Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid – Casablanca Movie Review

Casablanca. There’s so much to say and yet it will never be enough. Never did we think we’d have the opportunity to see such an iconic film on the big screen. But last night, we did just that.

Cineplex theatres has brought back its cinematic classics series to their screens, starting with Casablanca (1943). Despite knowing the story, cast and ending, we were excited to kick back in a theatre setting and take in the legendary film widely considered one of the greatest films of all time.

The romantic drama tells the story of cynical American Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) as he goes through the motions in Casablanca during World War II. With a questionable past and friends in the right places, Rick keeps most people at arm’s length and stays quietly in the shadows of his upscale nightclub and gambling den, Rick’s Café Américain. That is, until his ex-lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) walks into his bar one night.

Ilsa and her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), an infamous resistance leader, are in need of official letters to leave for America to continue his work, an act that many are willing to risk their lives to prevent. Upon learning that Rick is in possession of the letters, both Ilsa and Victor put their fate in his hands, begging for his help to escape to America.

Rick’s jolted bitterness about the demise of their previous love affair prevents him from surrendering the letters, leading Ilsa to threaten him at gunpoint. But she can’t bring herself to shoot him and instead, confesses that she still loves him. This forces them both to fondly remember the brief time they spent in Paris together and the truth about their heartbreaking end surfaces, leaving Rick torn between love and virtue.

Rick Blaine was Humphrey Bogart’s first romantic role after being typecast as a gangster. He did an outstanding job, drawing from his gangster roots to depict that swoon worthy bad boy with a good heart that we all hate to love – not to mention, there’s just something undeniably sexy about a man in a trench coat and fedora. It’s unfortunate that actors of his caliber no longer exist; movies of this caliber are no longer being made. Hollywood is now more obsessed with youth and uninspired, unoriginal remakes.

There was no one better to fill the shoes of Ilsa Lund than Ingrid Berman. She was a luminous beauty; every emotion was shown through her eyes. But most notably was the simple fact that Ms. Bergman did not need to resort to disrobing or other such behaviour to make it evident that she was a much sought after, beautiful woman, as most modern films tend to resort to. The chemistry between Bogart and Bergman will forever be remembered.

It wasn’t until last night that we realized how the film is peppered with edgy references and wit that is rather unexpected for a movie made in the early 40’s. It was emotional, funny and full of memorable quotes that have been referenced time and time again by many tv shows and movies:

Here’s Lookin’ at you, kid (Rick to Ilsa)

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine. (Rick to Sam, about the return of Ilsa to his life)

Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time. (Ilsa to Rick)

We’ll always have Paris. (Rick to Ilsa)

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Rick to Captain Renault)

Of course, memorable quotes from other movies can also be tied back to the classic… such as the scene where Ilsa is explaining to Rick her reasons for leaving him in Paris, where Rick turns to her and says “And then?”. It was only natural to follow that line by turning to each other, giggling and blurting out “No ‘And then’!” (10 points to anyone that gets that reference).

All in all, Casablanca is one of those timeless movies that will continue to have audiences falling in love with it for years to come.

And as for the Cineplex Classic Film Series, well, we do believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
image source: google images