D.J. Haza presents the next entry in his series of films to watch before you die…
Directed by Michael Curtiz.
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson.
Casablanca wasn’t expected to be anything and was rushed into release in order to take advantage of the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942. This was also Humphrey Bogart’s first attempt at a romantic lead and considered just another movie rolling off the Hollywood production line. Three Oscars, several million dollars and 70 years later it is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
The film follows the story of Rick (Bogart), an American expatriate living in the Moroccan town of Casablanca and running his own up-market nightclub. The club attracts a mix of Vichy French, Italian and Nazi officials as well as refugees seeking to travel to America. Despite the eclectic mix of political views that his clientele have the somewhat cynical Rick professes to be neutral in any matter or discussion that arises and he lets the politics pass him by.
However, everything changes when he is entrusted with travel papers for two people to move freely around Nazi-occupied Europe and neutral Portugal and the person entrusting them to him dies in Police custody. At around the same time Rick’s ex-lover Ilsa (Bergman) walks into his club, and his life, with her partner Victor Laszlo (Henreid), the Czech Resistance leader who has recently escaped a Nazi concentration camp. With everyone looking for Laszlo, he and Ilsa need to escape to America.
Rick becomes torn between his love for Ilsa and helping her escape Casablanca. Despite his bitterness over their separation, he still misses her and she brings back so many memories. Rick also rediscovers his fighting spirit and it becomes clear he has been a resistance fighter himself in his time. Conflicted between doing what he feels is right and trying to win back his love, Rick finds his world suddenly coming alive again.
Casablanca is a classic story of love, conflict and morality. The film has given so many memorable quotes to film history and had lasting effects on countless films, filmmakers and popular culture since the 1940s. Casablanca is a film you must see before you die as apparently it inspired Hugh Hefner to create the Playboy Club!