Michael Curtiz • USA 1942 • 1h42m • Digital • U
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet.
The world’s favourite Hollywood love story is all the more romantic because it doesn’t exalt romantic love above all.
Bogey is at his best as Rick, an American opportunist in 1940 French Morocco with a gruffly cynical exterior that belies his wary idealism and wounded heart. Ingrid Bergman is luminous as Ilsa, who arrives in Casablanca with resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), but clearly has a history with Rick. Cynicism and self-interest contend with idealism and self-sacrifice as Rick and Ilsa’s past weighs against the world’s future.
Made under a studio system that cranked out a film a week, this just happened to be one film in which everything came together with magical rightness – the wittily cynical dialogue, spare, effective storytelling, a vivid sense of time and place, sharply drawn characters, a first-rate cast, great cinematography and score, and classic wartime melodrama that hasn’t lost a thing as time goes by.