Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
Director: Michael Curtiz
Summary: An American saloon owner in Morocco is drawn into World War II when his lost love turns up
Other Nominations: Director*, Actor (Bogart), Supporting Actor (Rains), Adapted Screenplay*, Dramatic Score, B&W Cinematography, Film Editing
This is another movie where pretty much everything works, and the worst thing you can say about any one aspect of it is that it’s not memorable vs. not being good. It’s really something special when you combine an outstanding cast of characters with an amazing cast, and that’s what we have here. Bogart’s performance holds up the entire movie, as he displays a lot of range without being all that expressive, which is a great feat-he can be brooding, stoic, romantic, witty and pretty much everything in between. This movie also really does have something to appeal to everyone: it has a timeless romance plot, it has some humor (mainly from Rains’ character), it has patriotic themes that don’t go so far as to be cloying, and has a lot of fun supporting characters. The score is perfect in expressing the mood of each scene, and has one of the best uses of a national anthem in a movie ever. This is a movie that lives up to its reputation.
The only character that feels like a weak link is Victor Lazlo (played by Paul Henreid), who has a great and noble cause he is fighting for, but is otherwise not a very distinctive or interesting character. Considering his importance to the story, this is a problem, but one that can be overlooked due to the strength of everything else.
-George Raft kind of made Humphrey Bogart’s career: he was an actor who turned down the lead roles in High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon that would later go to Bogart and made him a star. There are also conflicting reports that say he also turned down the lead in Casablanca as well which, if true, would make for a fantastic alternate universe where Raft became one of the most beloved actors of all time; either that, or an alternative universe where nobody’s ever heard of Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon.
It’s Casablanca: if you haven’t seen it for some reason, then you probably haven’t seen many movies, or you haven’t seen many classic movies at least. All-time classic.