Bar open: 1PM
Trailers & shorts: 4:40PM
Main feature: 5PM
1942 / 102 min / PG
Director: Michael Curtiz
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
Rick Blaine is an American who runs a bar in the titular Moroccan city and makes it a practice never to get involved with anyone. When an ex-flame walks in, his life is turned upside down.
Seventy seven years on, this great romantic noir is still grippingly powerful, Casablanca accomplishes that which only a truly great film can: enveloping the viewer in the story, forging an unbreakable link with the characters, and only letting go with the end credits.
Love, honour, thrills, wisecracks and a hit tune are among the attractions, which also include a perfect supporting cast of villains, sneaks, thieves, refugees and bar staff. But it's Bogart and Bergman's show, entering immortality as screen lovers reunited only to part. The irrefutable proof that great movies are accidents.
Much more fun than its stuffy "Greatest Film Ever Made" tag suggests, with a literate script, stylish direction, a great song and cinema's most romantic couple in Bogie and Bergman.
By the time we arrive at Rick’s saloon, a certain atmosphere of paranoia, exoticism, and vivacity has been set—and then comes romance, in the form of piano player Sam (Dooley Wilson) and his charming rendition of “It Had to Be You” as the camera makes a slow dolly toward him through the bustling crowd and wafts of cigarette smoke.
It’s easy to fall into the rhythms of Casablanca, long before the appearance of the star-crossed lovers and their damaged idealism, or most of the great character actors who populate the world of Michael Curtiz’s film make their presence felt - such as Sydney Greenstreet’s bemusedly sinister Signor Ferrari and Peter Lorre’s nervously sweaty Ugarte.
The film has a peculiar magic to it, and because of its pace the richness of its sense of detail often goes unnoticed. Audiences make generalisations about Casablanca because of how all those little particulars add up.
Film lovers discuss it with a starry look in their eyes, as if they were describing their first kiss or a lost love, because something in the film touches them, perhaps its theme of dignity and decency, of rediscovered idealism. Males are instinctively drawn to Humphrey Bogart’s Rick because he’s a man of integrity, while females dig him because he’s a man of mystery.