The third movie on our AFI movie marathon was Casablanca, the 1942 romantic drama. It won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. We had seen this one before too, but it had been many years and it was great to revisit.
Casablanca tells this story of an American in Casablanca during World War II. His name is Rick and he runs a cafe in the city and caters to patrons waiting to obtain visas to leave the country and eventually travel to America. Rick’s former lover, Ilsa shows up with her husband, who is anti-German protester and Rick has to choose between love and doing the right thing. The film is full of memorable lines: “play it again, Sam,” “here’s looking at you kid” and “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” As Time Goes By is also a stunningly romantic song that has persisted in our culture because of its presence in the movie.
My husband and I had a bit of a debate about whether Rick was truly being altruistic or if he remained self-interested until the very end. I argued for altruistic. Why else would he give the letters of transit to Ilsa and her husband instead of using them for himself? He knew that he would be punished for helping Lazlo to escape. How did he expect to get out of that situation? It was only because of luck that the French official agreed to look the other way after he shot the German officer. The other question is whether Ilsa was playing Rick the entire time. The romantic in me believes that she truly loved him and was not just trying to gain access to the letters of transit.
I really enjoyed watching this again. Up next…Raging Bull.