Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 5 - Casablanca

I have never watched Casablanca.  All my life I've known it to be classified as one of the greatest films ever made, but I never took the time to track down a copy of the movie and watch it.  Even today it was not my intent to use Casablanca as my daily "I have never..." event, but rainy weather threw a wrench in my original plans.  The heavy rain and cool temperatures that greeted me this morning frustrated me a bit at first; however, a long day of work and an overcast evening proved perfect for a relaxing night with a cinematic masterpiece.

"Here's lookin' at you, kid."
For some background, I plan to watch one classic movie I have never seen each month throughout the year as a part of my "I have never..." project.  That said, I did not aim to begin watching these films this early in the 365 days, but I'm glad I started with Casablanca.  Although the first 30 minutes of the film had me worried the plot would be slow and uneventful, I became hooked as the story progressed, the characters' lives began to intertwine, and the gravity of their situation set in.  Humphrey Bogart made Rick's subtle transition from heartbroken to human seem real, and Ingrid Bergman made it easy to empathize with Ilsa as a woman torn by purpose, war, and love.  Midway through the film I was captured by their situation and by Rick's ambivalence as he struggled to find himself in the midst of such uncertainty.

I stayed glued to the screen as the film moved toward a climax, and then came the conclusion...  Stated simply, I don't think I have ever seen so much drama and heard so many timeless phrases packed into such a narrow span of time.  What can someone say about Rick's last words to Ilsa as she comes to terms with his sacrifice? ...Or of the tidbit of foresight Rick offers Captain Louis as they fade into the fog on the airplane tarmac?  As I watched and listened to these portions of the film, it became apparent why Casablanca consistently rates as one of the best films in history.  I can think of only a handful of films that come close to the caliber of acting and writing in this movie, and even those films struggle to leave an impact as sudden and resonant as the one felt at the end of Casablanca.  Although I must admit the ease with which Rick and Captain Louis walk away at the end of the film was a little unbelievable, I almost failed to recognize this one area of weakness in the film as I tried to absorb the weight of Rick's words in the closing scene of Casablanca.

After watching Casablanca I realized I've likely missed out on quite a few amazing films over the past 30 years.  If all of the movies I watch in the coming year are as good as Casablanca, I'm in for an amazing experience.  With the comparably rated Citizen Kane on the docket in June, I feel like I have a lot to look forward to the next time a classic movie works its way into my "I have never..." schedule.


  1. Caleb.... HOW HAD YOU NEVER SEEN THIS BEFORE!!!! I only state it like that because I owned the movie while we were roommates and its awesome! :)


    1. You should see my list, Andrea. There are quite a few movies on there that would likely evoke the same response from you... It's actually a little embarrassing to recognize how many classic films I have never watched in my first 30 years...