Casablanca

from my 1st Ebert’s Great Movies Marathon, part 1 of 13

Data
Title: Casablanca
Year: 1942
Length: 102 minutes
Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein & Howard Koch, based on a play by Murray Burnett & Joan Alison
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
With: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine Lebeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinskey, Curt Bois
Music: Max Steiner (and non-original music)
Cinematography: Arthur Edeson
Editing: Owen Marks
Oscars: won (in 1944) for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay; nominated for Best Actor (Bogart), Best Supporting Actor (Rains), Best Cinematography (black-and-white), Best Score (dramatic or comedy) and Best Editing
I saw it: on video many times, most recently a couple days ago (have on DVD)
Synopsis: a wealthy, influential rogue in WWII Morocco refuses to take sides

My reaction
Concept:4/4 (Great)
Story:4/4 (Great)
Characters:4/4 (Great)
Dialog:4/4 (Great)
Pacing:4/4 (Great)
Cinematography:4/4 (Great)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:3/4 (Good) Bergman is great. The rest are too perfectly cast to not be good.
Music:4/4 (Great)
Subjective Rating: 9/10 (One of my favorites, 4/4 (Great)). It’s not possible to like movies and not love Casablanca. It just can’t be done.
Objective Rating (Average):3.8/4 (Great)

And, what’s Ebert got to say?
– “…who sacrifice love for a higher purpose. This is immensely appealing; the viewer is not only able to imagine winning the love of Humphrey Bogart or Ingrid Bergman, but unselfishly renouncing it…” Maybe. I don’t think so. We certainly do not see anyone win anybody’s love in the movie. We do see a lot of love between Isla and Laszlo. Rick is an emotionally immature jack-hole for most of the movie. And he’s smart enough to know he’s been a jack-hole, and that he’s not giving up anything with Ilsa apart from some sex and maybe a couple years of resentful relationship. It’s helping Laszlo at all, with or without Ilsa, that involves a sacrifice.
– “The plot, a trifle to hang the emotions on…” Um… no. Just no.
– “The richness of the supporting characters. . . set the moral stage for the decisions of the major characters.” Okay. But more importantly, they’re interesting and entertaining in themselves.
– “…Rains as the perhaps subtly bisexual police chief…” Cute.
– “It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it.” Agreed. I happened to have watched it three times in less than a year, and it still keeps getting better.

[update of a previous post – original is here]

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