All you have to do is look around our office to know that we love movies. Mounted posters, full-size costume displays, prop replicas…
And we all have pretty varied tastes. But for me personally, there are few better movies than Casablanca. It’s number two in my all-time top three favorites, and for a 72 year old film it stands up incredibly well. The acting is a little stiff (that was the melodramatic style of the day), but the story just sings. It has an outstanding screenplay (Academy Award-winning, you know*), the progression of the plot keeps you exactly where the director wants you, and the character interaction is pitch perfect.
You fall in love with all the right characters at all the right times. The stakes are high but everyone always knows exactly what to say. Take this classic exchange:
* Crackling dialogue
* Heart breaking loss
* World War II in the background
* everyone drinks cocktails and looks sharp in a dinner jacket.
If you haven’t seen this film, do yourself a favor and carve out 102 minutes of your life for it. Yes, it’s a classic and yes, it’s important to the history and culture of cinema, but it’s not like Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane is an important film and was almost immeasurably influential to the development of the modern cinema, but it’s a bit of a chore to watch.
Casablanca, however, is imminently watchable. The pace is tight, the conflicts resonate emotionally, and the final series of plot/character pay-offs are extremely satisfying. But don’t just take my word for it, come see it on the big screen with us! Odyssey Creative is once again sponsoring the Garden Theater’s summer movie series, and we’re all headed over there on July 3rd to see this gem of a film where it was meant to be seen – in crisp and glorious black and white, projected at 24 frames per second on a silvery screen in a classic movie house from the 1930’s.
I get wrapped up in good movies, so if you join us – be prepared to see me taking turns laughing, crying, and shaking my head at darn near perfect film.
*Casablanca won the Academy Award in 1944 for “Best Writing, Screenplay”, but in modern terminology it would be considered “Best Adapted Screenplay” because it was based on a never-produced play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s.