Would you like an invitation to our beta?
It is early December 1941. American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the proprietor of an upscale nightclub and gambling den in Casablanca. "Rick's Café Américain" attracts a varied clientele: Vichy French, Italian, and German officials; refugees desperate to reach the still neutral Un...
I sit here now, upon my throne of thousands of DVD cases and their discarded cellophane wrappers, to proclaim to the masses that 1942's “Casablanca” is the greatest movie in cinematic history.
Now, some of you may be screaming “Nay! No black and white film could hold a candle to MY favorite film!” But you must remember: black and white films came FIRST.
“Casablanca” is so great because of the simple fact that it was a black and white movie. Movies from the forties, fifties and the early sixties were predominantly filmed in B&W, since techniques for coloring motion pictures didn't reach prevalence until the late sixties. I have been drawn to films from the monochrome eras my entire life. I fell in love with how well filmmakers of yesteryear were able to capture so much in a movie in spite of the absence of color, something we would normally take for granted (most of us see in color, after all).
Secondly, the cast was, at the time, the most stellar cast ever crammed into one motion picture, especially the lead roles: Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund and Paul Henreid as Victor Lazlo. The cast has been noted and praised for its internationalism, as only three of the credited cast members were born in the US, Bogart being one of them.
Their performances were all critically acclaimed by the New York Times and the trade paper Variety at the time of the film's release, especially Bogart's. Variety said "Bogart, as might be expected, is more at ease as the bitter and cynical operator of a joint than as a lover, but handles both assignments with superb finesse."
Another reason the movie is so fantastic is its superb and almost flawless combination of several genres of movies. When I first watched it, I noted the romantic and historical aspects of it, but every time I watched it thereafter, I began to notice more and more. At this point, I can see not only the romance and the history, but the drama, action, comedy, intrigue and the deep sense of the film as several smaller films condensed into one grandiose masterpiece.
In conclusion, “Casablanca” is not just the source of movie quotes still used today, or another old movie you dismiss as “too old”. “Casablanca” has left a legacy that no other film, not even “Citizen Kane”, can hope to match. So, if you and I can agree that this movie is the greatest movie of all time, then I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Just don't mention Paris. It's bad for business.