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Casablanca (1942)

Director:
Michael Curtiz

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Drama/Romance

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Casablanca

RUNNING TIME
102 minutes

Producer:
Hal B. Wallis

Screenwriter:
Julius J. Epstein
Philip G. Epstein
Howard Koch


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Rick Blaine Humphrey Bogart
Ilsa Lund Ingrid Bergman
Victor Laszlo Paul Henreid ˝
Captain Louis Renault Claude Rains
Major Heinrich Strasser Conrad Veidt
Signor Ferrari Sydney Greenstreet -
Signor Ugarte Peter Lorre
Sascha Leonid Kinskey -
Yvonne Madeleine Lebeau -
Annina Brandel Joy Page -
Berger John Qualen -
Sam Dooley Wilson -

 

Review

With Casablanca, dubbed "the best bad film of all time" by my late Lillehammer College film professor Sřren Birkvad, the Hollywood studio system came into full fruition with its propensity to sniff out societal trends and weave smooth melodrama around them. This is a rather character-heavy and talkative chamber piece set mostly in "Rick's Café" in Casablanca, Morocco over a few days and nights in December 1941. The city and said café are portrayed as a safe haven for various Europeans and Americans trying to escape the advancing Nazi forces, and when the German Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt) arrives, the setting turns into a miniature peace conference with most major players represented. The nuanced political aspects of the picture are impressive, especially in light of the year of production. We even get to hear both German and French language. And although the film is far from polemical or hard-hitting, at least it makes an effort to remove patriotism and propaganda from the equation, an approach Hollywood would abandon for the next few decades after the war.

Still, like most studio era Hollywood films, Casablanca is at heart all about romance. As Ingrid Bergman drowns in Humphrey Bogart's disillusioned eyes, surrounded by a menagerie of one-dimensional but utterly enjoyable supporting characters, the film ticks all Hollywood boxes and achieves perfection in superficial melodrama. The slick production values and effective but underwhelming set decorations help solidify the impression. All is fair in love and war – even a film as brazen as Casablanca.

Copyright © 28.08.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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