Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

best picture – Casablanca (1943)

Starring Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman

Rating 8/10

King of the one liners, ruler over all 40’s films, heir of the war genre, this is Casablanca.

It all begins in the city itself. World War II has stuffed refugees into the heart of Casablanca. They have only one way out and that is to Lisbon, the gateway to the new world (America). Bogart stars as Rick Blaine, owner of Rick’s Cafe Americain, the hottest joint in town. Here you can gamble, drink, sing and meet-a-tha-ladies til the curfew kicks in. It is here that Rick encounters lost love, Ilsa, who is married to the hero of the Czech underground. There are the usual flashbacks to happier times and then to war torn times, jealous looks, yearning glances and Rick and Ilsa’s song, As Time Goes By. Yes, you know the one.

Then the action heats up with German soldiers, twists, hypocritical officials and Rick himself; the dark horse. In the end there’s fog, there’s gunfire, there’s death and freedom. And the final quote that everybody knows, ” Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, END. This is the kind of film you may not bother to see because it’s already so familiar. There are so many famous quotes: “Here’s looking at you kid”; “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”; “We’ll always have Paris”. It seems that good old Rick always gets the best quotes. I wonder if that was in Humphrey’s contract?

Another star of this king of classics, is the music and the beloved Sam. He is an ultra-talented African American man with a voice like Satchmo and the personality to match. The music is used to progress the story and reflect the action. And it’s fun!

This is a simple film. There are few sets as the story mainly revolves around Rick’s. That could make for quite a static film but the tension of the war and the love triangle adds spice and life to this otherwise tedious tale. It is deeply romantic, although I found Rick hard to like. Firstly because it’s Humphrey Bogart and compared to today’s ‘hunks’, Bogey was a little old and looked more like a bobblehead doll than a leading man. He rarely smiles and when he did, it made me cringe. Hmmmm. Secondly, Rick is selfish and unemotional. Some may find this attractive but not me. Ilsa, go with Victor for crying out loud.

You cannot dislike this film. Its influence has infiltrated our culture with the characters, music, dialogue and style (Loved the hats!). If you have been naughty and haven’t seen Casablanca, give yourself a firm talking to and a slap on the wrist, get down to your local video shop and CHECK IT OUT you uncultured swine!

Casablanca Trivia –

  • Budget – a measly $964,000, which blew out to $1,039,000
  • Paul Henreid who played Ilsa’s husband, Victor, did not like Bogart or Bergman, calling H.B talentless and his co-star a “Prima Donna”.
  • Dooley Wilson (Sam) could not play the piano.
  • Real European refugees were used as extras which added some real emotion to the film. In duelling anthems scene, many of the extras were crying as it was so raw for them.
  • The premier of the film was planned to co-incide with the invasion of North Africa! Go the propaganda machine.

Well, oscar buffs, as this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship, join me next time as we look at the 1944 winner, Going My Way starring the delightful Bing Crosby.

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