While certainly no fan of old movies for the sake of old movies -- and a complete dunce in the pink category of Trivial Pursuit -- I noticed that Casablanca is not going away. Just like Sergeant Pepper has been outdone at its own game countless times yet still tops many an greatest album chart, Casablanca is still number one, just beating that young upstart Orson Welles and his biopic.
For example, just the other day, a propos of nothing, CNN published this feature. Maybe the news media is, again, preparing us for sacrifice ahead.
I figured 66 years isn't too late to see the dang thing and maybe review it. Plus meddlers occasionally get to these old movies and modify them. So an occasional new review might serve an important purpose.
I could only name one of the famous lines from Casablanca -- the one that is actually never said ("play it again, Sam"). Now I can do four or five. I'm going to avoid "Here's looking at you, kid" -- boy how I am going to avoid that one -- but there are couple good ones, and some obscure lines that might come in handy for me, like "Get away from me, you crazy Russian".
The interesting thing is that Casablanca's main theme does in fact tie indirectly into my own family issues. My wife works for an Estonian voluntary defence organization. She's a civilian, but we've often discussed how, if push came to shove, I might potentially take Morgan to the States while she stays behind.
Neither I nor my wife is into sentimental romance -- the province of the young and foolish. So Bogart is a perfect leading man. He phones it in like a champ, of course, relying on not much more than his own hardboiled persona. The rear projection flashback scenes of gay Paris with Bogart evoking carefree youth with a green-gilled smile in the foreground are mercifully brief, for us as well as Humphrey.
Casablanca will never be remade (not until WWIII and then under a different city's name) because of its sacred status but if it were, the big difference, I reflected, is Sam -- Sam would definitely have a role in the airport climax. Strasser would not be shot; Westerns-style, in the briefest of duels, but would manage to get away and try to stop the plane. Laszlo and Ilse move at such a stately pace toward the aircraft that they beg for one last obstacle.