Casablanca (PG)

9 Stars

It’s up for debate whether or not this film holds up.

If forced to pick a side, I say it does.

The reason I can’t commit to a hard and fast argument is because I’ve seen the film twice. Once in high school, six years ago.

The second occasion is yesterday night at the Music Box Theater in Chicago. The print is being screened as a promotion for the upcoming Turner Classic Movie Festival.

And the crowd is so eager to laugh at every minor joke, they completely overcompensate and ruin much of the movie.

The uproarious laughter is loud enough it stifles half the dialogue, and serves as a constant reminder we’re in a theater. There are some who will give pre-emptive laughs, chuckling during the buildup and destroying any comedic timing.

I sure hope the devil reserves a special place in Hell for these people. But I guess I should talk about the movie at some point or another.

Casablanca is very good, especially considering it’s release in 1943.

It is the epitome of a ‘classic movie.’ Yes, yes?

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Claude Rains as Capt. Louis Renault steal the show in this film. It’s a lot funnier than you might think.

There are lovable and despicable characters (which is always helpful) and dare I say it, some heartwarming moments.

In black and white! Can you believe it – kids in my Proverbial Audience?

(I’m prolific in the single-digit demographic.)

It’s a film about cynicism and impression, and can be surprisingly upbeat. The narrative is truly exceptional, and the ending is more than satisfactory.

This might be the most misquoted piece in history. Nobody ever says, “Play it again, Sam.”

I have no idea why that and, “Badges? Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges,” from Blazing Saddles are so commonly misquoted. It’s a rather strange phenomenon.

For some odd reason I thought Victor Laszlo was an antagonist, but I sure was wrong on that one. The role’s played by Paul Henreid, and he’s rather excellent as well. Peter Lorre, too, as Ugarte, is pretty great.

The hardest scene to swallow is his attempt to escape the police. The chase is a little silly.

What is it about Humphrey Bogart? Soon as I hear that brusque tone, I think, “Gee I like this fella.”

Maybe it’s him smoking that cigarette in the white jacket, or his ever-sustained calm.

He’s a great protagonist. And the movie’s a lot of fun.

I think you’ll like Casablanca.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

Thoughts, perchance?

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