Friday, February 17, 2017

Movie Review: "Casablanca" (1942)

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Year Nominated: 1943
Director: Michael Curtiz
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Did It Win?: Yes.

The owner of a bar in Casablanca gets caught in the middle of a political battle between his ex-lover, her revolutionary husband, and the Third Reich.

"Casablanca" is directed by Michael Curtiz and is based on the then-not-yet-produced play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. It stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, a man who owns a bar in Casablanca, Morocco. It is a bar frequented by many different types of people, ranging from rebels, to Casablanca police, to occupying Nazi soldiers. Rick has always been a guy who doesn't stick his neck out for anybody and greases the right wheels to stay in business. All that changes when his former lover Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, shows up with her revolutionary husband Victor Laszlo, played by Paul Henreid. Also in the cast are Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.

"Casablanca" is the definition of the word 'classic' in the world of cinema. Whenever you read lists of the greatest films of all time, "Casablanca" is almost surely to be on it. Watching it now in 2017, it isn't hard to see why. Many classic films don't always hold up over time and/or feel overly long and poorly paced, much to our disappointment. "Casablanca," however, holds up amazingly well, even after watching it dozens of times over the years. It has a great pace and keeps you completely engaged with the characters and their struggles as they navigate this dramatic romance in a war-torn setting. Humphrey Bogart offers a brilliant performance as Rick Blaine, who is part dashing, part seedy, part debonair. Bogart has always had this cool confidence about him and he manages to be a character you can root for despite often coming off as primarily self-serving. It's mainly because underneath his rough, jaded facade, there is a good heart willing to do the right thing when absolutely necessary. Bogart earned a best actor nomination for his performance, one of eight nominations for the film as a whole. Another recipient of a nomination was Claude Rains for his portrayal of corrupt Casablanca police Captain Louis Renault. Renault is another character with a dubious moral code who has a bit of honor somewhere deep down inside him. Though neither of them took home an Oscar, the film managed to win three awards, including best picture, best director, and best screenplay. "Casablanca" is definitely deserving of these honors and more, as well as its place on the "best films ever made" list(s). We always remain completely captivated by the movie's biting suspense, its engaging romance, its beautiful visuals, and its well constructed narrative. This is a must see film for fans of cinema.

My Rating: 10/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
Last Oscar season, we were watching: "Broadcast News"

Two Oscar seasons ago, we were watching: "Fatal Attraction"

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