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 Post subject: Casablanca
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:40 am 
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You must remember this…

Seeing as we touched on Casablanca in the battle scenes discussion, I thought it might have it’s own thread. It’s doubly appropriate as the film might soon become topical again in light of this ;).

For those who live under a rock, this 1942 film is one of the most popular, and arguably the most popular, movie ever made. While it usually edged out of #1 spot in critics’ list by Citizen Kane, it is better loved, more iconic, and appears in top-rated film lists more consistently. Many people, including myself, consider it the greatest-ever film, and I find it, to this day, almost flawless in conception and execution.

There’s plenty of things to praise about the film, but I’ll pick up on one. When I first watched Casablanca, I was impressed by the quality of the acting of the supporting cast, most of whom were playing refugees. On the same note, the cast didn’t know how the film would end until they got to the final scenes – their anxiety and confusion is entirely real. It’s cheating, perhaps, but the final effect is quite remarkable.

Play it, Sam.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:45 pm 
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:shock: Don't. Let. Madonna. Near. That. Film.

Casablanca is a magnificent film in so many ways. The acting. The script, so full of memorable lines and interesting twists. The classic themes of love lost, love found, hope and sacrifice.

But what always hits me in the gut is the sheer visual beauty. I could easily watch it over and over with no sound at all. How could the market seem so colorful in black and white? How can Ilse be so luminous? How can Rick radiate such pain?

It's a feast I never tire of consuming.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:51 pm 
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It's the film equivalent, for me, of reading Pride and Prejudice. Almost all the way through I'm just sighing "Perfect. Perfect." Wampus put it so well I won't try to echo her.

It's also a genuinely adult romantic dilemma, with a genuinely adult resolution.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:43 am 
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As say Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza (they don't distinguish themselves in their wonderful book Four Star Movies), "Casablanca is that rare movie miracle, a film with not one inconsequential frame, not one insignificant line of dialogue."



Several amusing irrelevancies:


The director, Michael Curtiz, also directed King Creole, with Elvis Presley. He also directed the wonderful Yankee Doodle Dandy, with Jimmy Cagney. Curtiz was a heavily accented Hungarian.

Dooley Wilson couldn't play the piano. He was a drummer.

The abominable Max Steiner produced the score. Like all his work, it pummels us. He didn't want to use "As Time Goes By," which had been around for 20 years. He wanted to write a song of his own.

This movie shouldn't work . . . but it does.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 9:12 am 
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We retire the numbers of superlative sports figures. Don't you wish we could retire certain movies so that remakes could never be done?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:31 pm 
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This one would be my number one candidate for that, Jn.

bt, I agree about the score, which is very much of its time; that and the strange-looking woman who plays the guitar and sings in a wobbly soprano. It all still works, though.

Some of the more subtle lines have pervaded society as thoroughly as the famous ones. If someone is described as "shocked, shocked to discover" a scandalous fact, we know they are not shocked at all.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:02 am 
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Slithers in. Whispers: Hated it. Still do. Always will.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:14 am 
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not something I would recommend
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Ooh! I watched this 2 weekends ago for the first time! I've had bad luck with "classic"movies (hated Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, It's a Wonderful Life to name some) so I was stunned by how obviously GREAT it was. For once, I feel the accolades are totally deserved. :)

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Last edited by yovargas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:55 am 
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I have not seen Casablanca but I did not like It's a Wonderful Life either. I feel better that I am not the only one.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:03 am 
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Try Casablanca, Wilma. It's completely different from It's a Wonderful Life, which I love but which is undeniably slow in parts and sentimental. Casablanca is not sentimental. It's cynical—to a point.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 6:44 am 
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yovargas wrote:
Ooh! I watched this 2 weekends ago for the first time! I've had bad luck with "classic"movies (hated Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, It's a Wonderful Life to name huge surprise I was stunned by how obviously GREAT it was. For once, I feel the accolades are totally deserved. :)


Anything in particular that really impressed you about it?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:05 pm 
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The dialogue is what really stood out to me. It's so sharp and witty and clever and funny and poignant and honest and just damn plain cool. There's a ton of lines that I recognized as classics ("here's looking at you, kid" ect) but the one's that have become famous seemed arbitrary - every other line was great and quotable and memorable. On top of that, the actors delivering those lines were OMG great. There's a bunch of great actors across the board, even with all the little side characters, but while I think Bogart gets most of the press, for me it was Ingrid Bergman that steals the show. Her performance goes down as one of the all-time best I've ever seen.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:36 pm 
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Bogie was playing himself. Bergman was acting. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:40 pm 
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As solicitr pointed out in another thread, Bogie always played himself. It's just that he was such an appealing and interesting character that it almost always worked.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 8:24 pm 
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I think Treasure of the Sierra Madre required him to move past himself. Fred C. Dobbs started off as Bogie, but became something else--or perhaps something in Bogie he didn't normally show.

OTOH, showing something you don't normally show...is acting. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:23 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
As solicitr pointed out in another thread, Bogie always played himself. It's just that he was such an appealing and interesting character that it almost always worked.


He was, if you liked Bogart. But I never did, and that's where I went wrong, I guess. :(

yovargas, I loathed It's a Wonderful Life more than words can describe, and particularly Jimmy Stewart. Yes, yes, I know. :( It makes me a bad person. :(

I also couldn't stand Citizen Kane. I don't get it. I just don't. I mean, I know what it's ABOUT, but I don't get why critics rave about it. I don't know many regular people who like it. :scratch:

But I loved Wayne's World, and Quest for Fire. :D Great movies. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Citizen Kane is an icy cold film, and everyone in it is either weak or despicable or both. As a film it's undeniably amazing, but on a personal-liking level, I'm with you, vison: bleh.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:59 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
As solicitr pointed out in another thread, Bogie always played himself. It's just that he was such an appealing and interesting character that it almost always worked.


I've heard this before, but I'm not sure I get it. At the very least, Bogart couldn't be both Rick Blaine from Casablanca and Charlie Allnut from The African Queen.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:08 pm 
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Charlie Allnut was about as far away from Bogie as he ever got. Bogie without the cool surface.

Casablanca is my favorite Bogart performance because his coolness cracks more than a bit.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:22 pm 
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So Bogie was Captain Queeg !
I knew it all along ! :P

I do agree on the whole though. Some actors like Bogie and Jack Nicholson are Bogie and Jack Nicholson playing whatever parts, wheras Johnny Depp was Captain Jack Sparrow and Dustin Hoffman was Rainmain.

Some actors become the characters while others play characters.

I like Casablanca and Citizen Kane. I like It's A Wonderful Life. I like Mr Deeds Goes To Washington. However I don't and can't constantly watch them. There are certain movies I can watch repeatedly, but others I can only view now and then.
Movies I have seen a billion and one times and can watch a billion and one more would be like;
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Joe vs the Volcano
The Godfather
The Wizard of Oz
Apocalypse Now
Pulp Fiction
The Sandlot
Caddyshack
The Holy Grail
Shawshank Redemption
etc.

Movies I like bit can't watch more than once or twice;
Philadelphia
Road to Perdition
(anything depressing or artsy)

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