Ah, Casablanca! I once spent an afternoon in this part of the world, and people kept mentioning this is the place Casablanca the film was based at. At the time I hadn’t seen it nor had I heard of it. Black and white love story? Pah, shove it up your pipe and keep walking! But as the years have gone by and I’ve softened to most genres of film, it was time to give Casablanca a chance. I don’t actually remember what the place was like when I visited, it was all just a fuzzy memory and a name to me.
Casablanca is a tale of love. Rick Baine (Humphrey Bogart) runs a bar in town called ‘Rick’s Cafe Americain’ but it hasn’t always been his job. He’d been involved with Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in Paris, an involvement that is love. Due to some of Rick’s previous engagements, he has to flee from the fascists leaving Ilsa behind. Now a touch cynical and trying to remain neutral on all fronts, Rick gets by with his bar. Until Ilsa walks back into his life. Only this time she’s brought another man, one who has the Nazis on his trail. A love triangle is formed and the story tests Rick on if he can reclaim his love or fight for the greater good by helping out Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) with the transit letters he needs to escape from the evil Nazis. Tough choice, especially for someone trying to remain neutral on all fronts.
Casablanca is still a great film today because of the great characters. Everyone has a bit of good within them from bar owner to police officer. They may try to hide it most of the time, but generally the heroes are all rather selfless and make you wish the world was more like this. Sure the Nazis are jerks, but Nazis be Nazis. The story isn’t the best story ever nor is the acting incredible, but you quickly get swept up in the beauty of it all. It shows how timeless movies can be. Black and white picture and dodgy special effects don’t break the immersion at all. All the smoke in the bar must lull you into it all, there always seems to be some smoke floating around in each scene.
Casablanca maybe a place I don’t remember, but the film is something I shall never forget.