Movie Club: Casablanca

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're covering one of the most iconic and most quoted movies ever made, the 1940s classic Casablanca.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Watched it today. Not too much to say on it.
    I guess it's okay but I have seen many better movies.
    Overall I found the plot and characters very boring and uninteresting.
    This movie is pretty much only iconic/known for one line.
    I have no idea why this movie has gained the cult status it has compared.
    At least I watched it.

    I remember seeing this movie advertised way back on a VHS of Batman Returns or Home Alone. I am pretty sure it was Home Alone. It looked quite interesting in the trailers but overall must say I am quite disappointed with it. It really is over hyped.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I first saw this film 20yrs ago, my mum had got some classics on VHS including this. We watched it one new year's eve. It's a film you know going in has a massive amount of hype and mythos surrounding it, so naturally you can't help going into it with a feeling of "we'll see about that". So it's something you really have to watch a second time to fully appreciate it. I always say you should always give a film/series/book/album/whatever a second go, because first impressions can be unfair for so many reasons - you may be in the wrong place to appreciate it the first time, and you're certainly not going to notice every little nuance. Show me a person who trusts their first impressions to be fair and accurate all the time and I'll show you someone who's not to be trusted.

    Second time I saw it, it started to work its magic, and by the time I started buying DVDs in 2004, I loved it enough to get it soon after I got my first player. I remember showing it to my best friend, and he came up with a wonderful comment, about how he thought a lot of the lines sounded cliched but then realised this was the film that INVENTED these things in the first place, so technically that meant they weren't clichés at all!

    A good parallel to mention here is in When Harry Met Sally - at the start of the film Harry and Sally have wildly differing views of Casablanca, but over the years in which that story unfolds, they both end up crying over the ending.

    The pacing of this film is perfect - both fast and slow at once. It's almost 9min in that we see Bogart for the first time, and 24min when Bergman makes her first appearance, and not until 32min that they actually see each other for the first time. And yet not a frame is wasted in all that time, there's so many subtle details set up, so many story threads running through this.

    The cast are excellent, and knew they were making something special and it shows. Humphrey Bogart as Rick - the hero that we all like to think we'd be. He goes from apathetic, sticking his neck out for nobody, to caring enough to make the sacrifice necessary for good to triumph. He's the archetype for the modern movie hero. Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa, torn between her heart and her conscience, also plays it well. There's a case for saying Paul Henreid was a little stiff as Victor Laszlo, but it's not important enough to mar the film. Claude Rains manages to steal a few scenes as Captain Renault. Even the lower-billed actors like S. Z. Sakall and Dooley Wilson as Carl and Sam, and Joy Page as the young newlywed desperately seeking the money for her and her husband's visas, all have something important to contribute to the story.

    I spot something new in this film every time I see it. Joy Page's character's impassioned plea to Rick in the middle of the film about doing a bad thing for the benefit of someone who must remain ignorant was the thing that really caught my attention this time, she had to, um, "oblige" Captain Renault to get her visa, which she did for her husband, who she hopes will never find out. Given how taboo such a topic was in 1940s film, they get away with a lot of heavy implication, it's wartime, and she did what she had to for a greater good, and makes a nice parallel with the triangle Rick is in. It opens his eyes to the situation with Ilsa and Victor in a way that Ilsa herself could never have done.

    To say it's only known for one line is completely wrong. It's known for one misquote, the immortal "play it again Sam!" - which was never actually uttered in the movie - and for several actual lines. Rick's speech to Ilsa to get her on the plane is the stuff of legend, and full of lines that have become echoed in parodies ever since. "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship" is one of the most perfect final lines any movie has ever had. The number of times Rick says at the start "I stick my neck out for nobody" - before sticking his neck out at the end, and threatening Captain Renault with a gun pointed at his heart, the response "that is my least vulnerable spot" is pure gold. And of course, "round up the usual suspects" was the line that got the writers out of a jam when they were trying to think of how to keep Rick safe afterwards, and harks back nicely to the start of the film. Incidentally, this line was also indirectly responsible for the title of Bryan Singer's 1996 film "The Usual Suspects", another classic we've already covered here.

    One story about the making of the film that I particularly liked is that when it came to casting the film, they wanted Ingrid Bergman to play Ilsa, but she was under contract to a different studio at this point, and actors were generally under contract to specific studios back then, so producer Hal Wallis had to make David O. Selznick an offer. Selznick's response was one of the most fair-minded decisions I've ever known, he agreed to let them have Bergman for that if they would loan him Olivia De Havilland for a film their studio was making. I love it when people can reach fair conclusions like that in real life.

    This film is unquestionably one of the greatest ever made.
  4. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I will probably give it another watch sometime. Granted sometimes you have to be in the right mood etc to watch a film.
    But I doubt I will ever class it as one of the greatest movies ever made.
    Strange that you say a line from this movie inspired the title for The Usual Suspects as that was a film I really disliked.

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