Monday, May 01, 2006


"Casablanca" was playing on Turner Classics tonight and I paused. That's about it. The first time I saw the movie, I was in college. My roommate Ellen & I had gone to the student center one Friday night to see it. It was ok. We both walked out of it confused, not sure what the hype was about.

In the meantime, I watch people cry, quote, misquote and praise this movie ad nauseam, and I've been declaring it was overrated.

A few years ago, it was on TV and my husband told me I had to watch this from the beginning. Fair enough. Let's do it. I pretty much forced myself to watch it after a certain point. I don't really like Bogart, but I told myself, "Just finish it." I was so into it that I got up to do the dishes at one point.

Then, came the final scene:
Ilsa: You're saying this only to make me go.
: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. Now, now... Here's looking at you kid.

All of a sudden, I got it! Tears started flowing. I've heard this speech over and over, and I finally understood the context and what it meant for Rick to say that to her. She felt caught between the past and the present, and he was letting her go. Now I get that "here's looking at you kid."

They say a classic is something that endures time by remaining fresh and real. Something that always lets you see something you missed before.
So, this is what a classic is? This is how a story, script and actors blend together to create timeless event.

With that said, I've seen it once and had an emotional rapturous experience. However, I don't think I can sit through the whole movie again though. Sorry Rick & Ilsa.

By the way, I love old Hollywood. When I was young, I used to get library books about child actors, Hollywood of the 30-50's. I used to borrow the same books over and over. I loved looking at my father's Life magazine collection of 50 years of Hollywood. I feel intimate with many of the actors and stars, though I may not have seen their movies. I think I'll have to do separate blogs for some of my favorite stars like Katherine, Cary and Audrey.


Anonymous said...

cute picture :-)

you look very different from my mental image of you.

Anonymous said...

I saw Casablanca a few years ago. I only cried because the film was so long. I should have seen an action film instead of a love story.Some classics are really good. I just couldn't enjoy this one.