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Casablanca

Essay by review  •  November 16, 2010  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,070 Words (5 Pages)  •  745 Views

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The film Casablanca was released in 1942 in the setting of Casablanca, Morocco. Initially, I expected this film to be a typical romantic wartime drama involving a man and a woman torn apart by differing political views. I also expected a very simple love story involving one dimensional characters and somewhat superficial dialog. Lastly, like many of the older romantic films, I expected a happy ending with the two main characters living happily ever after. I can safely say that this was no typical love story, and that none of my initial expectations were correct.

Describing Casablanca as a romantic love story falls short of explaining what the film is truly about. I found Casablanca to be a very political, and most importantly, patriotic film. Patriotism was important at this particular point in history, as World War II was taking place and Germany was attempting to dominate the world by declaring war on multiple countries. 1942 was also the first year Germany began to exterminate Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp. The film makes numerous references to concentration camps. It must have taken a great deal of vision and courage to make this film at the same time that all of these tragic events were taking place.

Many of the main characters in the film have deep political and patriotic convictions, and were willing to fight for the cause of freedom. Victor Laszio, played by Paul Henreid, is by far the most patriotic of all the characters in the film. Laszio is portrayed as a political hero who despises the Nazis, and is committed to do all he can to stop them. One scene in particular truly showed Laszio's patriotism. After listening to a group of German soldiers singing their national anthem in Rick's Cafй Americain, he led the people in the bar to overwhelm the German soldiers by singing the French national anthem as loud as they possibly could.

Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, portrays a cynical bar owner who, at one point in the film states "I never stick my neck out for nobody." While Rick acts as if he had no heart at all, you quickly understand that he is simply brokenhearted after being abandoned in Paris years earlier by Iisa. As the film progresses, you slowly see Rick's tough exterior soften. In one scene, he helps a young couple get a large amount of money needed to pay their way to America. In the final scene of the movie Rick helps Iisa, and her husband Victor, board a plane to escape the persecution of the German army. In the end, Rick finds a way to overcome his cynicism and apathy by sacrificing himself to help the allies during World War II.

Iisa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, was one of the most complicated, mysterious, and misunderstood characters in the film. I never fully understood her motivations as she maintained a detached and distant relationship with all of the other characters. I was left with the feeling that I never got to know who Iisa truly was at the end of the movie as she flew off to America with Victor. What I did learn is that Iisa was very much a patriot. While Iisa is romantically torn between her husband Victor and Rick, she is incredibly loyal to Victor and the political cause he represents. Incredibly, Iisa is somehow able to prioritize her political convictions over her romantic feelings throughout the film. The strength of Iisa's political convictions can not be overstated. Casablanca was filmed during a confusing and chaotic point in history. While England, France, Italy, United States and others were at war with Germany, Morocco was also

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