Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All time #5 film. Casablanca

If there ever was a classic love story made by Hollywood, this is it.

For the people who have never seen the film and want to know the plot of the film then please click here.

For a love story to work, you must have a great man and a greater lady. In this film we are given Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). Ricks story is that he is an American Ex-Pat, who owns and operates "Rick's Café Américain", an upscale nightclub and gambling den that attracts a mixed base of customers of Vichy French and Nazi officials, refugees and thieves.

Ilsa Lund fell in love with Rick in Paris; she believed that her husband (Victor Laszlo) had been killed while trying to escape from a Nazi concentration camp. Later, with the German army on the verge of capturing Paris, she learned that he was alive and in hiding. She does not meet Rick on the last train out of Paris and she goes to take care of her husband.

One of the greatest lines in film history set up the reunion of Rick and Ilsa

Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.
Sam: [lying] I don't know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
Sam: [lying] Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Ilsa. I'm a little rusty on it.
Ilsa: I'll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum...
[Sam begins playing]
Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.
Sam: [singing] You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh / The fundamental things apply / As time goes by. / And when two lovers woo, / They still say, "I love you" / On that you can rely / No matter what the future brings-...
Rick: [rushing up] Sam, I thought I told you never to play-...
[Sees Ilsa. Sam closes the piano and rolls it away)

The look on Rick's face when he sees her, later in the movie leads to this classic line.

Rick: Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.

This film is filled with classic lines that have been incorporated into all walks of US Entertainment industry. The 2 speeches above have been used in countless TV and films since their introduction back in 1942.

What I have always found interesting about this film is that both of the main stars (Bogart and Bergman) both wanted to be released from their contracts for this film. They both thought that the film was bad and that it could have hurt their Hollywood careers.

The film was shot in a fast mode to get it to the theaters asap. Neither of the main start wanted to be in the film. The film was based on a, then-unproduced play, Everybody Comes to Rick's. Nobody had any real hopes for the film. With all of this it becomes one of, if not the, classic loves story.

This film has a love triangle,(Rick,Ilsa and Victor) For those who have read my past work, I have usually complained about these. But in this rare case, this is what makes the film work.

Ilsa thinks that Victor is dead and, in the most romantic city in the world, Paris, she meets this dashing American who sweeps her off her feet. She feels love again, she feels alive again. She tells her new love that they will leave Paris together but she never shows up for the last train of out Paris. Rick has no clue what happened and blames himself. His love is gone and all that is left is a man who hates life.

The film is a man’s journey toward love and in the end forgiveness for himself. He knows what he must do and it not easy but he does it, he lets the love of his life go.

(In 1987, a specially re-edited version prepared by Joao Luiz Albuquerque was shown at the Rio Film Festival. This version had the ending changed (Ingrid Bergman does not take the plane and goes back in Bogey's arms).

So if you want a happy or a sad film, then you can get both endings with this classic film.

Please see the film when you get the chance.

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