(Check out the list so far)
The Movie: Casablanca (1942)
One Sentence Plot Summary: This is one of the greatest films of all time, and the actual plot doesn’t matter at all.
Why It’s on the List: I watched this movie off the recommendation of a more modern review just after the two-disc DVD set came out.After watching this phenomenal piece of filmmaking, I watched about 20 Humphrey Bogart movies over the course of a few weeks, including the film I wrote about yesterday, The Maltese Falcon. What makes this so special is just how cool Bogie is. It’s not that he’s the greatest looking guy in the world and doesn’t come close to the acting chops of modern performers, but it’s the fact that he comes off believable in almost any role: henchman, lead heavy, military man, romantic. He also quite the collection of one-liners, too. Similar to Nick Charles, he has the functioning alcoholic angle down.
And a collection of character actors! Claude Rains (possibly the most memorable moment of the film…something about gambling). Conrad Veidt, a deliciously evil performance as the one true baddie?. Peter Lorre who doesn’t last long, but his brand of sleaze always leaves a mark. Sydney Greenstreet plays a borderline corrupt businessman, something he did quite a bit throughout.
I mentioned the plot not mattering earlier. Alfred Hitchcock is the one who coined the term MacGuffin, and even though this came years before, the letters of transit that are at the center of everything aren’t that important. You’re here for the banter, the romance, and Nazi killing. Anyone who isn’t favor of these three things (especially the last one) is no friend of mine. One of the best scenes is Rick reflecting on his time with Ilsa and then drunkenly complaining about her coming into his gin joint.
What cannot be denied is the chemistry between Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Regardless of what one thinks of the acting style of the time, you can’t watch this movie and not want these two crazy kids together, especially anytime “As Time Goes By” plays. That song is the icing on this delicious cake.
One of my favorite aspects of the movie is Rick is clearly not American and mentions being unable to going go back. I feel like it would be over-explained to death in 2020. There are times when black and white movies from this time period are seen as unapproachable. At 1 hour, 42 minutes, there’s no fat to be found. I wouldn’t take out a single moment, and this is as close to a perfect movie as you’ll ever find in film history.
*Rick doesn’t treat women all that great, especially Sasha (the one he talks to toward the beginning of the film).
*Nazis still exist
MVP and Best Performance: Like it isn’t Humphrey Bogart? How he didn’t win the Academy Award boggles the mind. Claude Reins does give a top shelf supporting performance.
Best Quote: “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” -Rick*
*I could have very easily just copied and pasted the entire damn screenplay into this section.
Is there a sequel? There was a television show and Looney Tunes cartoon, but if they ever make a sequel or reboot, I’ll organize a boycott
Follow Jerome on Twitter, and check out Reel Bad, The Superhero Pantheon and his new podcast Pantheon Plus.