely knowledgeable about the so-called golden age of Hollywood, that’s saying a lot.) Each character is torn between personal interests and greater ones. The ending is just as staggering as it is unforgettable. In a good way.+4