Play It Again, Sam

Some movies are just too good to watch only once. Some lines are so pivotal that they are not only quoted over and over, but even the misquotes become cliché.

Last week we watched Casablanca for about the eleven-hundredth time. We could nearly say all the lines with the actors.  From the last line of the opening narration, “…and wait, and wait, and wait,” to the last line of the whole film, “this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” we did our best vocal styling with the film. 

We notice something new just about every time we watch. The first victim of the local pick-pocket wears a zebra-striped neck-tie. The table lamps and wall sconces cast amazing shadows on the textured walls of Rick’s Café Americain. Little things like that make every viewing more interesting.

Though the film is in black and white, I spend more than a few seconds trying to imagine the color of the clothes and fabrics throughout the movie. After all, Moroccan architecture and textiles are usually splashed with rich jewel-toned colors.

Besides the subtle details of the background of the picture, the actors in the story are the gold standard in the industry. Humphrey Bogart swings between a tough, cold-hearted saloon owner, to a man so desperate in love that he’s willing to sell out a hero to the enemy. Ingrid Bergman’s face reflects emotion like a mirror. You can see the very second when she falls in love all over with her husband. And the line that Claude Rains delivers as he’s shutting down Rick’s still gets us all laughing out loud. “I’m shocked!”

Maybe the most poignant scene in the film is when a very young Joy Page, playing a refugee, asks Rick if it was all right for a girl to do a very bad thing if it would mean that her husband would be happy. Bogey’s verbal response is harsh, but his actions show his true character, setting the stage for film’s climax.

If you haven’t seen Casablanca, WATCH IT NOW. This film is a required course in life.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.

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