Casablanca – An masterpiece of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Casablanca, an masterpiece, Hollywood’s Golden Age statement on love and romance. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman shine in their only screen pairing. On the film’s 50th anniversary, the Los Angeles Times called Casablanca‘s great strength “the purity of its Golden Age Hollywoodness”.

Romance, intrigue, mystery

Casablanca is a 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz. The film stars Humhrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. One of the most beloved American films captivating wartime adventure of romance and intrigue. Bogart is wonderful as the mysterious café owner with a past, set up in the nightclub business with his longtime friend and piano player, Sam (Dooley Wilson). As we meet his employees, we see Rick’s not quite the cynic he pretends to be. The emotional Russian bartender, the polished French croupier, the grandfatherly German waiter and Sam at the keyboard make Rick’s café the only place to be.

His heaven is disrupted when his one-time love Ilsa, the luminous Ingrid Bergman, arrives in the company of a world-renowned resistance leader Victor Laszlo, Paul Henreid. She’s looking for safe passage, first from Rick, who believes she jilted him for Laszlo, and then from the marvelously sinister Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari, owner of the rival Blue Parrot club.

Bogart and Bergman shine in their only screen pairing

Bogart and Bergman shine in their only screen pairing, but it’s the flawless direction and ensemble cast that make this movie. With a few spare lines of dialog, a glimpsed gesture, a few moments on screen, all the characters are fully sketched, and Rick’s café seems very real.

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Casablanca won three Academy Awards

Production expected it to be anything out of the ordinary. It was just one hundred of pictures produced by Hollywood every year. Casablanca had its world premiere on November 26, 1942 in New York City. Casablanca won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, its lead character, memoreable lines and pervasive theme song have all become iconic. The film has consistently ranked near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.

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The third most successful of Warners’ wartime movies

The film has grown in popularity. Murray Burnett called it “true yesterday, true today, true tomorrow”. By 1955, the film had brought in $6.8 million, making it the third most successful of Warners’ wartime movies (behind Shine On, Harvest Moon and This is the Army). By 1977, Casablanca was the most frequently broadcast film on American television.

The purity of its Golden Age Hollywoodness

On the film’s 50th anniversary, the Los Angeles Times called Casablanca‘s great strength “the purity of its Golden Age Hollywoodness and the enduring craftsmanship of its resonantly hokey dialogue”. Bob Strauss wrote in the newspaper that the film achieved a “near-perfect entertainment balance” of comedy, romance, and suspense.

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Casablanca – on the lists of the greatest films of all time

According to Roger Ebert, Casablanca is “probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including Citizen Kane” because of its wider appeal. Ebert opined that Citizen Kane is generally considered to be a “greater” film but Casablanca is more loved.

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Ebert said the film was popular because “the people in it are all so good” and that it was “a wonderful gem”. As the Resistance hero, Laszlo is ostensibly the most noble, although he is so stiff that he is hard to like. The other characters, in Behlmer’s words, are “not cut and dried” and come into their goodness in the course of the film. 

Source: Classicfilm; Casablanca film; YouTube;

 

 

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