23 January 2023   4 comments

My wife, Priscilla, told me about a National Public Radio broadcast on the movie, Casablanca. She knows that that movie is my all-time favorite. The broadcast provided an insight into the movie about which I was unaware: that some of the most memorable characters in the film were themselves refugees from Nazi Europe.

“But Casablanca is more than just a love story. It is a film about, and stocked with, the waves of refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe during wartime. And many of the actors playing those roles were, in fact, refugees.

“‘When people speak here, the accents are real,’ says Leslie Epstein, the son and nephew of screenwriters Philip and Julius Epstein‘That gives it a kind of authenticity. In a sense, they’re playing themselves.'”

Virtually every scene in the movie is brilliant, and my heart aches when the camera focuses on Ingrid Bergman’s face as Sam begins to play “As Time Goes By”–for almost a full minute Bergman’s face says everything one needs to know about her and Rick (Humphrey Bogart) without needing to utter a single word.

And there are few scenes in cinematic history that convey the power of nationalism than the singing contest between the Germans and the French.

But the final scene always make me choke up. I understand that there were discussions about how to end the movie right up until the end of filming, with some arguing that Rick and Ilsa should stay together (something which would have never worked in the social climate of the mid-1940s). To my mind, the conclusion is perfect.

Posted January 23, 2023 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

4 responses to “23 January 2023

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  1. I will watch Casablanca any/every time it is on! You are spot-on about the ending (even though every time I watch it, I hope Rick & Ilsa will go off in the night together).


  2. I saw Casablanca the first time when I was a Hampshire student at Amherst College where you paid a dollar and got a Tootsie Roll as change. I went with a friend who had seen it many times before. When we sat down she pulled out a box of Kleenex. When I looked at her puzzled she said, “Unless you’re made out of stone, you’re going to need this. I’ve seen this a dozen times and I’m still going to need it.”


  3. I can relate to this post. A brilliant movie.


  4. I suspect that we all feel the same way, but are relieved when Rick decides to stay and fight. Every good conclusion makes one wonder “what if?”


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