January 27th, 2011: Casablanca (1942)

Cast and Crew: Michael Curtiz (Director); Max Steiner (Original Music); Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, S. Z. Sakall, Dooley Wilson

What It’s About: Everyone from Nazi officers to the members of the international resistance to criminals comes to Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart).  When criminal Ugarte (Peter Lorre) leaves letters of transit in Rick’s hand just before he is killed by the police, Rick becomes mixed up with resistance leader Victor Laslo (Paul Hendrid), who needs the letters to escape Casablanca.  Unfortunately for Laslo, he just happens to be accompanied by Rick’s old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman).

Why Watch it Today?: Although Casablanca was success in its initial run during World War Two, it took on new life in the 1950s, first as a cult film, and eventually as a perennial occupant of best film lists, as well as being the inspiration for countless references, rip-offs and homages, from Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam to gags in The Simpsons and Red Dwarf.  Where did this journey to cult favorite begin?  Cambridge Massachusetts’ Brattle Theater, which turns 111 years old today.  Celebrate by watching this classic, Oscar-winning film-and perhaps drinking a couple of champagne cocktails, just like Rick and Ilsa.

Where to Get It: iTunes, Netflix (Rental only), Public libraries or Amazon

The Trailer:

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4 comments on “January 27th, 2011: Casablanca (1942)

  1. shmoo says:

    Wow, I had no idea. Go Brattle!

    • professormortis says:

      Yep. They did a week of Bogart film’s in the 50s and it became a tradition, as was showing Casablanca on Valentine’s Day. They actually were pretty important in the history of several films. I love the Brattle, wish I could go there more often.

  2. eddoctorwho says:

    The “Marseillaise” scene is probably my favorite scene in motion picture history.

    • professormortis says:

      It will not surprise you that my favorite scene was when Rick wait’s up for Ilsa getting bombed. The Marseillaise scene does give me chills every time. As I’ve recently watched some not-that-great propaganda from the war, it really drives home how good this is at propaganda.

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