Casablanca (PG) - 1942 - Runtime: 102 minutes
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
Director: Michael Curtiz
Apparently, Roger Ebert hasn't heard of a negative review of this film. Well, let me be the first then!
Okay, just joking. This was a good film and it's deserving of all the accolades and love it has been given over the years. As much as the movie is for its time, it is also a timeless movie (huh? Did I just blow your mind?). Obviously there are some elements to this movie that haven't aged well (besides "As Time Goes By" the music was fairly borrrr-ing and some of the special effects were extremely unrealistic compared to today's standard - I need some blood in this movie, please!). But these are nit picky issues as they mainly deal with when the movie was made, rather than the movie itself.
So, for the uninitiated, Casablanca is set during World War II and Rick (Bogart), oozing a mysterious allure and confidence like no other, runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco. Casablanca is a place where lots of refugees from the war end up and just hope they can make it to America someday. Things get hairy for Rick when he's entrusted with some letters of transit by a shady character (wonderfully played by Peter Lorre). These letters make it possible for anyone to travel throughout Europe without question and leave for America. And then walks in an old flame and love of Rick's: Ilsa (Bergman) who's trying to safely get to America with her fugitive husband. Cue "As Time Goes By."
The movie has a lot going for it: a love story, suspense and a healthy dose of comedy. Obviously the trademark of this movie is all the wonderful lines and witty dialogue between the characters. I don't think we'll ever see a movie again where six lines will fall in AFI's top 100 movie quotes of all time. A lot of credit is due to the writers but also the actors who delivered them. The movie has a good message and it's (surprisingly) dense when it comes to issues. Does Rick save the girl for himself or let her go? At the end of the movie, every character has to sacrifice something (especially the German commander, ouch!- good death scene, BTW Conrad Veidt).
This is a classic film that has really stood the test of time. I don't think I loved the movie like some do, but I really enjoyed it and I loved the dialogue - those quotes always put a smile on my face. Even the lesser known ones, like "When it comes to women, you're a true democrat." It's a classic that should be a staple in any movie lover's collection.
Rating: Buy It!