This year marks the 70th anniversary of one of Hollywood's golden classics, Casablanca. For 70 years this film has been watched, quoted and adored. Of course, Casablanca has also been emulated by so many other romantic/suspenseful/dramas over the past seven decades, yet it's argued that few have ever come close to matching this film's je ne sais quoi.
To mark its anniversary, NCM Fathom, Turner Classic Movies, and Warner Bros are coming together to present Turner Classic Movies Presents Casablanca 70th Anniversary Event in select movie theaters nationwide, and in Houston, on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. In addition to seeing the film on the big screen, TCM host Robert Osborne will be introducing the film (not live) and giving behind-the-scenes tidbits and stories from members of the production.
For the handful of people who have not seen the film, it stars the powerhouse duo of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as torn lovers living in the turbulence of the Moroccan city of Casablanca during WWII. The film is littered with apprehension and fear that would be natural at the time, but at its heart is a love story and a disappointing yet honorable sacrifice.
And that sacrifice may just be the reason this movie is so revered. Hollywood has set up its own romantic archetypes and there are few that end up so utterly disappointing. (SPOILER) Why doesn't Bergman stay with Bogart in the end? Why would she stay with her husband Lazlo, when she obviously still has the hots for her old flame? She can barely keep her hands off the guy, yet she stays true to the man she married and jet planes out of Bogart's arms. Sad.
The film's heart-breaking conclusion is just one of the many reasons why it is still one of the greatest movies of all time.
She is gorgeous, sexy and foreign. She speaks with her eyes and her eyes are perpetually welled-up with tears. She looks like she could lose it at any moment, yet, for the most part; she is cool as a cucumber. And whatever 1940s light filter they had on Bergman, gives her this oddly dewy aura, which only adds to her mystique.
This was one of the first films in which Bogart played a romantic lead and he had no problem taking the reins. He acts like he doesn't give a hoot, but deep down he is crying inside. And he will still beat the crap out of someone if he has to. That's exactly the guy all women are looking for!
The Memorable Lines
There are so many perfect one-liners in this movie that they have become a part of this country's lexicon. "Here's looking at you, kid," "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine," "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," and of course "We'll always have Paris."
Peter Lorre as Signor Ugarte
Although he isn't in the movie for very long, Lorre is the catalyst that sets the plot point revolving around the infamous "letters of transit" that eventually get Bergman and her hubby out of Dodge. He steals every scene he is in. He is a walking contradiction, boastful yet needy, sniveling and proud, and he's got those crazy big eyes!
The Paris Scene
Bogart and Bergman just look so damn happy in the Paris flashback scene, dancing, drinking Champagne and driving along the worst green-screened countryside backdrop you have ever seen. What could have ever gone so wrong? Oh right, she was still legally married. Who cares though, it's Paris!
As Time Goes By
Greatest song ever.
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As many times as I have seen this film, I still cross my fingers that it will end differently, but it never does. You understand why she goes, but it doesn't make her leaving any less dramatic. But of course we all know had she stayed, she'd regret it, not today or tomorrow but soon and for the rest of her life.
Casablanca is playing on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Houston Marq*E Stadium 22, 7620 Katy Freeway among various other locations. Visit fathomevents.com