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Title: Casablanca
Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Written by: Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Casey Robinson, Howard Koch
Year: 1942

Trying to browse through IMDB’s top 100 movies of all time (an item on my 101-in-1001 list), many of them have a peculiar status even before I begin watching them, because they are so famous that I have heard much about them, but without actually seeing them. Casablanca is a prime example of this. I had heard much about the film, both good and bad, but the fact that it is ranked ninth on IMDB’s list shows that those liking it is in an overwhelming majority. Before I briefly summarise the film itself, let me say that I agree with them.

Casablanca takes the viewer, not surprisingly, to the city of Casablanca in Morocco, controlled by the French government in Vichy. The time is that of the Second World War and Germany is a rising power in Europe, but has not got full control yet. Two Germans are killed and Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) gets hold of their documents granting free leave from Casablanca, something that everybody wants, but hardly anyone can get. Then the rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) arrives, together with Rick’s old love from Paris, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), and is in dire need to leave for America before the Gestapo can find a reason to arrest him.

The story that follows is a complex one, covering the major emotional states of a human being, all adeptly made accessible to the viewer by the actors. The setting itself is also very interesting, along with the plot revolving around the documents granting free leave out of the city. Casablanca contains several moments which will probably stick for a long time (my favourite being when, in Blaine’s nightclub, Laszlo inspires the brass band to play La Marseillaise to counter the Germans, currently singing the patriotic song Die Wacht am Rhein).

I shall not extend this review to eternity, but I would like to say again that this film is exceptionally good. The story is almost perfect, and its execution is not far from that same level. It is a story about love, friendship, loyalty, the fight for freedom, set in a wartime theatre, something that has been done many times before and since, but never this good. The only reason not to give it five out of five is that perhaps the theme itself, although always relevant, does not add anything new. However, perfecting a theme like this still merits four and a half snails out of five.

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  1. Martin’s avatar

    Jag håller med även denna gång. Sen är det förstås lustigt att du säger att den inte bidrar med något nytt, trots att den kom 1942. Jag antar att du menar utifrån vad du redan sätt när du säger så.


  2. Olle Linge’s avatar

    Nej, jag tror det gjorts ganska mycket på temat känslomässiga relationer i krig innan 1942 också.

    Ja, jag recenserar ju alltid efter vad jag själv tycker när jag ser filmer.


  3. thark’s avatar

    För att jämföra med mina åsikter kring Citizen Kane och bekräfta att jag inte bara är neofil så gillar jag Casablanca väldigt, väldigt mycket. Bra skit. :-)