Casablanca (4/26/12)

CasablancaMovie One Hundred One

Behind Citizen Kane, Casablanca is seen by many to be the greatest movie ever made.

First off, if you haven’t seen Casablanca already, shame on you. It’s a must-see film. Casablanca is one of those films that seems entirely effortless. The actors deliver their lines flawlessly and the script itself lends cinematic history with more memorable lines than any other film. When someone says “here’s lookin’ at you, kid” you know that Humphrey Bogart said it in Casablanca. To see Casablanca is always a treat, but to see it on the big screen was absolutely amazing.

The plot of Casablanca centers around Rick (Bogart) who owns an aptly named club, Rick’s Café Américan. Casablanca is a sort of refuge city since it is still controlled by France, not Germany, with many people leaving to the US from there. Soon Rick comes face to face with an ex-lover, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), and her fugitive husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). As Rick and Ilsa reconnect over their lost love, tensions rise around Laszlo between a French and Nazi officer (Claude Rains and Conrad Veidt, respectively).

As for the restoration, also available on Blu-Ray, it is remarkably well done. For the 70th anniversary of the film, the picture is crisp and the sound is clear. To see this, we actually skipped out on one of the films from Ebertfest, but it was well worth it. I was concerned that Casablanca would not have held up as well as I remembered, but my fears were assuaged within minutes. While very specific to a period in time, Casablanca is timeless.

There is not much I can say about Casablanca that hasn’t been said 1000 times over in the past 70 years. It’s a film that rewards multiple viewings but never gets tiresome.

I give it 5 “As Time Goes By“s out of 5.

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