I take this movie out once every two years and wonder if I my taste has moved on to more fantastic sites. To my delight this movie gets richer as the years go on. Thinking of wartime then and now, thinking of the personal struggle men have with sensitivity and toughness, the great songs, the friendship of Sam and Rick as equals, the lighthearted comedy in the midst of escaping the Nazis and lastly the beautiful compositions of the black and wide screenplays. The only regret is I want it in letterbox format. Love this movie!
Casablanca was not filmed in widescreen. Until 1953's The Robe, although widescreen processes existed, it was very rarely used. But all video and DVD releases feature Casablanca in its intended theatrical aspect ratio.
I emphatically agree. The last time I saw it, I was struck by how operatic it was. The scenes in the cafe are short, punchy little vignettes, the dance band plays, and there is a little interlude until the next scene. And the dance band arrangements are terrific! I always wondered if they were Max Steiner's work.
Yes it is operatic but I don't know that opera informs its technique. Citizen Kane, which was released only two years earlier, was constructed, in Pauline Kael's phrase, in a series of "blackout" sketches strung together into a story, with similar lighting and "noir" touches. But there is so much to see in a Casablanca; it creates a world which we can endlessly revisit and reconstruct.
One thing confusing about movies of the 1940s. Some won Oscars, not for the year they were released but for the next year. (And I'm not talking about the fact that the Oscars are always presented the following year.) Casablanca was one of them. It was released in 1942. Yet it won the Best Picture Oscar for 1943 (presented in 1944).
The acting is super but the actors had good material to work with. By some strange chance Casablanca turned out beautifully structured and excellently characterized. Maybe some guardian angel took a hand! But 70 years later many Americans still care about where the characters "came from"--from Carl the headwaiter through Victor the moral center of the plot--and what will happen to them "after" the movie ends. It gets better each time I see it.
My favorite line is the one said by Captain Renaul. When Rick says, "And remember, this gun is pointing straight at your heart," the Captain replies, "That is my least vulnerable spot." I never tire of watching this fim. I must have seen it close to fifty times for many reasons. But it wasn't after watching it, perhaps for the thirtieth time, that I noticed that Ilsa calls Sam "boy," which reminds one of Sam's true position in this film albeit that wasn't a major theme here. Yes, we see new things each time.