Review of Casablanca

Casablanca (1942)
10/10
HOW TO WATCH THIS MOVIE
23 August 2003
There are literally hundreds of comments about this movie on IMDB. Many of them exhort its greatness. I don't disagree with them.

But I'd like to add a suggestion to those of you out there who haven't seen this film. I'd like to tell you HOW to watch it.

The people who made this movie didn't think they were producing a masterpiece. Bergman left the shoot disgusted. The screenwriters were on salary for Warners, writing half a dozen movies a year, and this was just one more. Bogie was punching the clock in the middle of a workhorse career.

So as an audience member, you can't sit down expecting gilded greatness.

Don't have a Casablaca party. Don't watch it on your first date, hoping it will lend that "Romantic Touch." Don't watch it as part of your "I need to watch the Best 10 movies of all time" Film School project.

Buy this movie on DVD. Have it at the ready. And then, one Friday night, when your plans fall through and you find it's 10:30pm and there's nothing on TV that's any good, open a six pack of beer, or pour yourself some wine, and watch this movie in a darkened room.

The characters in Casablanca are absolutely devoid of sentimentalism. Every one of them sees the world without a hint of rose color in their lenses. As Rick says, "Three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this big old world." If you're in a mood where you understand what he's saying, watch this movie and it will transport you.

There is no single movie that deserves to be called the best movie of all time. Because movies, when all is said and done, don't amount to a hill of beans. They are meant to entertain us, not for us to worship THEM.

But no movie has ever known this fact like Casablanca.

If you watch Casablance this way, with no expectations, with no "hype," you might catch 10 percent of its greatness on one viewing. And that will be enough to start you on your way.

Happy viewing, kid.
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